The purpose of this course is to help students develop a deeper appreciation of the underlying conditions that provoke conflict and, conversely, a multi-sectoral or full spectrum strategy that may produce lasting peace, justice, and political order. This course introduces the larger dimensions surrounding the issues of classic and twenty-first century peace, war, and conflict resolution such as the transcendent and practical natures of lasting peace, the relationship between peace and a just moral order, and the diverse approaches to conflict resolution undertaken throughout history. The students should come to understand that peace, war, and conflict have roots and causations which transcend generations, personalities, or societies, and that a proper appreciation of these multiple factors will help place contemporary world conflicts into a larger context and thereby improve the chances for successful conflict resolution.
This course will examine the double dimensions of the war/peace dichotomy which has helped define the anarchistic nature of world politics since the end of the Cold War. This means that the older categories and strategies – deterrence, containment, rollback, ideology, counterforce etc. – have essentially been replaced in the new anarchy by new instruments.
The course, thus, will begin by exploring concepts of peacemaking as a measure to prevent war. But will then concentrate on whether twentieth century peacekeeping as a concept to contain, restrain, and dampen conflict once hostilities remain valid. Peacemakers can be diplomats, politicians and advocacy groups. However, peacekeepers are often soldiers, civil servants and NGO’s whose “field” work is normally on the ground (as opposed to diplomatic tables and government offices). The course will develop a series of case studies of peacekeeping within recent or ongoing conflicts.
At the end of the course, our final papers will recommend whether peacekeeping is a relevant and successful concept or whether it needs to be replaced by newer and better methods conflict resolution and deterrence.