Saturday, July 31, 2010

Peace through War is not Peace....There Must be Another Way

This week in the Huffington Post was a great piece by Andrew Bacevich entitled The End of (Military) History? The United States, Israel, and the Failure of the Western Way of War. The heart of this article demonstrates that the military industrial complex is failing and the way warfare has been conducted in the West, by winning through sheer force of numbers, is no longer a guaranteed success. For me however, the heart of this article demonstrates that public diplomacy again, should be the "weapon" of choice. 

There is one quote that stood out to me in this piece. In discussing the aftermath of WWII, Bacevich noted that only two liberal democracies continued to build their military forces instead of downgrade them (as in Europe), the United States and Israel. 
            "By the 1950s, both countries subscribed to this common conviction: national security (and, arguably, 
            national survival) demanded unambiguous military superiority.  In the lexicon of American and Israeli
            politics, “peace” was a codeword....So even as they professed their devotion to peace, civilian and
            military elites in the United States and Israel prepared obsessively for war.  They saw no contradiction
            between rhetoric and reality."

This contradiction has finally come into view, whether peripheral or direct line-of-sight, of the global public. For the U.S., the two wars we are stuck in now and for Israel, the constant contradiction between peace and security plays out in the news media every day. Bacevich puts it smartly, "they saw no contradiction between rhetoric and reality". What is even more apparent, is that they do not see that war does not create peace, bombs do not create stability and security will never come from isolation and building walls so high no one can see over them. Peace will come through the pursuit of developing ties with your "enemies". Peace will come through relationships and building trust and understanding. Peace will come economic development, empowerment, listening and public diplomacy.

To continue with Bacevich's Israel example (and because I cannot help myself), peace for Israelis and Palestinians will only come for recognizing the mutuality and interconnectedness of both peoples struggles and situations. Both are right and wrong, both have had too much bloodshed and tears and on a microscopic level, Palestinians and Israelis are more genetically similar to each other than both  populations would like to admit. Recognize the sameness and capitalize on it, develop relationships and ties, create through those ties new relationships. Stability and security will only be afforded to Israelis when Israelis can afford the same to Palestinians. It is going to take years, if not decades, for that trust to take hold, but it has to start small and has to start somewhere because clearly this notion of "peace through war" is clearly failing. The global public sees through the rhetoric and will not stand for it much longer and that is dangerous for Israel's security as well.

Bacevich's article just highlights to the public diplomacy junkie that we are on the right path, that nations big and small, enemies and friends can learn to conduct international relations better through the use of public diplomacy.

A song from the 2009 Eurovision Contest says it best, There Must Be Another Way...

No comments:

Post a Comment