International Conflict Resolution for Policymakers Term Paper

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States like Bangladesh, Egypt, and Indonesia have severe challenges due to the risks of flooding, drought, and deforestation. Recently Bangladesh was hit by a powerful Typhoon (same as a hurricane), which caused thousands of deaths and was so severe it was beyond the capability of its weak government to deal with the disaster.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has been working for many years to try and help with a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. The violence between these two states has been going on for many years, and numerous previous attempts to find a lasting peaceful solution have failed. In a document called "A Performance-Based roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," the DOS plan includes three phases. The first is the most crucial and pivotal - an end to the "terror and violence" and an attempt to normalize Palestinian life - in conjunction with building up Palestinian institutions.

This is an example where the tools that policymakers must use are interconnected; the military aspect of government must be kept in check, there has to be economic stability in both nations, and the political systems of each of the two nations must be allowed to function without interference.

And Palestine must, the DOS document continues, issue an "unequivocal statement" that assures Israel's right to exist in peace, and all the security systems in Palestine must be brought under one government head, and Palestine's institutions must be reconfigured in order to offer democratic reform. Israel, for its part, in order for this agreement to become solvent, must ease its restrictions and curfews as to the movement of persons and goods across its border with Palestine. The second phase (Phase II) involves the creation of an "Independent Palestinian state" with sovereignty, a new constitution, an "enhanced international role" when it comes to monitoring the transition into a recognized state, and a possible membership in the United Nations. This assumes that Israel will cooperate along the way and be supportive, since it is Israel's best interest to have a cooperative relationship - rather than a violent, unsettling relationship - with it's nearest neighbor.

Phase III would be the movement into permanent agreements towards peace and cooperation. There would be a Second International Conference in which the "quartet" of interests (the U.S., European Union, United Nations and Russia) would review and endorse the agreement between Israel and Palestine. Important to this agreement would be the acceptance by the Arab states in the region.

Negotiating a peace agreement such as the one the Department of State put forward is very tricky, and extremely difficult, and in fact it has not come to fruition as of yet. When it finally does, whatever model was used will be heralded in scholarly journals as a remarkable set of well-tuned negotiating strategies, combined with key compromises on both sides. In the Negotiation Journal (Kriesberg 2007), Louis Kriesberg writes about the possibility of strategies that lead to the decreasing of "large-scale violence"; currently, the world "seems to be in a state off rising global antagonisms and violence," Kriesberg explains. The United States is knee-deep in this rising global violence, and what the U.S. calls the "global war on terrorism," is being renamed by some as "the Long War."

But as bad as the violence is in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Iraq, and elsewhere, the author explains, there is "systematic evidence in many analyses that large-scale violence actually has decreased since the end of the 1980s." Aside from the deadly terrorist attacks that received a great deal of publicity, justifiably so, the incidence of armed conflicts has decreased, Kriesberg writes, because in many instances they have been prevented.

For example, when the Czech and Slovak republics separated, and when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gained their independence from the Soviet Union, bloodshed was averted in many of those cases, and "settlements" were "negotiated." Why does the author assert that bloody wars have been averted? He offers a recent development "that was generally conducive to peace" - the end of the Cold War. Many conflicts can be attributed to the Cold War, including wars in Central America, Africa, and elsewhere, he writes. Contrary to some views that the end of the Cold War brought more challenges to the policymakers in terms of finding peace, Kriesberg insists that the end of the Cold War brought more authority to international organizations like the UN, and the organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe; and that resulted in more power to conflict resolution strategies.

Another view of Cold War dynamics is expressed in the textbook, Chapter 8, "Post War Reconstruction," as the author (p. 186) states that "outright victories became rare" during the Cold War and "most conflicts did not end in agreed settlements." However, after the Cold War, the authors explain, the same tools of political, economic and military means do not apply to post-conflict resolutions in the same sense and form as they did previously. For example, on page 188, the authors state "...the ending of the Cold War drew a line under what had been an almost automatic backing of rival sides and regimes by the superpowers"; i.e., the U.S. would back one side and Russia the other. But post-Cold War, whereas the United Nations had typically / previously been encouraged by superpower leadership to step in alone, more often the case is one where "multilateral coalitions" supported by "regional alliances or organizations" and international money-lending institutions (IMF for example), along with G8 and relief-related organizations, share in the post-conflict resolution and settlement dynamics.

The authors point to situations in which post-war reconstruction processes can be made easier (and are easier): if the former colonial power broker gives in to independence; if there is full international recognition of the previously democratically elected government. In Bosnia and Cambodia, there were "imposed" settlements that required ongoing intervention ("external coercion") to keep them from falling apart. However, in conflicts that took place in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mozambique the external support for peace brokering was there but no "external coercion" according to the authors on page 191. "The parties were the main driving force in reaching a settlement" rather than superpowers coming in to push their agendas.

And so, the answer to number 2 is that in cases pointed out by the textbook, the tools of post-conflict peace making have been less challenging than during the Cold War. That said, it is also true that no one particular operating model fits the needs of post-conflict nations in terms of getting a settlement together and building a peace. The authors quote from the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel about the UN's role (2004 report) in future peace-making efforts. A "Peacebuilding Commission" should be set up, the UN writes, that will work closely with regional organizations, financial institutions, and along with the heads "20 largest economies" should be recruited to help with the "coherent management of international monetary, financial, trade and development policy" (p. 192-193).

Works Cited

Textbook Chapter 8 "Post-War Reconstruction."

Dixon, Robyn. (2007, Dec. 15). Zimbabwe may shatter, but Mugabe holds firm. The Los

Angeles Times, p. a-1 - a-5.

Foreign Policy. (2007). Failed States Index 2007. The Fund for Peace and Carnegie

Endowment for International Peace. 54-62.

Hamre, John J.; & Sullivan, Gordon R. (2002). Toward Postconflict Reconstruction. The Washington Quarterly, 25(4), 85-96.

Kriesberg, Louis. (2007). Long Peace or…

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