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IWP 625
Four credits

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. These factors include history and the relationship between peace and social/economic stability 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. Understanding our own cultural values and a proper appreciation of these multiple factors will help place contemporary world conflicts into a larger context.  A clear vision and national resolve improve the chances for successful conflict resolution.

Exploring dimensions of the war/peace dichotomy helps define the complex 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 originating in culture and religion, new weapons systems based on new dual-use technologies, and the re-emergence of China as a dominant world power.

The course will begin by exploring concepts of peacemaking as a measure to prevent war, with a special focus on our uniquely American tradition.  We will then concentrate on whether twentieth century peacekeeping reliant on a globalist world order is valid to contain, restrain, and dampen conflict once hostilities are in motion.  Peacemakers can be diplomats, politicians, and advocacy groups.  However, peacekeepers are often soldiers, civil servants, and NGOs 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.  We will place a special focus on the “Belt and Road Initiative” as an expansion of China’s global power projection.

At the end of the course, our final papers will recommend whether current forms of peacekeeping are relevant. We will seek a full spectrum to build a successful concept or examine whether it needs to be replaced by newer and better methods of conflict resolution and deterrence.

Course Video


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