Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Preventive Diplomacy

Wisdom is a resource that is often given to us in riddles and clichés.  Clichés such as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” or “a stitch in time will save nine” have been offered as solid points to ensure that a situation is kept in check.  The result is much worse and more costly if proper care is not taken.  The same wisdom and knowledge is important to understand when managing peaceful conflict.
Peaceful conflict may seem like an oxymoron or just moronic.  However, as I have stated in past writings conflict is only the meeting and joining of two or more whatevers.  For example typing this article, my fingers come into conflict with each key, thought is conflict, child birth is a conflict as is the act that began the child, and meeting a person for the very first time is a conflict.  It just so happens that most of us are brainwashed to see conflict as a negative element. The negative focus only warns us that we must take notice of the wisdom we have to prevent situations from getting worse.
When dealing with international peace often we do focus on violence, death, struggle, injustice and rights abuses.  As we think about those situations the world had invented Peacekeepers to prevent the worsening impact of war.  Today we have come to the point where preventive diplomacy is a common element in political circles. Below are five priority areas that the current Secretary-General of the United Nations listed for strengthening the use of preventive diplomacy:
(1)early and decisive action to address emerging threats;
(2) investing in and better equipping “preventive diplomats” and their staff;
(3) predictable and timely financial support to maximize efforts on the ground and to deliver results;
(4) stronger strategic partnerships with regional and subregional organizations;
(5) greater support for national institutions and mechanisms for mediation, including civil society and, in particular, women’s and youth organizations.

For me and my work I feel that the most important element of the five is number five.  Engaging in this area will accomplish all the rest. 

Taking the holistic mindset we go from international politics to the personal relationship. On a personal front and in the lives of individuals, preventive diplomacy is a difficult ideology to explain and even harder to implement.  I have been engaged in peace for at least twenty years, I still get caught up in emotions and do stupid things that have caused a number of my own relationships to crumble.

In our personal lives preventive diplomacy is all about caring for yourself and others equally. The policy of “do no harm” is often relevant as is the Golden Rule, “treat others as you wish to be treated”. The difficult part is that we are all different in some manner.  Some of us truly believe in Machiavelli where the ends justify the means and business is conducted at all cost to win. 

What is vital though is the foundation of understanding.  We gain understanding through learning and communication.  Sometimes you know what to do but just do not have the energy or desire.  You feel that you have given enough.  Frustration sets in and then you throw all the work out and let loose.  If the other side is well trained they will realize this and just let you go off.  To be honest, I can count the number of times when I have been able to vent without fear of repercussion.  Someday I hope that balances out even.

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