How does one â€˜study peaceâ€™ other through the honest and rigorous study of history? â€œPeace Studiesâ€ per se may be trendy in certain academic circles, but has not an irrational yearning for peace (in a time of peril) typically been a gateway to war? History appears to bear this out.
Can â€˜peaceâ€™ be attained through diplomacy alone? Diplomacy that involves a nation weak in military strength (or the will to use it) is a rather unilateral process that involves appeasement. Appeasement should have been discredited by the failure of Chamberlain et al to achieve the desired “peace in our time.” The only rationale for appeasement is one of buying time to build up military strength sufficient to smash the enemy.
Some saw the â€˜containmentâ€™ police towards the USSR during the Cold War as a form of appeasement. It was not. While containment did not immediately free the â€˜captive nationsâ€™, that end was eventually reached. Yet some in the hard left in our country faulted the actions of Truman and most of his successors as being provocative. The Marshall Plan, intervention in Greece, and establishing NATO were seen as being beastly to the Soviets. Former Vice President Wallace even made an abortive Presidential run that forever tainted the word â€˜progressiveâ€™.
High-ranking military personnel are typically given advanced training in foreign affairs and these men may be the ultimate peacemakers, the ones who must direct the heavy lifting when the diplomats fail.
Advocates of peace at any price have always stressed the smarmy and sentimental at the expense of the rational. How many remember the phrase â€˜what if they gave a war and on one cameâ€™? Wars are seldom â€˜givenâ€™, with engraved invitations with an RSVP request to allow an invitee to gracefully opt out. How does one not â€˜comeâ€™ to a war when an armed enemy invades? Perhaps the â€˜cuteâ€™ question indicates the irrationality of many pacifists.
Some see â€˜conflict resolutionâ€™ as an integral part of ‘peace studiesâ€™. On a personal scale, marriage counselors can sometimes resolve conflicts but all to often the battle is encouraged by attorneys living on the clock. When one of the partners to a dispute is less than rational, what resolution is possible? The demand â€˜your money or your lifeâ€™ is not an invitation to negotiate but the threat that both are in jeopardy.
This may be a region where the cute and the trendy merge rather seamlessly and where emotion trumps logic. The simplistic is often the domain of the simple-minded, those driven by wishful thinking. Some may have a sinister agenda and others may have the best of intentions. The road of good intentions does not always have a desirable destination.