MBI-MOOS Newsletters

Every one-two weeks (roughly after each "unit"), we will compile posts from the Frontiers Seminar, the Fundamentals Seminar, and the Additional Resources Blog into a Newsletter that will be posted here and sent out by email to subscribers. You can sign up to receive your copy on our Newsletter Sign Up Page .

Newsletters Published to Date:  Newsletter 1 | Newsletter 2


Newsletter #2
April 18, 2017 

The Intractable Conflict Problem

Frontiers and Fundamentals Seminars (Combined): Unit 1

The introductory posts on both the Frontiers and the Fundamental Seminars were "Unit 0," and the first substantive posts went out on social media last week as part of Unit 1.  (Both Units 0 and 1 had been posted on BI for a few weeks now.)  The posts included in Unit 1 are as follows:

  1. Why Can't We Fix Anything Anymore? We can't fix our serious social, economic, political, and environmental problems because our attempts to "fix things" only make the underlying intractable conflict worse! (April 10, 2017)
  2. What Are Intractable Conflicts? Are there such things as intractable conflicts? We say "yes"--but they aren't impossible--just complex, difficult, and in great need of new ideas! (April 11, 2017)
  3. What Makes Conflicts Intractable? Intractable conflicts have many layers. To address them, you need to peel those layers away.(April 12, 2017)
  4. Intractable Conflict: A "Climate Change-Class" Problem A new video explores the parallels between intractable conflicts and climate change--and considers what conflict resolvers can learn from climate activists.(April 13, 2017)
  5. Limits to Growth, Tragedies of the Commons, & the Conflict Problem  Conflict problems associated with wisely and equitably managing the social, political, economic, and environmental "commons" are society's real "Limit to Growth."(April 14, 2017)

Frontiers Seminar: Unit 2

We are now starting Unit 2 on the Frontiers Seminar which focuses on "Business-as-Usual" approaches to conflict and conflict resolution.  The series of 10 posts explains why so many of the attitudes, assumptions, and processes don't work for complex, intractable conflict, and several of the posts suggest ways in which changing ones' attitudes, assumptions and/or approaches can yield positive results.  Only three of these posts have gone out so far:

  1. Business-as-Usual Introduction  Business-as-usual strategies don't work for intractable conflicts--they often make them worse!  --April 17, 2017​ 
  2. Part 1: Same Old Approach, Just More or Better. [D3] "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."  Why do we do that with conflict? -- April 18, 2017​ 
  3. Part 2: Boys Will Be Boys"  Are conflict & war inevitable? Is “compromise” bad? Such attitudes make us cynical and block learning.  -- April 19, 2017​ 

Fundamentals Seminar: Unit 2

Unit 2 of the fundamentals seminar is covering core concepts and will include about ten articles on key terms and ideas.  In addition to exploring common conflict and negotiation terms (such as first and "third" parties, and interests and positions, we will also be exploring terms that differentiate between simple conflicts and complex ones, as is illustrated by the two that have been posted so far:

  1. Conflicts and Disputes Distinguishing between conflicts & disputes is essential for successful engagement in each. -- April 17, 2017
  2. Complex and Complicated Systems  In complex problems, one must think in terms of organic, not mechanical metaphors.- April 19, 2017

Additional Resources Blog

The last weeks' posts from the Additional Resources Blog include the following: 

  • Colleges and ‘Fake News’ -Genuinely hopeful news that colleges are turning the fake news epidemic into a teachable moment -- 04/18/2017
  • Culture Wars in America -- New book argues that the US needs to reclaim its "civil religion" as the "vital center" of politics. -- 04/18/2017
  • Illegal weapons: A global guide -- A useful guide to what everyone ought to know about efforts to ban the global trade in illegal weapons. -- 04/18/2017
  • North Korea is Practicing for Nuclear War -- North Korea is practicing for nuclear war (in part to avoid the fate of Iraq and Libya)! Very dangerous. -- 04/17/2017
  • Why Can't America Take Out Assad? -- Why America can't just take out Assad--an explanation of why Syria is such an intractable problem. -- 04/17/2017
  • Misunderstanding the American Right -- Long essay with lots of citations exploring the left's long and not very successful effort to understand the right. -- 04/15/2017
  • Working Less: A Solution -- Another outside the box idea for making a whole lot of things better: work less! -- 04/15/2017
  • Reducing Tensions Between Russia and NATO -- From the Council on Foreign Relations-–much needed thinking on reducing Russia/NATO tensions. We need more of this. -- 04/14/2017
  • US and Europe Response to Russia -- More about the emerging response to "Russian hybrid warfare" (military threat plus political destabilization). -- 04/14/2017
  • Be Nice to Trump Voters -- From Nicholas Kristof, "My Most Unpopular Idea, Be Nice to Trump Voters." What happened to "love thine enemy?" -- 04/13/2017
  • US Aided Saddam -- Disturbing report in light of the Syria crisis: CIA files prove America helped Saddam's Iraq gas Iranian forces. -- 04/13/2017
  • Tribal Truths -- An explanation of how "tribal epistemology" afflicts both the left and the right and threatens democracy. -- 04/12/2017
  • Terrorism & Security Measures -- An explanation of how disconnected our expensive security measures have come from the real threat of terrorism. -- 04/12/2017

Newsletter #1
April 2, 2017

Unit 1: Introduction to the MOOS

Unit 1 of the Moving Beyond Intractability Massive Open Online Seminar (MBI-MOOS) introduces the MOOS concept, discusses the nature of the problem(s) we will be addressing, and explains the many ways in which the MOOS can be used and accessed.  The posts for the Frontiers Seminar and the Fundamentals Seminar in this unit are the same. 

Core (Fundamentals and Frontier Seminar) Posts:

Supplemental Posts

Additional materials which we think are particularly interesting and important relating to how various intractable conflicts are "playing out" in the "real world." 

  • The Right Way to Resist Trump -- Lessons from Italy and Berlusconi -- "The Right Way to Resist Trump" -- 03/01/2017
  • Three reasons for universal basic income -- One real option for a wealthy economies that can't create jobs for everyone –- "universal basic income." -- 03/01/2017
  • There Is No American 'Deep State' -- Based on the Turkish experience, an argument that "There Is No American 'Deep State.'" -- 02/28/2017
  • Are Liberals Helping Trump? -- It's not enough to fight harder, one has to fight smarter--an explanation of how liberals are making things worse. -- 02/28/2017
  • The Complacent Class -- The Complacent Class, an interesting new book arguing Americans are now working hard to AVOID change. -- 02/27/2017
  • Europe Combats Fake News -- East Stratcom--Europe's welcome new effort to combat fake news (though its 11 person team is laughably small). -- 02/27/2017
  • This Century Is Broken -- Jaw-dropping statistics emphasizing the critical importance of efforts to meet 21st century economic challenges. -- 02/26/2017
  • Our Miserable 21st Century -- For those who want the big challenge and aren't afraid of depressing reading: "Our Miserable 21st-Century." -- 02/26/2017
  • Google fights online trolls with new tool -- Trolling campaigns reveal "Astroturf" not "grassroots" hate. It's good to see Google fighting them. -- 02/25/2017
  • If Trump is Impeached... -- A persuasive argument that impeachment may not be the panacea you were hoping for. Be careful what you wish for. -- 02/25/2017