conflict management

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This podcast reflects on the different uses of the word crusade, and how we can reduce violence communication between cultures over time. Please click here to listen, and please offer your comments Language and violence reduction-1

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Professor Roger Fisher, the most pre-eminent pioneer of mediation and negotiation, died this week at the age of 90, and here is a good obituary.

I especially like these excerpts:

Over his career, Professor Fisher eagerly brought his optimistic can-do brand of problem solving to a broad array of conflicts across the globe, from the hostage crisis in Iran to the civil war in El Salvador. His emphasis was always on addressing the mutual interests of the disputing parties instead of what separated them. As he would tell his students, “Peace is not a piece of paper, but a way of dealing with conflict when it arises.” It did not matter to Professor Fisher whether the warring parties reached out to him or not; he would assume they needed his help. “Most of the time he was not invited. He would invite himself,” Elliott Fisher said. “Our sense growing

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Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas – The Washington Post.

The reports demonstrating Bain and Romney’s deep involvement in aiding the steady demise of American jobs for poor people by shipping them overseas and making enormous profits is a tale in American conflict generation. A society first and foremost must be a based on a social contract between in its richest and poorest citizens that they will all do their share for the increased prosperity and welfare of the society. This creates social harmony, this unifies and it is the basis of the peaceful vision of capitalism that Adam Smith had which required a moral sense, intuitions of empathy and compassion that accompanied the profit motive.

But this is nowhere to be found in the Wall Street of today which has no comprehension of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Bain and Romney symbolize this world …

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NO WAY OUT:

ANCIENT WISDOM ON PUTTING BAD GUYS

UP AGAINST A WALL

Men in Middle Eastern palaces making decisions about their lives, their families, their fortunes, their necks. I think a lot these days about such men because history and the fate of millions of people often comes down to what is going on inside their heads. They are certainly not unique to the Middle East. Think Robespierre, Mussolini, Marcos, Milosevic, think Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Noriega, Fujimori. The list is endless, the impact of their choices monumental.

There is an ancient law in the Jewish Torah that forbids combatants from surrounding an enemy on all four sides, requiring instead that there is always an escape route. In the Middle Ages Maimonides, one of the greatest legal decision makers in Jewish history, concluded that this prohibition applies even to a mortal enemy in a defensive war. This sounds bizarre …

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The recent news of a rogue group of American military personnel murdering Afghans for sport is a sign of America’s war fatigue. The more the war drags on without attainable goals the worse the “quality control” of American troops. American troops are exhausted and over-stretched, and we must ask, what is there to be done?

The clear answer is deep engagement with the people of Afghanistan, engagement that wins the war through winning the people from the insurgents, and even winning over many of the insurgents. Here is how:

Vastly Expand CERP Funds

CERP stands for Commanders’ Emergency Response Program. These funds are being used by forward thinking commanders to reconstruct mosques and other basic construction needs. General Petreaus should significantly increase the quantity of these funds and the flexibility of their usage, particularly supporting commanders and chaplains in particular regions that have engaged the community, tribal and religious leaders …

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This is a wonderful article, very important timing. Ria is absolutely right on, except I suspect strongly that Petreaus is much more of an ally than she thinks. But there are other problems with the American military and political system that are preventing the rational approach that she is recommending. The ideology of killing, hard conquest, is in the way, and it still afflicts enough people at various levels of authority that moving quickly now is hard. But that is where progressives need to step up and lobby hard, with money, to do the right thing.

A role for the US in Afghan national reconciliation? by Shukria Dellawar – Common Ground News Service.


A role for the US in Afghan national reconciliation?
by Shukria Dellawar

05 August 2010

Washington, DC – In June, at the latest loya jirga (a grand assembly comprised of tribal leaders) meeting in Kabul, 1,600

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Why the US Needs Global Citizens

by mgopin on September 3, 2010 · 4 comments

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By Cheryl Duckworth

Perhaps one of the barriers to global citizenship education has been a fear that one must necessarily choose between two identities—being either a citizen of one’ s country or a citizen of the world.  In light of the increasingly nationalist and xenophobic dynamic observable in many countries over the past decade, challenging this false choice is urgent. Peace educators and global citizenship educators must make the argument that one can be both a citizen of one’s country and a citizen of the world.
I would even go further to argue that in today’s increasingly interconnected and increasingly armed world, the U.S. needs global citizens more than ever.  What is a global citizen and why does her country need her?
A global citizen has a secure and multifaceted identity.  What this means is that no one particular aspect of his identity (race, class, religion, gender) dominates the others.  …

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This will be a long, hard fought battle that will leave Muslims quite weary, but it has been engaged before and successfully won. Just ask Catholics a hundred years ago, or Jews two hundred years ago. This will require persistence, coalition building, compromise, honesty, an evolution in communication skills, and patience above all. But I believe that history demonstrates that Americans of common sense generally win in the long run. I believe we are just witnessing the second wave of organized hatred that comes from political opportunists (who often wear religious garb). It will exhaust itself in embarrassment as it reaches absurd limits. Critics of Islam with legitimate gripes, such as Wafa Sultan, will begin to distance themselves from hatreds they did not intend to unleash, as everyone learns, in every generation unfortunately, that nothing good comes of hate, and the mob is not controllable.

While a high-profile battle rages

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You can be horrified by this, you can ask what is happening to this country, and I would agree with you that these folks are frightening. And yet, what use is there in demonizing them? The Tea Party people are classic reactionaries in a world of incredibly rapid change. Cycling is an important element in the revolution going on globally in major cities, and it is a hopeful human adaptation catching on. America is or has become an isolated nation of naysayers who have afforded, out of excess wealth, to be highly independent and particularly maladaptive. They are often dragged along by others. But dragged along they will be. The question is how painless or painful will the transition to new ways of human adaptation. Progressives do no one any good or help anyone adapt by being terrified of reactionaries. In fact, what left and right share in the U.S.

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Armed forces: they have guns and probably aren't going away anytime soon. We need to recognize, and encourage their potential for peace.

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