How Old ideas Stand in the Way of Modern Peacemaking
In his book Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts (Prometheus Books) Douglas E. Noll, professional mediator, international and domestic peace consultant, and author offers case studies to illustrate what he refers to as the weaknesses of crucial negotiation. Noll asserts that modern politicians and diplomats lack the skill required for effective peacemaking and negotiation. Noll writes, “In many cases, they are using old ideas and antiquated assumptions in their effort to solve 21st century problems.”
Noll’s rich frame of reference related to philosophy, international relations, and world history adds to the narrative’s compelling nature and keeps the reader engaged.
One of the areas Noll points out inherent in international relations theory which also may contribute to blocking peacemaking, is the idea that the opposing side tends towards being contentious, and therefore can only be suppressed via threats. Noll suggests, “Diplomatic negotiation is often conducted through the threat of economic sanctions and the exercise of military power.”
Noll also says what he terms “the narrow assumptions of diplomacy” fail to capitalize on the human tendency towards cooperation and altruism, and hence conflict resolution and problem solving is often overlooked.
The book works and is informative in the sense that Noll develops his arguments about the“old diplomacy” approach in light of the modern world by providing an overview of well-documented international conflicts.
For more information, visit:www.elusivepeace.com
Tags: Douglas E. Noll , International Relations , Book Review , Noll
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