Is War the Only Solution For Peace?
“I know not with what weapons the World War III will be fought but the World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones” – Albert Einstein.
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Wars are fought
y a country or a group of countries to establish power over opposing country by using armed forces with the objective of ending a conflict. War could be civil or revolutionary. Several wars have occurred between countries in the past either to establish monopoly or to make a change, whatever be the reason, war’s always destructive. With industrialization and advanced technology wars have become even more adverse.
Violence is raging in the Middle East, Europe and Russia are poised on the edge of war over Ukraine, the United States is once more engaged in military action in Iraq, and as NATO pulls out, Afghanistan is vulnerable. The risks of a third world war are enormous. If we add in all the means and methods of warfare – conventional, nuclear, cyber, drones, and so on – we have the military potential to destroy ourselves entirely.
There is a lot of evidence
to support the view that in a chaotic and violence rid world, war is the essential building blocks for peace and stability. Ancient thinkers from China and Greece to Rome, regarded military might as essential for the maintenance of international order. “In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace”, said the Chinese General Sun Tzu while Aristotle noted that “We make war that we may live in peace.” From the recent times US President Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase, “speak softly, but carry a big stick.” On the other hand, we have powerful stalwarts of peace– Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi propounded the superiority of non-violent resistance using the concepts of Ahimsa and Satyagraha. Martin Luther King Jr. successfully led non-violent resistance to racial segregation.
There has been long tension
between those who regard war as inevitable and in certain circumstances necessary, righteous and preferable to an “unjust peace” and those who regard war as always, an evil that can and should be eradicated. Further these thoughts stem from a tension between those who regard humankind as “fallen” and ever ready to succumb to the temptations of power, greed, fear, and racism compared to those who look forward to the greater self of human nature and human institutions.
With the World Wars
behind a large portion of the population do not have an inkling about the real horrors of war. What we have are memories recounted or documented by a small percentage of population that lived,to tell the shocking stories of World Wars. In the current time it is mostly felt that peace is being preserved by preparing for war. This fact is blunt, unflinching, cold and harsh. The two greatest powers in the present world are America and Russia.
They have a wide range of high-tech armaments ready to unleash war at any moment. Both the countries do not see eye-to-eye and have been working to expand their respective economic and political influence across the globe. Since the two are aware of the deadly stockpiles of weapons and ammunition of the other, they have not been attacking one another. Because they understand that the other can match the onslaught. Contradictory to the notion of maintaining peace by peace, it is the war or the preparedness for war that is maintaining the peace in the present world. And it appears as the only viable option for now.
War might help to attain peace
but that peace comes at a price of loss of lives and property. World War I and II have already caused huge irrecoverable damage. War is not the only way to bring peace. There are many alternative ways such as negotiating to terms which are reasonable for both countries and hence resolving the problem. We might be divided by religion, gender, colour, and the boundaries between our countries but we all belong to the same human race. There will be differences for sure arising out of varied reasons which should be sorted out in a peaceful manner.
Take a look at our World Wars,
they have proved that wars cause suffering and in fact, the only reason that World War I ended was that most of the countries involved were exhausted and fed up and begged their leaders for ceasefire. War would be endless if it was not for humanity’s own limits. After World War II, the United Nations was established. It emerged from the strong and growing need by nations across the globe for peace. The UN works to prevent conflict, helping conflicted nations make peace and creating conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. In the 21st century where nuclear weapons, bio weapons and other deadly inventions exists, a war would lead to total annihilation of the country and possibly of the world too.
There is no clear end to war
once you are in a war mentality. War heroes on one side are war criminals on the other. War doesn’t serve the shared goal of a larger population – to achieve a prosperous, healthy, happy, sustainable planet.
Let us look at some replacements to the mentality of war.
- De-escalate the concept of enemy. An enemy can be presented in progressive order, as an adversary, competitor, partner, teacher and finally your equal.
- Treat the other side with respect.
- Accept and recognize that there is the perception of injustice on both sides.
- Be prepared to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness here means letting go of the desire for retribution and revenge. This is an act of true courage. Even if you believe that the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness, you deserve peace.
- Refrain from aggression. It will be taken as bullying and arouses renewed resentment.
- Extend to understand the other side’s values, both personal and cultural. The fog of war descends when two adversaries know nothing about one another. The result is a war based on projections and prejudices. The goal to extend out should be mutual acceptance. At the deepest level we all want the same things.
- Refrain from ideological rhetoric over politics and religion.
- Recognize that there is fear on both sides.
- Do not insist on being right and proving the other side wrong. When you give up the need to be right it allows to focus on what you actually want.
- Use emotional intelligence – understanding the other side’s feelings, giving them value, and making them equal to your feelings.
The above ideas work in any negotiations, whether between nations or in a family.When we lack these ideas, we cannot turn them into coping mechanisms. War is the worst coping mechanisms, yet in many cases conflict is the first response we make when we feel resistance, obstacles and push-backs. Mind has a primitive, underdeveloped or under-evolved aspect. War is the outcome of that primitive part of the mind. Unless this part is transcended, war and conflict will continue in society.
Seeking the right way to outgrow this aspect of the mind and implementing it is the suitable and healthy way to approach the issue of war and violence. In 1963 John F Kennedy expounded his vision of genuine peace, not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. “World peace like community peace, does not require only that each man loves his neighbour, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever….so let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable.”
“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final world” – Martin Luther King Jr,