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Art & Culture, Digital Media & Communications, Economics

What to do with Raw Power – The Basis of Negotiation

The ethical and strategic approach to war has become a topic of much debate amongst political and governing bodies, scholars, and philosophers. I attended a lecture at the World Affairs Council given by Dr. Jovan Babic from Belgrade University in Serbia on Ethics of War and Ethics in War. Dr. Babic stated some comments which most people would agree upon in regards to war such as:

  • War is an undesirable situation (in accordance to the German philosopher, Kant)
  • Self defense presupposes the idea of a threat
  • War is a sign of weakness, lack of strength/peace
  • War is unnecessary and expensive
  • War cannot be morally justified

So we can agree that physical warfare is not beneficial for a society economically, politically, or socially, but what is the alternative plan? Stuart Diamond in Getting More talks about raw power vs. negotiation strategies as an alternative way to solve problems and avoid war. Raw power is a carnal, physically based power that we all possess, usually attributed to male strength. It’s something that is easily at our disposal so in some ways, quite tempting to execute. He speaks of interest-based negotiation which would need a level of rationale from parties involved. As much as humankind likes to admit we’re rational beings, the empirical findings show we are creatures of both emotion and rationale. There is absolutely nothing immoral about possessing both an emotional and rational mindset, but the key is to find balance through what Stuart Diamond calls an inductive process – starting from each situation and then figuring out the exact strategies and tools that are likely to be most effective.

Strategic planning and implementation through the establishment of appropriate policies is the key to resolving a conflict through peaceful means. That may sound like quite a generalized solution to a globally complex, occurring problem such as warfare but it’s a simple concept really. The realization is that we don’t have to resort to physical warfare whether on a micro or macro level. We can resolve the issue/s at hand through negotiation based strategies that political and governmental bodies are already knowledgeable about. The only reason we decide to resort to physical warfare is because it’s easier and perceived as more efficient in ‘getting the job done’ at the time. Resolving issues through peace-based negotiation practices is time-consuming and requires participants to be actively involved through communication processes. It requires one to perceive what the other is feeling and thinking to reach a better agreement, and turn conceptual knowledge into operational knowledge (Stuart Diamond).

If war cannot be morally justified and its operative demands causes human strife through suffering and humiliation, why not work harder in establishing a peace-based negotiation strategy to establish a more humane existence? Communication is the principal guiding force in negotiation-based strategy planning and implementation. It’s the key to avoiding war through carnal forces. I will expand on the communicative strategies and restrictions to negotiation-based policies in relation to avoiding war in my next post. Stay plugged.

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