May 26, 2017
This newsletter includes the Frontiers Seminar Unit 2 on Business as Usual and why it doesn't work on intractable conflicts, The Fundamentals Seminar Unit 2 on Core Concepts and Selected Additional Resources posts from the period between now and the last newsletter.
Unit 2 Pushing the frontier: the Limits of Business-as-Usual
This series of 10 posts explains why so many of the attitudes, assumptions, and processes about conflict and conflict resolution don't work for complex, intractable conflict. Several of the posts suggest ways in which changing ones' attitudes, assumptions and/or approaches can yield positive results.
- Business-as-Usual Introduction Business-as-usual strategies don't work for intractable conflicts--they often make them worse! --April 17, 2017
- 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
- Part 2: Boys Will Be Boys" Are conflict & war inevitable? Is “compromise” bad? Such attitudes make us cynical and block learning. -- April 19, 2017
- Business As Usual Pt. 3: "The Blame Game" In conflict, we often blame the other. But focusing on “contribution” instead usually gets much better results! April 20, 2017
- Business As Usual-4: Power and the Power Strategy Mix. Sources of power and power strategies--how to make the most of each. April 21, 2017
- Business As Usual 5 - The Interplay of Reason and Emotion Rationality and emotions both contribute to conflict decision-making--be smart about how! April 24, 2017
- Business As Usual-6: More Bad Assumptions “If they’d just talk, they could work it out!” Exploring this and other bad assumptions. April 25, 2017
- The Return of "I'll Fight You for It" Rules Are efforts to solve problems collaboratively now losing to naked contests of Machiavellian power. April 26, 2017
- The Backlash Effect & Coefficient If your backlash coefficient is more than one, your cause cannot be won! Learn why. April 27, 2017
- Recent Peace and Conflict Paradigms Peace cultivation and massively parallel peacebuilding: two ideas for a new complexity-oriented conflict paradigm. April 28, 2017
Fundamentals Seminar:Unit 2: Core Concepts.
The conflict resolution field has many "core concepts," of course, but here are a few that we use very frequently.
- Conflicts and Disputes -- Distinguishing between conflicts & disputes is essential for successful engagement in each. (April 17, 2017)
- Complex and Complicated Systems - Beyond complex, societal-level conflicts can be considered to be "complex adaptive systems," similar in some sense to weather, ant colonies, or jazz ensembles. The study of these systems requires us to challenge assumptions deeply embedded in the North American/European understandings of conflict intervention. (April 19, 2017)
- Interests, Positions, Needs, and Values -- These are the things people fight about--and each must be handled differently. (April 20, 2017)
- Settlement, Resolution, Management, and Transformation -- Often considered synonyms, each of these implies a very different process and outcome. (April 21, 2017)
- John Paul Lederach on Transformation -- Conflict transformation sees conflict as an opportunity, not a problem needing a solution. (April 24, 2017)
- Reconciliation -- Once a hot topic, now a hotly-needed but controversial topic - this essay tells why. (April 25, 2017)
- Lederach's "Meeting Place" - Think you know what peace, truth, justice, mercy, and reconciliation mean? This exercise forces a deeper look. (April 26, 2017)
- Stable Peace - Stable peace, says Boulding, exists when the thought of war as a tool to resolve conflicts is not considered. (April 27, 2017)
- Principles of Justice and Fairness Like, beauty, "justice" is "in they eye of the beholder. " Or is it not? Can it be objectively measured? (April 28, 2017)
Additional Resources Blog Posts
We have posted almost 100 additional resources posts since the last newsletter, so I am selecting only a few of them to include here. If you want to look at the full list, it can be found at Additional Resources Blog.
- “I just choose to not listen”: why Trump supporters are tuning out the scandals -- A look at why it is so difficult to persuade Trump supporters (or anyone else) to change political allegiances. --05/20/2017
- The Identity Politics Of The Trump Administration -- Lengthy Fivethirtyeight analysis (with lots of links) of identity politics in Trump era. -- 05/18/2017
- President Trump Is the Enemy of Their Enemies -- Must-read Edsall exploration of President Trump, the Second Demographic Transition, & the enemy-of-my-enemy effect. -- 05/17/2017
- The Global Backlash Against Gay Rights -- Sobering article documenting the still precarious position of gay rights efforts worldwide. -- 05/17/2017
- Don't Underestimate Trump -- George Lakoff argues that the left shouldn't underestimate Trump, but should try harder to understand his success -- 05/16/2017
- The Sorry State of Arab Men -- "The Sorry State of Arab Men," an Economist article exploring the difficulties men face and their implications. -- 05/15/2017
- Trump & Cultural Anxiety -- White working class cultural anxiety and the conflict between cultural security and cultural freedom. -- 05/12/2017
- Confirmation Bias -- Evidence that both liberals and conservatives are subject to confirmation bias--something we all need to resist. -- 05/09/2017
- The European Crisis -- A comparison of US & European political crises and an explanation of why Europe's problems are even more difficult. -- 05/05/2017
- Tightness Vs. Looseness in Global Politics -- Tightness and "Looseness"--a useful way of conceptualizing the world's biggest cultural conflict. -- 05/04/2017
- How Western Civilization Could Collapse -- How Western Civilization Could Collapse--a compelling argument for urgently addressing society's big problems. -- 04/28/2017
- The U.S., Russia, and Nuclear War -- The US and Russia are again "inching toward doomsday." Let's work to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle. -- 04/23/2017
- Trump and North Korea -- From Foreign Policy, some genuinely sensible thoughts on how to approach the problem of North Korea. -- 04/22/2017
- Was the Khmer Rouge Tribunal Worth It? -- A sobering reminder of the many difficulties associated with "bringing war criminals to justice." -- 04/20/2017
- 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
- 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
- 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. -- 04/15/2017
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