On Peace and Dialogue

Two commonly misused, and abused, terms are peace and dialogue.

Peace can be described as the end result of a process of synthesis of opposites which inevitably involves dialogue. Why, then, isn’t dialogue always conducive to peace?

Definition of dialogue

a : a conversation between two or more persons
b : an exchange of ideas and opinions
c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution

Conflict resolution is a method for two or more parties to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement among them.

Peace is a synthetic solution to a conflict. For any synthesis to occur in Nature, three factors must always operate. These factors may be labeled in different ways by different people. I label them as Power, Love and Intelligence.

Conflict resolution skills are the intelligent way to address conflicts. Dialogue, related to love as a science of relationships, not as an emotion, is an essential component of this tool set. Both conflict resolution skills and dialogue are necessary but neither is sufficient to achieve peace.

The balance of power between the opposing parties is the linchpin. If the wheels of dialogue are to make progress toward a peaceful solution to any disagreement, power must be balanced, not necessarily equal. The balance of power must be equal among siblings in conflict but must be balanced in any conflict between the more experienced parents and the less experienced children in procuring the common good. I call this adjustment to the balance of power the hierarchical factor.

When the balance of power predisposes one party to unfairly impose its will on the other, no peaceful solution is possible until power is surrendered, voluntarily or involuntarily, brokered by a mutually accepted mediator.

The failure of the United Nations as a world governance body is based on a flawed application of a hierarchical balance of power. True, much good has come out of the UN agencies related to education, culture and science. But the UN General Assembly is a good example of ineffective dialogue. And the UN Security Council serves as another good example of ineffective power brokerage. A veto power based on economic strength or military might is not a wise implementation of a hierarchical balance of power. Might does not make right.

The current political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela serves to illustrate the misuse and abuse of the terms peace and dialogue. The authoritarian regime wants to buy time, again and again, by calling for dialogue in order to impose its conditions for peace, which means staying in power forever in a one party system, as in Cuba. The Vatican and the Organization of American States have attempted to mediate to no avail.  The authoritarian regime won’t allow for a peaceful transition of power even if the majority of the people demands it. The UN Security Council in powerless to resolve the impasse.

So, there are three possible outcomes. 1) The authoritarian regime stays in power forever, incarcerating the opposition without any need for dialogue. 2) The factions in conflict dialogue forever, as the humanitarian crisis worsens, and the authoritarian regime remains in power forever. 3) A military intervention, internal or external, to balance power.

An external military intervention in Venezuela could trigger a revolutionary reaction spreading to other countries, initially Colombia, reenacting the guerrilla warfare attempting to export the Cuban revolution in South America in the 1960s. In fact, Maduro has promised another Vietnam in South America if the US military intervenes.

An internal military revolt seems the only viable option to balance power, restore democracy and conduct free and fair elections in Venezuela. However, the Venezuelan military leadership has been corrupted by the Maduro regime.

A new military leadership must emerge, from the bottom up, to enforce the rule of law and a constitutional democracy of the people, by the people and for the people of Venezuela, with the prudent assistance of the international community.  In the meantime, the humanitarian crisis gets worse by the day and the clowns at the UN Security Council keep performing their acts for the entertainment of the spectators.

-JB

 

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