Concepts distilled from our research, including our Forum, Op-ed pages, external sources, and links follow.
With its broadly based origins, effective counter-terror action requires solutions equally broadly based. Limited concept wars in Afghanistan and Iraq appear as ineffective as Vietnam was before them. TIME SCALE: Peace can be accomplished in a generation or two--if we work hard on the roots. There is no magic wand, no easy answers. It will take all humankind in Dialogue to accomplish true peace.
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS: Remove inequalities that lead to underdogs feeling Alienation (Oklahoma City bombing example). Removing conditions that result in humiliation is the second vital cornerstone on the road to peace.
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
Karen Armstrong offers a map for the road ahead:
"If fundamentalists must evolve a more compassionate assessment of their enemies in order to be true to their religious traditions, secularists must also be more faithful to the benevolence, tolerance, and respect for humanity which characterizes modern culture at its best, and address themselves more emphatically to the fears, anxieties, and needs so many of their fundamentalist neighbors experience but which no society may safely ignore." Here is where John Kerry missed the boat. It was not about values; it was all about FEAR.
Social and society inequalities lead to:
- Humiliation(Loss of home turf and religious shrines--Palestine)
- Deprivation (Loss of resources--to West, House of Saud, other local despots)
- Politicized education (fostered by Islam especially, but elsewhere, too.)
- Discouraging Internal Locus of Control (preached by Islam and authoritarians in general)
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- Conditions and situations shown historically and by social experiment to bring peace shall be employed.
- We must learn from mistakes, not repeat them.
- We must learn from societies that have maintained peace for long periods of time.
- Integrating society at all levels both by law and custom is one such means.
- We must be patient. Rome was not built in a day and the same is true of peace--it is a job for generations.
- Mutual understanding in dialogue can ensure peace; war never has, except on a temporary basis for the winners.
- Diplomatic and social cooperation among ALL nations is required.
- Democratic governance must extend to all peoples, individually and collectively [not a mere Neocon idea, and certainly not as a ruse to take over oil supplies].
- Nation states must recognize a governance system that adheres to the Strategic Goal above and provides for UN sovereignty over all things nuclear; the UN is a suitable beginning platform.
- The UN must protect national boundaries unless all concerned and bordering countries, along with the UN, agree to a voluntary alteration.
- All people must be free to choose their religious faith, their career, their life-mate, and their political associations consistent with the Strategic Goal.
- All people must proceed on the principle that respect must be earned; it cannot be demanded or imposed; the leading societies must lead by example.
- Education must include anthropology and natural history as well as local human history in the broader context of world human history with emphasis on the political, sociological, religious, psychological, scientific, and technological forces that have operated throughout humankind's presence on Earth.
- Women must be equal to men in all aspects before the law.
- We must not destroy our very habitat through senselessly catering to special interests.
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Three contemporary studies address the problem of violence and among them they seem to have filled in some of the gaps which increases hope for a solution. Ashutosh Varshney, "Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life," illustrates that ethnic integration at all levels provides positive results; his work needs affirmation before general adoption as it is still somewhat controversial in knowledgeable quarters. Nevertheless, his ideas seem to fit our observations. The UN has also adopted his findings.
Paul R. Brass, a critic of Varshney, argues that inciting conflict is a deliberate political event on the part of the police, criminal elements, and members of Aligarhs business community. Here too, observations seems to fit his interpretation.
Jessica Stern has produced a marvelous and deep study of religious terrorism: "Terror in the Name of God." When religious terror groups form, they are usually altruistic and ideological and pursue real or perceived grievances. Usually also, the original bases become corrupted such that greed replaces grievance. And early passions give way to career as a way of life for the religious terrorists as they pursue a mixture of religious, political and economic goals. Although a great deal has been learned, no one yet has complete answers.
More and still better information is needed. Meanwhile we endorse the findings of Varshney and Stern as the most insightful and most likely to provide elements of a solution. Brass's criminal element is recognized in Stern's work; it should not be neglected as its presence governs how one responds to terror tactically. Afghanistan (supporting international terrorism) and Iraq (not supporting international terrorism) are cases in point. We further believe that genocide is a terror that must be addressed internationally. Genocide is a left-over issue in Iraq; Africa practices it regularly, essentially with impunity. See also: Religion and Violence for our take in parallel with Stern. Stern relied on actual interviews; we employed research reported by others.
Nevertheless, we are in basic agreement with her on religious terrorism. Our studies are complimentary. Karl Deutsch, in his analyses of modern Europe provides further guidance in three arenas: International law is one improvement. Deutsch makes the point that it must help, not reform the world to the extent that nation states lose their sovereignty.
Pluralistic-security communities work better than federations, because sovereignty is not such a critical issue.
Limited functionalism, as with the European Common Market, adds to overall prosperity and integration, and these reduce humiliation.
A preliminary guideline to find guidance appears in the following box:
If we are to progress against violence and terrorism, we must first discover and act upon what it is that Motivates The Terrorist
We must discover why Honolulu and El Paso are so peaceful, and why Tokyo is more peaceful still, while Washington DC, Detroit and Baltimore lead the world cities in violence.
We must learn what lies beneath the Violent Monotheisms in contrast with the peaceful Buddhists and the Eastern Religions
What is so enduring about Chinese culture that China has never been an expansionistic power in the European mold?
We must interpret our discoveries scientifically at the deepest levels of sociology, psychology, and genetics -- not play politics, rationalize, or look to the next election.
Above all, we must implement our findings as soon as they are proven.
Diplomatically, we must foster pluralistic security communities and expand limited functionalism
Individually and society-wise, we must provide environments for our children that instill them with an Internal Locus of Control.
Jessica Stern emphasizes that we must not play into the hands of the terrorists by:
- Overreacting [on either the personal or national level],
- Using the wrong tools,
- Continuing to dehumanize those making up cultures more conservative and less modern than ours,
- Ignoring the historic antipathy toward democratic ideas by the nations of Islam, and
- Not realizing why and how terrorists are radicalized in the first place.
These "to-dos" and "should-not-dos" are not even on the radar screen for the Bush Administration. They may not provide a "final solution", but had we implemented them in 2001, they would have given us a great boost and the features that worked could have been implemented for far less than the billions that have been sunk in Iraq, not to mention the lives saved.
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Arrive at a comity of nations whose governing principle is preserving humankind and life on Earth where each nation and each individual enjoys:
- freedom from want, fear, terror, war, and genocide,
- freedom of speech and worship, and
- equal opportunity free from discrimination.
- strengthening the UN to effectively deal with terror,
- separation of church and state.
- national and personal dignity.
- integrated economic, ethnic and religious sectors.
- dialogue at all levels.
- stable economic conditions.
- security from terror.
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Counter-terrorism requires integrating detailed police, political, cultural, social, psychological, and economic actions that are persistent and cooperative all over the world. Those nations refusing to join become suspect and the object of all those who do. The UN must encourage these procedures in each area. Each of these are part of the solution. These policies must be implemented NOW. War must be the last resort, not the first. Bush policies go opposite of these basic requirements. For example, his timing in Iraq appears to have been politically motivated. Taking the information presented by Hans Blix, "Disarming Iraq," Paul O'Neill, "The Price of Loyalty," Richard Clarke, "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror", and news reports of the day, it is easy to conclude that Mr. Bush planned to go to war in Iraq all along and used terrorism as a guise. For example he:
- continued specific sanctions that devastated the health system in Iraq with particular impact on children.
- selected highly dubious intelligence to support his invasion of Iraq.
- ignored a last ditch response by Hussein to allow inspections anywhere; Mr. Bush preferred war to a more peaceful solution--he is, most of all, a self-proclaimed war president.
- confused, and still confuses, war in Iraq with fighting terror when war has only increased the worldwide frequency of terrorism.
- found no connection between Iraq and al Qa'ida.
- found no weapons of mass destruction of any kind
- went after a dictator guilty of genocide while ignoring others even more guilty--the only difference being oil.
One can only conclude that Mr. Bush has his own political agenda, and fighting terror is not high on his list. Nowhere do we see him trying to balance the scales that lead to alienation, humiliation, and deprivation. Only when forced to by the international community did Mr. Bush acknowledge that the UN has a role to play.
The following section is a beginning toward finding redress of these long-term issues.
Surely most nations of the world realize the value of peace for all of humankind. Surely the "how-to" knowledge exists to make the world a better and safer place. And just as surely, exemplary social models exist, if not quite in pure form.
It is abundantly clear from history that humanity has spent huge sums on producing weapons for terror and war but virtually nothing on discovering and developing the tools of peace.
Ethnicity and monotheism have been a source of conflict for millennia. But that need not be. Just as the potential for conflict is written in our genes; so also is the script for peace. Just as surely, we have evolved an ability to think for ourselves and decide our futures. On these points, the Neocons miss the latter two, so sure are they that humanity is intrinsically violent and armies need wars just for exercise that they are blind to the greater good. Their desire to master the world also clouds all of their otherwise good sense. In the next section, we report on some very hopeful social research.
Social Research and Groundwork
A road to peace has now been demonstrated. Recent Historical Trends have now been confirmed to have a Scientific basis. Ashutosh Varshney, is Associate Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Michigan. He compared peaceful and violent cities in India with similar ethnic proportions of Muslims and Hindus. His book, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, provides the details. Varshney's book has a solid basis and gives us hope. His kernel observation is: ethnic integration in all facets of society is the key to harmony. Varshney also found that uncoordinated integration, as on playgrounds and neighborhoods, is effective and useful as well. For other successful efforts, see: Hope. In one example Varshney cited, cities integrated ethnically were able to stop wild rumors that inflamed the nonintegrated comparative cities. What the peaceful cities did and how they did it through dialogue on the local and individual levels provides us direction complete with a road map. Their very harmony is a goal achieved, one we can all hope for and expect for the world. Paul R. Brass, raises the possibility that much of the violence is deliberately instigated. That is quite likely true but is not at odds with Varshney's claims.
Amazon.com provides the following summary of Varshney's book:
- "What kinds of civic ties between different ethnic communities can contain, or even prevent, ethnic violence? This book draws on new research on Hindu- Muslim conflict in India to address this important question. Ashutosh Varshney examines three pairs of Indian cities, one city in each pair with a history of communal violence, the other with a history of relative communal harmony, to discern why violence between Hindus and Muslims occurs in some situations but not others. His findings will be of strong interest to scholars, politicians, and policy-makers of South Asia, but the implications of his study have theoretical and practical relevance for a broad range of multiethnic societies in other areas of the world as well. The book focuses on the networks of civic engagement that bring Hindu and Muslim urban communities together. Strong associational forms of civic engagement, such as integrated business organizations, trade unions, political parties, and professional associations, are able to control outbreaks of ethnic violence, Varshney shows. Vigorous and communally integrated associational life can serve as an agent of peace by restraining those, including powerful politicians, who would polarize Hindus and Muslims along communal lines."
Patterns Varshney found that correlated with ethnic strife continued after his book came out, confirming the predictive ability of his conclusions. It is heartening to know that the UN began working with Varshney even before his book was published.
Varshney's book is more than commentary; it is research that meets or exceeds accepted standards for social science. It also explains the efficacy of dialogue in the peace that has come to Western Europe these last 50 years. See: Hope. In keeping with the foregoing and other pages on this site, we collect and organize guiding principles and methods for moving forward. These follow:
International (Nations United) Action
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There can be no freedom from fear and no security until all things nuclear are brought under universal control. The United Nations, the European Union, NATO and other alliances the world over can play positive roles. A substantial Reformation of the World must happen: it is time to start.
A solution we advocate is to begin by having all things nuclear operate only under special controls with the preservation of our species (and life on earth) uppermost in mind. The UN (modified and streamlined to be responsive and responsible) is the proper purview. Nuclear governance must: require each nation to yield enough sovereignty to ensure the safety of humankind;
- guarantee each nation has equal access to nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes;
- include uranium mining, extraction, refining, isotope separations, material preparations, and the distribution of products for peaceful purposes;
- maintain nuclear armed missiles in strategic locations, in high earth orbit, or on the moon exclusively for deflecting or pulverizing errant asteroids, comets, or oversized bolides in Earth-collision orbits;
- include the design, building, operating, maintaining, repairing, refueling, and decommissioning of reactors;
- extend to safely handling, processing, and disposing of waste products;
- be everywhere sovereign for nuclear-related activities;
- no square meter of earth surface can be exempt from inspection for any reason whatsoever by the responsible UN agency;
- freely involve the media and citizen experts in site inspections; employ inspection intervals short enough to prevent cheating;
- secure nuclear materials to at least the level of Fort Knox;
- be managed in a transparent manner with materials checks and balances that are sure to work;
- provide accounting systems with double and triple independent audits for accuracy of measurement;
- use standard units of measure in record keeping; be open to review and inspection by the media and expert citizens;
- be as careful in selecting personnel at all levels as with the material itself;
- insure that each worker, manager, and leader involved has demonstrated emotional stability and commitment to this greater service for all humanity;
- provide an ethos where each such involved person would individually and collectively take high pride in being a guardian of humankind, indeed of life on earth;
- select each involved person by "profiles" using the latest psychometric and other psychological assessment tools, prior psycho-social history, and other techniques such as genetic testing that become available over time;
- make all such profiles available to the public for inspections while keeping individual identities private;
- provide security and high social rewards for whistle blowers among those involved;
- guarantee that inspections do not threaten individual freedoms and privacy;
- guard the rights of all world citizens individually and collectively by appropriate checks and balances;
- must insure that all inspections otherwise respect local laws and customs; and
- deploy the highest levels of technology available to prevent or minimize unnecessary intrusions into individual privacy and their societies.
Diplomatic level dialogue can address and resolve the nuclear issue. The door will then be open for a comity of nations (all nations) to form where each nation respects the rights of each other nation and celebrates their differences. Such a comity is necessarily part and parcel of a lasting peace. UN control of all things nuclear can provide a salvation through reformation of governance. Nuclear governance by a world democracy of nations under UN auspices is not merely possible, it is necessary. Such a world where all nations are united in preserving humankind could, in dialogue, eliminate war and organized terrorism for all time. We offer this as a starting point, not as a complete recipe. Each step will add a level of wisdom; each step will enable the next; each step will open vistas now unseen for both opportunity and challenge.
National Level Actions
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- Integrate the Guiding Principles, above, into the ethos of each individual, society, and nation; strive for political enlightenment and accommodation by moving toward a common good; replace special-interest groups with common-interest groups.
- Begin dialogue between and among nations on the diplomatic level. This requires all sides to focus on common interests and issues, and to do so in an organized as well as a personal manner.
- Ally with receptive nations sharing the above guiding principles and international actions.
- Discover the root causes of terrorism and use appropriate means to reduce or eliminate them.
- Form a Core Group of nations bound by the guiding principles under the auspices of the United Nations, and other international alliances as appropriate.
- A Core Group of nations demonstrates the efficacy of the process and works toward dialogue with non-participants.
- Consider and implement other means to bring non-participating nations into partnership employing military force only as an absolute last resort and with "legal approval" of the Core Group and the UN.
- Foster cultures that free people to be what they can be; minimize influence of special interests by law; moderate expressions of extremism; earn the respect of other nations by moral behavior.
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- "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
Keep terrorism in perspective; it is multiples less dangerous to us individually than are auto accidents or murder by guns, and orders of magnitude less important than dying from natural causes.
To be effective, we must:
- Learn what motivates and radicalizes terrorists and avoid these conditions and environments for our children.
- Demand that our leaders put the common interest above the special interest.
- Adopt strategic goal and guiding principles as a way of life.
- Understand ourselves and our neighbors.
- Educate ourselves and our children to stay abreast of current events in the context of the pendulums of history.
- Practice dialogue until it essentially becomes our preferred response;
- Listen if we want to be heard;
- Respond rather than preach;
- we must discuss rather than demand.
- Look for and address common concerns in dialogue.
- Begin person-to-person dialogues beyond neighborhoods and across borders.
- Learn about politics as we network and make contacts; apply for a position as an aide in local, state or national government.
- Question dogmatic policies by logic, information that indicates otherwise, and historical precedents.
- Make our views known by voting and contacting local, state, and national leaders to voice our questions, thoughts, and concerns.
- Do newsworthy things on behalf of peace and understanding via dialogue; the larger the group involved, the more effective this technique will be.
- Run for political office.
- Maintain credibility by avoiding propaganda.
- Join or support a peace movement such as The Peace Corps or any of its private counterparts.
Additional links appear on our Peace page. You may also make your thoughts known directly via:
White House Contact information.
Senate Listings of senators and pending legislation. Open Senator listing, click on your senator, and contact him/her from there.
House of Representatives "Locate your Representative"
Things for Societies to Avoid
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- Nuclear weaponry falling into the hands of extremists could doom civilization
- Complacency and lack of preparedness will make us vulnerable to heightened or renewed terror
- Bullying or arrogant behavior alienates friends and allies
- Supporting local despots loses support of young people in those countries that are desperate for change
- Preemptive war without the approval of allies and the UN alienates allies, invites terrorism
- Behaving in ways that destroy credibility, supporting Zionism, ignoring genocide, or going after Iraq but not North Korea, for example
- Assuming that motivations are not transparent for all to see; other people are keenly aware of our real interests in this networked world; walking out of the South African Conference on racism and not signing the treaty on Women's Human Rights are prime examples
- Ignoring potential economic and political fallout. The war with Iraq could galvanize Islam in ways we cannot even imagine, or even fracture Pakistan and radicalize Egypt
- Ignoring history. Postwar Japanese and European recovery models do not fit the Middle East
- Abusing the environment and biosphere antagonizes friends and foes alike
- Exploiting other people, nations, or their resources; reducing others to a state of hopelessness brings on the suicide bombers; Palestine is the prime example
- Ignoring genocide. This is a crime almost the equal of genocide itself Having self-serving, America-first, actions or attitudes deprives us of the moral high ground Increasing the economic gaps between Americans and their World brethren, as well as between Americans themselves.
Individuals Must Avoid
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- Remaining ignorant of the real issues, supporting politicians naively or on the basis of photo-ops rarely produces leadership required; party lines and co-opted phrases from the opposition often cloud true intent;
- Complacency. Failure to vote can put the wrong folks in power, provide unreal sense of security;
- Failing to think for one's self could doom democracy;
- Developing an Authoritarian personality;
- Mind sets that prevent dialogue play into the hands of extremists who thrive on terror and war;
- Allowing fear to make us oblivious to losing our constitutional rights. If we trade security for freedom, we deserve neither.
The most compelling ideas coming from our research follow:
Authoritarianism While finding comfort in the identification of submissive behavior towards authority, the authoritarian person directs his/her aggression towards other groups, often racial minorities. This is an attempt to relieve the feeling of personal weakness with a search for absolute answers and strengths in the outside world.
Authoritarian personality is expressed by:
- Overly Obedient,
Intolerance, superstition, and rigid, stereotyped thought patterns arise from a basic insecurity in the authoritarian personality.
Many authoritarians make wonderful mechanics, accountants, doctors and airline pilots; they do not do as well in science, industry or diplomacy where creativity and personality carry the day.
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Bin Laden declared it. This is jihad. We have some powerful techniques at our disposal. Freedom is by far our most powerful. Dialogue, always the first choice in relationships, can bring about a World Reformation by peaceful means for nations willing to engage. The Nuclear Threat makes a reformation imperative. See also Hope.
Dialogue will not always work. When it doesn't, political consensus must be used to pressure deviant regimes toward peace by damping out their own extremist cults by use of appropriate means.
If that doesn't work, military solutions with UN approval would be used. Stable nation building must follow to ensure extremism does not reemerge. It will take a generation or more, especially in the Third World, to develop a stable middle class appreciative of stable secular governance and supportive of same. This may not be that hard. Muslims in general hold America in high esteem. The traditions of dictatorship with religious fundamentalism providing the only alternative are the problem. Radical Imams feast on American arrogance and economic imperialism.
This is a time of high stakes. Iraq is still belatedly in the throes of "instant-nation-building-to-benefit-America." Hussein's capture and execution weakened the Baath Party -- for awhile; it is now resurging as the Kurds and Shiites seek their separate ways. Ancient rivalries and old scores remain. Islamic fundamentalists, ever in the background, are torpedoing movements toward democracy. Terror attacks will continue as long as the US has a presence in Iraq or the Middle East. It is true that terror incidence in Iraq is down. This came about not only because the Surge pacified much of Baghdad, but because the Sunnis realized that foreign terrorist activities we damaging their own cause. This event may open the door for three-way dialogues among the main factions.
Early on the Administration recognized one of the immediate problems: A huge shortage of specialized help fluent in Arabic. That shortage basically still remains, though things are improving.
We can look at some accomplishments:
- Hussein is gone. That came with some consequences: Total incidence of terror increased; oil production declined.
- Haliburton and other Bush cronies are still enriching themselves at the expense of the American public, $200 billion for Iraq alone and counting.
- Some 1900 Americans and multiples more of Iraqis lost their lives.
- Non-Iraqi terrorists are now fully engaged.
- No weapons of mass destruction of any variety were ever found.
- Not a single connection with al Qa'ida ever turned up; papers found with Hussein indicate there never were any.
- Several important allies were antagonized.
- Our moral and economic positions are weaker.
- NATO has been somewhat marginalized.
- Invading Iraq simply gave bin Laden and al Qa'ida a new battleground upon which to attack America.
- By erecting its literal and physical Iron Wall, Israel is admitting that terrorism is in Palestine to stay; violent responses to violence solve nothing as long as the core problems remain.
- Afghanistan may be sinking toward instability yet again; culturally, Afghanistan is still a feudal nation; tribal chieftans or the Taliban are in control of most of the countryside. Iraq is little better.
One can only hope that guidance from Pennsylvania Avenue improves from this point forward.
See also Solutions Evident.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Tuesday, August 23, 2005.