Thursday, August 21, 2014

Research Confirms: Peace Works


Impressive research, worth citing...

"Between 1900 and 2006, campaigns of nonviolent resistance against authoritarian regimes were twice as likely to succeed as violent movements. Nonviolent resistance also increased the chances that the overthrow of a dictatorship would lead to peace and democratic rule. This was true even in highly authoritarian and repressive countries, where one might expect nonviolent resistance to fail. Contrary to conventional wisdom, no social, economic, or political structures have systematically prevented nonviolent campaigns from emerging or succeeding.

From strikes and protests to sit-ins and boycotts, civil resistance remains the best strategy for social and political change in the face of oppression. Movements that opt for violence often unleash terrible destruction and bloodshed, in both the short and the long term, usually without realizing the goals they set out to achieve. Even though tumult and fear persist today from Cairo to Kiev, there are still many reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the promise of civil resistance in the years to come.

In the United States and Europe, policymakers often seem at a loss when confronted with the questions of whether to support civilians resisting authoritarian regimes using nonviolent protest and, if so, what form that support should take. Liberal interventionists cited a “responsibility to protect” civilians to justify NATO’s intervention in Libya and have also invoked that argument in advocating for similar action in Syria. But the promise of civil resistance suggests an alternative: a “responsibility to assist” nonviolent activists and civic groups well before confrontations between civilians and authoritarian regimes devolve into violent conflicts.

Civil resistance does not succeed because it melts the hearts of dictators and secret police. It succeeds because it is more likely than armed struggle to attract a larger and more diverse base of participants and impose unsustainable costs on a regime. No single civil resistance campaign is the same, but the ones that work all have three things in common: they enjoy mass participation, they produce regime defections, and they employ flexible tactics. Historically, the larger and more diverse the campaign, the more likely it was to succeed."

Read more...

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141540/erica-chenoweth-and-maria-j-stephan/drop-your-weapons

73 comments:

Craig said...

Sounds interesting, but the link just goes to the general page, I couldn't find the article. Could you provide the title or author please?

Dan Trabue said...

Sorry...

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/141540/erica-chenoweth-and-maria-j-stephan/drop-your-weapons

Craig said...

Thanks

Craig said...

The article presents some intriguing summary, but It really doesn't offer anything substantial. I'm not sure I'm ready to drop $20 on the book to actually dig into the research. Maybe I'll get lucky at the library.

Dan Trabue said...

I believe that this is a place where we all could find much common ground. If it costs billions of dollars and thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of lives to wage war to settle problems and we could invest less and have more positive results, it is a place we should all be able to unite.

Marshall Art said...

Does the book cover radical islamists who believe dying for the cause is the best thing one can do? I don't believe your book and the research they conducted likely addresses the type of foe we face these days. I also have an issue with someone who thinks that peace is somehow of more value than defeating the most evil people in the world who wish to subjugate those who disagree or kill them if they won't get with the program. Some things are worth dying for and investing billions of dollars.

Craig said...

Dan
I believe there could be some common ground if the research actually demonstrates what the article claims it does. I'm a little concerned that the authors might be overselling the conclusions, since they really don't include any hard data or methodology in the review. I'd be interested in seeing the book and will be looking for it so I can evaluate the claims.

I too have some concern at what the cost in lives will be going up against some of these Islamic terror groups who seem to relish indiscriminate killing.

Finally, I'd suggest that there are some circumstances where force is the only answer, and that to completely take options off the table is a mistake.

Dan Trabue said...

I've not read the book. The research out there, though, covers all sorts of "enemy" including extremists of all sorts.

The thing is, Marshall, while you will run across a mentally disabled person occasionally who can not/will not be reasoned with, that is rare and in isolation.

When you are speaking of groups of people, ALL groups of humanity ARE capable of moral reasoning and reasoned debate. To suggest otherwise is delusional, in and of itself, and part of the problem.

That is, if you go into a situation with the mindset "These people are unreasoning animals who can only be exterminated to please God/Allah/whoever and do Good..." that is part of the problem that needs to be overcome, not part of the solution.

"If you make them bleed and hurt enough, THAT's the only lesson they can learn" is the mindset we need to set aside in the search for working solutions in the real world.

Is deadly force against bad actors sometimes necessary? I'll allow that this is the world's mindset and perhaps it is truly the lesser evil, but we must not confuse a lesser evil for an actual good.

The point of the article is that research shows, peaceable solutions DO work, given the chance. They don't work perfectly, people DO die in peaceful oppositions to oppression, but then, even more people die in war and the "peace" that comes after war is, statistically, oft times not as sound as the peace that comes after non-violent (or nearly non-violent) revolution.

Marshall Art said...

You seem to believe that the "mindset" regarding our current foes is one of mere simpleminded rhetoric regarding who they are, what they believe and how dedicated they are to their agenda. Keep in mind that it has been ongoing for some 1400 years. The rhetoric they use has not changed in all that time, as demonstrated by what was said by them during the period of the Barbary pirates back in the late 1700s to early 1800s.

I do recall we not only enjoyed a lasting peace between ourselves and two determined foes in the 1940's, I would suggest that how a war is fought makes a big difference. We did not "mollycoddle" our foes and we did not pretend we could trust them after they surrendered unconditionally, setting up a government led by our own people with strict conditions before allowing them to rule themselves.
The result was two allied nations that were once mortal enemies, because we didn't pretend that peace at all costs was a legitimate concept.

I do not argue against the fact that some conflicts could have been mitigated by peaceful solutions, but I would argue that neither side was committed to destroying the other at all costs. One or both may have been willing to go to war should no peaceful solution been amenable to both sides, but that wasn't the case in WWII and it certainly isn't the case now.

Dan Trabue said...

The thing is, Marshall, Muslims are NOT committed to destroying everyone at all costs. PERHAPS, a few extremists amongst Muslims are, but they are a small minority.

Regardless, I think the evidence is there to be investigated, supported and promoted for all interested in peaceful alternatives to war (and NOT "peace at all costs" but a Just Peace).

Marshall Art said...

The estimated number of those muslims who are at the very least strongly in favor of Sharia law throughout every population constitutes a huge number, considering the total number of muslims in the world. The percentage of that number that are willing and/or approving of the despotic and murderous agenda to bring about a caliphate is still a huge number, in the millions.

We have seen people attempt to seek peace with muslims. I recall a guy named Fox, to whom I have referred in past discussions like this with you, who ended up murdered for his trouble. We have seen what 19 extremists can do back in 2001. We now are looking at a group that is considered far worse than AlQueda, and they are not merely "a few" extremists. We see Hamas constantly lobbing missiles at Israel while way too many Pallie civilians approve and/or do nothing to stop it. You and your "Just Peace" "extremists" have no idea what you're talking about.

Craig said...

Dan,

Just a suggestion. You might keep in mind that you haven't actually seen the evidence, just a summary of the evidence. We also don't know how biased the authors of the summary were, and how accurately they summarized the research. I think there is a tendency to maybe get more excited than is justified when some research comes out that seems to support a position one is committed to, before digging into the research. I know I've been bitten sometimes, and try not to get too excited too soon.

I do think that if this research is accurate, and that it can be used in such a way as to be applied across a wide spectrum of conflicts, that it would be welcomed as one more option in dealing with conflict.

I still think that I'd have a hard time thinking that this research is definitive, but it is certainly interesting.

One question comes to mind that I'd be interested in hearing the answer to is why they chose 1900 as the cut off point. It certainly would exclude the American, Haitian, and French revolutions which were to varying degrees successful, and my skeptical nature thinks that there might be an attempt to skew the data in using 1900. Although, I just don't know and there could be a really compelling reason for that date. If I find the book, I hope they address that issue, or it might be addressed elsewhere.

Anyway, it's interesting, and worth looking at as one option for conflict resolution.

Dan Trabue said...

Yes, Craig, it is interesting and worth investigating.

Marshall...

We see Hamas constantly lobbing missiles at Israel while way too many Pallie civilians approve and/or do nothing to stop it. You and your "Just Peace" "extremists" have no idea what you're talking about.

What's your answer? Kill them all until the few remaining have learned their lesson?

"I believe the Israelis should disregard the consequences and lay waste to as much of Hamas controlled territory as possible."

Like that?

Marshall Art said...

Yes. It's how we ended WII. We put the major hurt on our enemies until they were either incapable or unwilling to proceed. What was true then remains true today: when war is the answer, it's the only answer. No rational, responsible and truly thoughtful person can think otherwise. Such people as these already practice what lefties call "Just Peace" theory and other forms of diplomacy and negotiation, but in addition have the courage and vision to understand when the asocial enemy needs to be eliminated for the benefit of all. Fewer deaths and expense is the result.

Craig said...

Dan,

I know you've got a lot on your plate in discussions, so I don't expect you to drop everything for this, but I'd be interested in some specifics of how you'd use Nonviolent resistance in some real world situations.

A few suggestions for you to consider.

If you were the Israeli government how would you uses these tactics to stop the conflict with Hamas? For example, may many civilian deaths or injuries would you be willing for Israel to absorb in using these tactics?


Or

How would you defuse the situation with ISIS?

Or

What would be your strategy for convincing Russia to stop invading her neighbors.

The reason I'm curious is that while I can see that these tactics might be effective in the citizens of a country rising up against an oppressive regime, I'm less clear on how they would work in stopping an active aggressor, especially an aggressor who is has a low regard for human life.

Again, I'd appreciate whatever thoughts you might have.

Marshall Art said...

So would I, as I have sought those very answers for some time from Dan. I've mentioned one example of someone who tried and was summarily and brutally executed for his troubles.

Marshall Art said...

Plus, one would have thought all street gang activity would have been eliminated by now using those tactics so many leftists in this country would advocate. Yet, drive-by shootings continue.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, if waving a magic wand and giving 10 second answers would work, we'd have all the problems solved, wouldn't we? I mean, after all, what is the magic military answer for the ISIS problem? For Israel/Palestinian conflict? You'd think after centuries of war, that the "war solution" would have worked by now, right?

Now, I won't be glib enough to say I have a simple answer for what will work in those situations. What I will do, though, is point to what HAS worked elsewhere.

For instance, in Nicaragua, the contras were committed to violent overthrown, routinely killing civilians. Some 30,000 or so were killed by the contras. That was no simple little problem to wish away. But, people organized there and around the world and came up with the Witness for Peace solution of sending in peaceful witnesses to the villages that were being attacked by the contra terrorists. That and other peacemaking/nonviolent efforts eventually led to a cessation of the contra violence.

Was it a perfect solution? No, but neither is war, is it?

Did it work? Yes.

Why did it work? That is the purpose of research like what is cited in this post. It works when you get enough people committed to the cause, prepared to do the work needed to stop it, to research the pressure points where correctly applied pressure will force the violence to an end.

The solutions are going to be different from place to place and as the article suggests, any solutions have to be tailored to the specifics of a given situation.

As the article says...

diverse, nonviolent campaigns that include women, professionals, religious figures, and civil servants -- as opposed to violent ones comprised of mostly young, able-bodied men trained to become militants -- reduce the risk of violent crackdowns, since security forces are often reluctant to use violence against crowds that might include their neighbors or relatives.

Getting many people involved will reduce the likelihood of military oppression for the simple reason that soldiers are human and they don't want to shoot into a crowd that might include their family and friends any more than any rational person. So, having widespread support makes a key difference.

Do you have any simple military-based answers to the places/situations you cited?

Do you agree that the problem with meeting violence with violence is that it coalesces support for the initial oppressor? If Palestinian people are shocked and opposed to Hamas using violence against civilians as a solution, Hamas' support amongst their own people withers... UNTIL Israel responds with even more deaths/killings in response to Hamas' actions. Then the support shifts back to Hamas.

Violence is a self-defeating solution, I think this is a very intuitive, rational conclusion.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

Plus, one would have thought all street gang activity would have been eliminated by now using those tactics so many leftists in this country would advocate. Yet, drive-by shootings continue.

Pacifists are a minority. Those who believe in violence-as-solution have been making the rules. You'll have to take it up with them, as it seems what they're doing isn't working, eh?

Marshall Art said...

You once again purposely mischaracterize the position I'm taking. I don't advocate anything an honest person would describe as "violence-as-solution" simply because violence is on the table. That's idiotic and idiocy is what keeps the conflicts going. The threat of loss puts an end to it...the loss of power, the loss of property and/or the loss of life.

You also again overstate the actions of the Contra rebels while ignoring the civilian murders by Sandinistas.

I've no doubt you overstate the impact of Witness for Peace in any legitimate effort to end the conflict there.

Damn. Gotta go.

Dan Trabue said...

Reagan was convicted of War Crimes (indeed, his administration COMMITTED war crimes, to an objective viewer of the history there) and you're citing something from the perpetrator of the crimes as "evidence" that the Contras weren't all that bad?

Do you also accept testimony from Sauron that the Hobbits were at fault for the violence in the LOTR?

Get serious.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

You once again purposely mischaracterize the position I'm taking. I don't advocate anything an honest person would describe as "violence-as-solution" simply because violence is on the table.

You believe violence against people IS a solution or at least part of the solution, according to your own words ("violence is on the table"). Therefore, by your own testimony, you believe resorting to deadly violence - even if it involves widespread killing of innocent people (like in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki!) - is an acceptable solution. Where have I misrepresented you?

If I had said, "The ONLY solution that Marshall believes in is deadly violence..." THEN I would have misrepresented you. Instead, I merely point out that you believe that deadly violence is an acceptable solution, as you will confirm yourself.

If you have misread my comment to mean that I think you ONLY believe in violence, well, I'm sorry you have misread me. I would have thought that, given the reality that you and I are having a non-violent discussion on matters, that it would be obvious to all that I recognize your ability to disagree at times without violence. But now, your misunderstanding has been clarified.

You're welcome.

Marshall Art said...

"You believe violence against people IS a solution or at least part of the solution, according to your own words ("violence is on the table")"

It's your labeling that is most egregiously dishonest. I favor the proper solution dictated by the circumstances, which sometimes might include peaceful negotiations and others total annihilation. This is the only true expression of thoughtfulness on the issue of settling disputes. Without the willingness to do either, one isn't serious about getting anything done.

So, if you do NOT believe that I favor only violence with no other possibility being a feasible alternative, then you shouldn't consistently and exclusively characterize my position with such a label so consistently and exclusively.

I'd say I've clarified your misunderstanding, but I'm not confident you didn't know what you were doing.

You're welcome.

Marshall Art said...

Also, Israel has had numerous UN resolutions tendered against their position regarding the Palestinians. Considering the nations that voted in favor of them, they are worthless and beneath regard. Such is the case with Reagan's "conviction of war crimes". I've no doubt his version was far better informed than is yours. I was trying to gather statements from a woman who was a former member of the Sandinista regime, but it required a subscription I don't feel like purchasing, only to find that you would also crap on her in the manner you do Reagan. You've also never responded to an earlier reference to Sandinista brutality against peasant mountain indians in Nicaragua, that included mass killings. Yours is a one sided and biased, not to mention communism apologist position. What's more, your peace group didn't lead to the end of hostilities there like you think it did.

Dan Trabue said...

Keep the faith, brother, no matter what the evidence, eh?

I'd say it's better to go where the evidence leads, even if it contradicts your human opinions and biases.

Dan Trabue said...

Marshall...

if you do NOT believe that I favor only violence with no other possibility being a feasible alternative, then you shouldn't consistently and exclusively characterize my position with such a label so consistently and exclusively.

That you have mistakenly read into something an idea that I did not say is on you, not on me. I've been quite clear, consistently, on what I mean.

Craig said...

Dan,

I've been unavailable for a while but wanted to check back in on this thread.

First, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond, I also wanted to respond to your response.

Let me say that i wasn't looking for a magic wand approach or for a 10 second answer, I was hoping for something a little more detailed and specific than that. It seems obvious that if there was a quick and easy answer someone would have suggested it by now. You've made a pretty significant claim, backed by research you haven't actually read, and I was hoping for some sort of concrete action plan. What you chose to do instead was to use the Sandinista revolution as an example.

However I'm not so sure that you made a wise choice. Consider the following.

"In the 1970s the FSLN began a campaign of kidnappings which led to national recognition of the group in the Nicaraguan media and solidification of the group as a force in opposition to the Somoza Regime"

"On 22 August 1978 the FSLN staged a massive kidnapping operation in which they took around 2,000 hostages at the National Palace in Managua. After two days, the government agreed to pay $500,000 and release certain prisoners resulting in a major victory for the FSLN"

"In August, the Terceristas staged a spectacular hostage-taking. Twenty-three Tercerista commandos led by Edén Pastora seized the entire Nicaraguan congress and took nearly 1,000 hostages, including Somoza's nephew José Somoza Abrego and cousin Luis Pallais Debayle. Somoza gave in to their demands and paid a $500,000 ransom, released 59 political prisoners (including GPP chief Tomás Borge), broadcast a communiqué with FSLN's call for general insurrection and gave the guerrillas safe passage to Panama.[33]

A few days later six Nicaraguan cities rose in revolt. Armed youths took over the highland city of Matagalpa. Tercerista cadres attacked Guard posts in Managua, Masaya, León, Chinandega and Estelí. Large numbers of semi-armed civilians joined the revolt and put the Guard garrisons of the latter four cities under siege. The September Insurrection of 1978 was subdued at the cost of several thousand, mostly civilian, casualties.[34] Members of all three factions fought in these uprisings, which began to blur the divisions and prepare the way for unified action."

It seems strange to me that an you would suggest that kidnapping and violent insurrection are the tactics of peace loving folk.

So, perhaps you could take some time, and come up with a thoughtful substantive scenario as to how you would organize the nonviolent resistance and neutralization of any of the previous scenarios.

Also, I believe that I was quite clear that I could see how this could work in a situation where the populace of a country rose up against a repressive government, but was unsure how it would work against an external threat. So, for some reason you used an example of the exact scenario I agreed could work.

So, if you would please take the time and take a shot at what I asked I would appreciate it. I am open to something different, I just don't see a way to make it work and am hoping you can suggest something.

Craig said...

"Well, if waving a magic wand and giving 10 second answers would work, we'd have all the problems solved, wouldn't we?"

I think this is rhetorical, but am not taking any chances. My answer is, of course if it was easy we'd have an answer, but it's not easy. You've offered research to support your contention that peaceful means are always the most appropriate, and I'd like to see how that would work. preferably with specifics and details please.

"I mean, after all, what is the magic military answer for the ISIS problem?"

I don't believe that anyone has suggested a "magic military answer" for the ISIS problem exists. However, I would suggest that using any means available to stop the beheadings and enslaving of their victims, could be a defensible position? I haven't seen any of the US clergy who are complaining about using force to protect the innocent, actually standing on the ground between ISIS and the latest journalist that want to behead. I'd love to see that peace making solution, in some detail as to how to stop ISIS. If you'd like more of an answer, perhaps dialing back on the snark might help.

"For Israel/Palestinian conflict? You'd think after centuries of war, that the "war solution" would have worked by now, right?"

Yes, you'd think that the Muslims would have realized that continuing to engage in unprovoked attacks and terrorist tactics against Israel has not been successful, and might be worth reconsidering. But for some reason, that message hasn't gotten though yet. As for Israel, I'd suggest that any remotely democratic government has a responsibility to protect it's citizens from harm, and that to do otherwise is irresponsible.

"Do you have any simple military-based answers to the places/situations you cited?"

First, I didn't ask for "simple" answers, I asked for realistic workable answers.

Second, it's hard to give an answer without establishing the goal. If the goal is to stop ISIS (for example) from continuing it's reign of terror, then it might be necessary to commit to a strategy which will result in eliminating enough ISIS fighters to render them incapable of continuing. If the goal is to simply stop the massacres, beheadings and slavery, while still allowing ISIS to achieve their territorial goals, then it would seem reasonable to set up defensive perimeters around the various groups you wish to protect until they can be evacuated to a safe location.

Anyway, if you'd clarify your questions I'll try to do a better job of answering them. I'm sure you'll try to take another shot at my original request. No hurry, I'd rather see you be detailed and specific, than hasty.

Thanks.

Dan Trabue said...

In your criticism of the Sandinistas (indeed, who were not perfect models), you've chosen to cherry pick a time when they were out of power and the tyrannical Somoza regime was in power...

"The National Guard had always been remarkably brutal and sadistic. By June 1979, it was carrying out massive atrocities in the war against the Sandinistas, bombing residential neighbourhoods in Managua, killing tens of thousands of people."

So, if you want to criticize the Sandinistas who took hundreds of people hostage while Somoza was killing tens of thousands, perhaps it is you who is not picking such a great model.

As to what I was speaking of, I was speaking of the Contra war of terrorism against the Sandinistan gov't that overthrew the despotic Somoza regime, 1979 - early 1990s.

During that time, while the terrorist Contras waged guerrilla war on the citizenry of Nicaragua, the world fought back with Witness for Peace NVDA responses, which did a great deal to end the terrorism of the Contras.

Are you trying to defend the Contras and the Somozas? Or are you merely saying that the Sandinistas were not perfectly peaceful? If the latter, no, of course they weren't. Never said otherwise.

In this world, it is difficult to pull together people willing to work peacefully for peace. But you can't blame peacemakers for that, can you?

As to not having read this particular book, Craig, I have read plenty of other research along these lines. This is just the latest. Due to all my research, not just this latest bit, I am convinced of the moral and practical efficacy of NVDA, when done well. And, regardless, being a follower of Jesus, I am convinced to follow his witness, even if it does not end well, because I am a follower of Jesus. I just happen to think that his ways not only are righteous, but that they work, at least as well as deadly violence.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

However, I would suggest that using any means available to stop the beheadings and enslaving of their victims, could be a defensible position?

Is that a question? If so, I'd say Hell no. The ends justify the means has great potential for being an immoral and amoral approach to problem-solving.

"We could stop the ISIS if we just started raping their children, then setting them on fire as a message to them..."

Would you endorse that IF it worked perfectly well? Or would you agree with me that "any means" are not worthwhile if they are immoral means?

Craig said...

"Are you trying to defend the Contras and the Somozas?"

No

"Or are you merely saying that the Sandinistas were not perfectly peaceful?"

No, just that using a group that chose kidnapping and violence as your example of peaceful change was probably not a good choice of examples.


"In this world, it is difficult to pull together people willing to work peacefully for peace. But you can't blame peacemakers for that, can you?"

No, and I didn't. I simply asked if you would be willing to come up with some specific detailed responses showing how these techniques would be effective against some specific modern day situations people are facing. I'd still be quite interested in what you have to say on that.


"As to not having read this particular book, Craig, I have read plenty of other research along these lines."

Yet, you chose to point out this research, which you have not read as confirming that "Peace Works". While not providing any other research that could be used to better evaluate your claim. I'm not suggesting that it doesn't, just that proclaiming "Peace Works' while citing one example of research which you have not read may not be wise.

"This is just the latest. Due to all my research, not just this
latest bit, I am convinced of the moral and practical efficacy of NVDA, when done well."

Which is why I'd requested that you apply the results of this extensive research to one of several current situations so that we could see some specific practical examples of how it might work.

'And, regardless, being a follower of Jesus, I am convinced to follow his witness, even if it does not end well, because I am a follower of Jesus. I just happen to think that his ways not only are righteous, but that they work, at least as well as deadly violence."

It seems as though you might be suggesting that anyone who does not agree with you on this particular behavior is not a follower of Jesus, or that there could not possibly be any room for any other reading of scripture. I certainly hope that my impression is incorrect in this.

Craig said...


Is that a question?

Sorry, not really.

I would also suggest that "any means available" (in addition to being a take of on a popular leftist slogan) is hyperbole.

I'm suggesting that using violence against a person or group, who are engaging in behavior that can only be called evil, to prevent that person or group from perpetrating said evil on innocents has historically been justifiable.

What you appear to be saying is that you are willing to allow the raping, beheading and enslaving to continue while patiently waiting for someone to step up and engage in some sort on nonviolent response. I can only hope that this is not true.

Craig said...

"Would you endorse that IF it worked perfectly well?"

No. The conundrum you seem to be suggesting is that it is NOT okay to harm (but not kill, maim, or permanently physically damage)the children of ISIS members, in order to prevent ISIS members from raping, beheading, and enslaving innocent people. It seems as though you are willing to accept some level of harm to innocents, in order to prevent harm to other innocents.

"Or would you agree with me that "any means" are not worthwhile if they are immoral means?"

ii believe I answered that already.

Again, the question remains. Are you willing to allow one evil, by not allowing means you consider to be immoral to be used?



In all fairness, what I'd really appreciate is for you to take another shot at my original request, instead of going off on a tangent. If you'd rather do it elsewhere fine, I seriously want to try to understand the mechanics of how this process could work.

Craig said...

Dan,

I'm not trying to put any undue pressure on you, but it's been about a week since you've commented. I'm still hoping that you will be able to find time to take a shot at my original proposal. I'd genuinely like to see what you would propose. I know life can get busy, and this kind of thing is not always a priority, but when you have time it would be great.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

It seems as though you are willing to accept some level of harm to innocents, in order to prevent harm to other innocents.

I am not willing to rape or kill any children in order to stop someone else from killing children.

Are you saying you are prepared to rape and kill children to stop the same?

I'll get to your other questions as I have time.

Craig said...

Thanks. Your above answer doesn't really address the question that was asked. If you could please take another shot at the question asked, instead of simply playing the raping card, it would be great.

I know you'll get to this when you have time so no rush.

Dan Trabue said...

No, but it DOES address a rather silly-sounding comment you made, as if in an attempt to smear me for believing something hopefully you agree with.

Or DO you think it is acceptable to rape and kill "the enemy's" children in order to save some of "our children" from the same?

Dan Trabue said...

If you're not going to stand by stupid comments in attempt to slander (and truly, saying that someone is , perhaps you should not make them.

Here's one question you asked that I addressed with my response above:

Are you willing to allow one evil, by not allowing means you consider to be immoral to be used?

I am not willing to engage in evil acts in order to stop evil. Which is what I said above. A DIRECT answer to this question.

Are you failing to understand my point?

To restate yet again: I am NOT saying that I am "wiling to allow an evil..."

DO you understand that? I. AM. NOT. WILLING. TO. ALLOW. AN. EVIL.

Now, do you understand?

Having said that, not only am I not willing to allow an evil to stand un-addressed, I am ALSO NOT WILLING TO ENGAGE in evil to stop that evil.

Are you actually disagreeing with me on the principle? That is, are you willing to engage in evil (raping, killing babies) to "stop" evil (which is an incredibly stupid place to stake a stand... as if you could stop evil by engaging in evil...!)?

Craig said...

Dan

If you re read the comment to which you originally responded I believe you would understand my confusion.

You seem to be willing to allow harm to innocent people in order to prevent harm to other people. The question raised by that stand is how much harm to innocent people you are willing to accept.

No one is talking about raping babies or any other extreme and unrealistic hypothetical.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that evil should be used to stop evil. I am suggesting that sometimes force (possibly lethal) is the most expeditious way to stop someone committing an evil act.

For example. If I were to encounter someone in the act of raping a puppy (or any other evil act), I would act in a manner that would stop the evil act and spare the innocent victim any further harm. If lethal force is the best answer then it is.

So now perhaps you could calm down and take another shot at the comment in question.

At the risk of going further away from my earlier request for specific actions you would take , or maybe it fits.

You say you are not willing to allow evil, ok, how does your nonviolent approach stop evil ? How quickly would it work? How much harm are you willing to accept while you nonviolently stop evil?

I'm really trying to understand and clarify, it's difficult when there seems to be a communication problem.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

You seem to be willing to allow harm to innocent people in order to prevent harm to other people. The question raised by that stand is how much harm to innocent people you are willing to accept.

My answer remains the same: I. AM. NOT. WILLING. TO. ACCEPT. ANY. HARM. TO. INNOCENT. PEOPLE.

Do you understand my answer?

Would you like me to put it in Yoda-like words, would that help?

Willing to accept harm to innocents, I am NOT.

Any clearer?

And to be clear: Are there acts that you are unwilling to do in your efforts to stop harm to innocents? What are they?

Do they include rape of children? You are not willing to rape children to stop harm to innocents? Good, I hope so.

How about killing children? Are you NOT willing to kill children to stop harm to innocents? If so: Good, I would hope so.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

1. You say you are not willing to allow evil, ok, how does your nonviolent approach stop evil ?

1. I've cited some examples. The article cites some. If you want more, read the book or read up more on your own.

The principle is that you apply pressure to those making decisions in whatever moral, non-violent manner you can. This can be done by doing as the Civil Rights movement did here in the US, by confronting the ugly violence of the racists with non-violent direct resistance, refusing to back down even in the face of bulldogs, fire hoses, threats, rubber bullets, etc. As the nation began to see the depths of depravity in the racist elements - attacking those who were nonviolently resisting them, the nation was forced to realize and say, "NO. This is wrong."

There is something very powerful about non-violent resistance to oppression, IF it is brought out into the light. That is the goal (one goal) of NVDA Theories. As the Bible says, "Overcome evil with good... It will be like pouring hot coals over their heads... a soft answer turns away wrath..."

2. How quickly would it work?

Just as with violent responses, it all depends. Never fast enough, just as is true with violent response.

3. How much harm are you willing to accept while you nonviolently stop evil?

How much harm are you willing to not only accept, but also inflict why violently stopping violence? The question is offensive and ridiculous. NO ONE "accepts" one bit of harm. NOT ONE BIT. Just to repeat what's been repeated multiple times.

But just because we don't accept one bit of harm does not mean that harm does not happen. Just as with those who'd advocate violent response.

How much violence did the violent-solution supporters of the world tolerate in Rwanda before stepping in to try to do anything?

The reality is that there are no easy answers, but we can begin by accepting some principles - principles that we all should be able to endorse.

1. We will not deliberately choose to cause harm to innocents in our efforts to stop harm to innocents.

2. We will act as promptly and strongly as possible to stop oppression and violence, especially to innocents, without violating principle 1.

3. We will strive to find workable answers that don't just stop the violence now (but which might produce more later - see Iraq, et al), but which is conducive to long-term peace efforts.

For starters.

Craig said...

I'm not sure what to make of your response. I've requested that you provide come specific actions that you would take in confronting some specific current crises. Your response was to cite a past situation that was not analogous to the crises i mentioned, and that included violence.

I again requested, that you address some current situations in a specific manner so that I might gain some understanding of how YOU would deal with those situations in accordance with your principles. Then we got sidetracked onto a related, but not directly related topic of using evil to stop evil(specifically raping children). Since I never suggested using evil to stop evil, nor did I suggest that rape of any sort was an acceptable means to stop evil, I am at a bit of a loss as to why we've gone down this digression.

You seem to be saying that ANY attempt to halt violence or evil that uses any means other than nonviolent tactics is evil. While, you are free to hold this opinion, you seem to be asserting this as a fact.

Are you actual suggesting that any method of arresting violence/evil that is not nonviolent is evil?

Craig said...

Dan,
If you'd prefer not to respond to my request for specifics methods you'd use to deal with any of the current situations, just say so. As I've said, I'm curious and would appreciate the insight regarding what you would do. If you don't have time or would rather not, that's fine.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

I've requested that you provide come specific actions that you would take in confronting some specific current crises.

I've stated that it is all specific to a specific location and situation. It makes sense to me to look to what has worked as an example rather than speculating about what might work in a situation where I am not informed as to the specifics.

Craig...

I am at a bit of a loss as to why we've gone down this digression.

I'm establishing the principle: We ought not engage in evil to stop evil.


You appear to agree with this principle, am I correct?

You gladly speculate that you wouldn't rape children to stop evil. Good. Can you also agree that you would not set targets that might reasonably result in killing innocent children?

If we're agreeing on the principle, I'm then moving on to establish where we each might diverge on the specifics.

I am not willing to rape or kill children, nor am I willing to target places that might kill children nor other innocent bystanders, nor am I willing to engage in torture.

You?

To the point of this post, beyond thinking such behaviors are morally unacceptable, I just don't think they are affective. I think what is happening in Iraq right now AFTER going down the war-as-solution route shows the exact problems you have with violent solutions - it gives support to groups like ISIS that otherwise would not enjoy support.

Craig said...

"I've stated that it is all specific to a specific location and situation."

"It makes sense to me to look to what has worked as an example rather than speculating about what might work in a situation where I am not informed as to the specifics."

Which seems to be a way of saying that you'd rather not respond to the request I made. I said at the time that it was up to you and that you should take as much time as you needed if you chose to respond.

All you had to do was to say you'd rather not respond. Instead, you used an example of a group that used violent tactics as an example of effective nonviolent change.

You have been very clear that you would not use evil to stop evil. I have agreed and still do. Yet, somehow you've chosen not to define evil or to establish a line between evil means and non evil means.

Honestly, while having you make an objective case for where the line between evil means and non evil means might be interesting, it really doesn't get anyone anywhere.

So, if you'd prefer not to provide some specifics on what you would do in a current real life situation, just say so. It's really OK. I tried to ask politely and without making this an obligation on your part. Don't worry about it.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig, the Reagan/conservative backed terrorists were stopped largely because of non-violent direct action. The violence of the Sandinistas was more prior to the Contra terrorism attacks in their opposition to the conservative-backed Somoza-thug regime.

If you are interested in other examples, look them up.

Craig...

Yet, somehow you've chosen not to define evil or to establish a line between evil means and non evil means.

? I've offered several specific examples of where I draw lines/actions I think of as immoral. YOU are choosing so far to not answer my questions to make it clear, but you can do so now:

* Won't rape to stop harm to innocents? Check!

* Won't target areas with innocent children? You tell me.

* Won't target areas with innocent people? You tell me.

* Refuse to torture? You tell me.

I'm offering specifics. You?

Craig said...

Dan,

I realize you can compartmentalize the actions of the Contras to make your case. The fact, remains that they used kidnapping and murder to further their ends.

I know, you've provided some extreme examples. You've repeated them multiple times.

I was hoping for something a little more realistic or perhaps some sort of line which separates evil means from non evil means.

As with my previous request, it is quite sufficient for you to simply say that you'd prefer not to answer. I'd much rather you did that, than simply repeat your self.

Dan Trabue said...

So, if you're not going to answer the questions, you could just say so instead of just ignoring them.

You won't clarify which atrocities you're willing to say are a line you would not cross?

Is rape the ONLY evil act that you'd rule out, but other atrocities you'd keep in your toolbox? That's what your silence is suggesting to me.

Craig said...

Let me get this straight. You go radio silent for 10 DAYS and I politely ask you to respond when you have time. I don't answer your questions within 30 hours and you accuse me of ignoring and start making unwarranted conclusions.

Patience, grace, apparently not here.

If you're going to be this pissy and bitchy, you just might have to wait a bit longer for a response.

Dan Trabue said...

Take your time. And I DID answer your question with real examples, rather than made up guesses, which seems best to me. And I DID explain why I was answering that way rather than making up a pretend answer, because it seems best to me.

That I offered you a real world example instead of a made up "what if?" and that, on insufficient information, is not to say that I didn't answer your question.

Craig said...

"That I offered you a real world example instead of a made up "what if?" and that, on insufficient information, is not to say that I didn't answer your question."

First, the request I made was that you provide some specific strategies that you would engage in to deal with some current real world crises. So, on the face of it, you clearly did not respond to the request I made. I requested one thing, you responded with something completely different.

Second, I specifically stated that I could see how it would be possible for nonviolent tactics to achieve change when it involved citizens of a country throwing off an oppressive regime. Further, I requested that you respond to current situations that were based on an external threat, not an internal coup. The example you used was exactly the opposite of what I has requested from you, and an example of the type of situation where I specifically said that I could see this sort of thing working.

Third, if one looks at the entire history of the Sandinista revolution, it is inescapable that murder and kidnapping were a part of their tactical repertoire. You've tried to draw some sort of arbitrary line to salvage your example, unfortunately history is not your friend on this one.

So, in reality, it would be quite accurate to suggest, that your response to my request (however sincere and well meaning) did not actually respond to the actual request I made.

So, again, all you had to do was so "No thanks, I'd rather not". You chose otherwise.

Now to your questions.

"Won't target areas with innocent children?"

I'd say that I wouldn't intentionally target areas with innocent children.

However, this get to the reason I used the examples I used when I requested how you would deal with current situations. This becomes problematic when you have a group of people who intentionally set up rocket/mortar/artillery positions in areas where they are surrounded by "innocent children". How do you choose between the innocent children killed by the rockets, or the "innocent children" surrounding the emplacement. Unfortunately, some innocent children are going to suffer and possibly die. How do you choose which ones? Or, how about the wonderful folks who kidnap innocent children, wire them up with explosives and send then into areas filled with other innocent children and detonate?

It's all fine to say that you don't want innocent children in harm's way, the problem is you can't actually come up with a scenario to keep them out.

"Won't target areas with innocent people?"

See above. Of course are the people who put Hamas (for example) in power really innocent?

More later.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

How do you choose between the innocent children killed by the rockets, or the "innocent children" surrounding the emplacement.

I am saying for myself, I would target no areas with potential innocent bystanders. Doing so violates, it seems to me, even the spirit of JWT, much less JPT.

I would not engage in evil to stop evil. Deliberately killing children, or taking actions (a la Hiroshima) where you know innocent people are is engaging in evil, to me. I would no more do that than you would rape a child and for the exact same reason.

Beyond the morality of it, I seriously question the efficacy of it. See Iraq.

Dan Trabue said...

Thank you for answering the question.

Craig said...

"Refuse to torture?"

No, I would not torture anyone.

Craig said...

"Thank you for answering the question"

I said I would and I did, despite your impatience. I'm sure, you'll be answering mine at some point as well.

It would appear that you answer to those who would hide behind innocent children in order to attack and kill other innocent children would be to essentially do nothing.

"See Iraq."

What about Iraq? Are you suggesting that Saddam and Co torturing and killing with impunity was better?

I'd suggest that you take a look at Germany, Italy and Japan.



Dan Trabue said...

With a death toll in the tens of millions, with tactics that included great evil/huge attacks targeting hundreds of thousands of civilians, I don't think your example of Germany, Italy and Japan is a great example, IF we're talking morality and efficient ways to stop oppression.

Craig said...

Ok, please explain in some detail how you would have efficiently and morally prevented WW2 using non violent means.

Another reasonable take would be that the failure of the rest of the world to act forcefully in 1938, instead of trying nonviolent "solutions" actually prolonged the war, increased the death, and made the suffering worse.

It's easy to throw out platitudes, it's slightly more difficult to provide workable, detailed strategies. I suspect that your responses so far indicate some degree of difficulty in moving from platitude to detailed strategy.

Craig said...

As always, whenever you have a spare minute to answer questions it would appreciated.

Dan Trabue said...

I'm not sure what questions you think are unanswered, but here might be some of them...

Are you willing to allow one evil, by not allowing means you consider to be immoral to be used?

I think we have agreed that neither of us will choose to engage in an evil to stop an evil. You would not rape people to stop evil, for instance. I'm saying that we hold to the same principle: We will not engage in evil to stop an evil.

Does that answer your question?

Or are you focusing on the "not allowing" part? If I were king and in a place to set policy, I would not allow people to rape children to stop evil. Presumably neither would you.

Does that answer your question?

You asked...

Are you actual suggesting that any method of arresting violence/evil that is not nonviolent is evil?

No. I'm saying that violence tends to be evil or wrong, especially when it hits innocent people. I'm saying that it is my opinion that violence tends to be counterproductive, leading to more violence, not less.

Further, I'm saying that deadly violence is contrary to Jesus' teachings to those who want to follow in his steps, according to his words found in the Bible.

Does that answer that question?

Craig...

What about Iraq? Are you suggesting that Saddam and Co torturing and killing with impunity was better?

I'm saying that "let's stop the bad guys" is not as easy as simply going in and killing a leader we think is bad, especially in the manner of the unprovoked invasion of a nation. I'm saying the solution is not significantly better sort of evil/wrong/problems that we had with Saddam in charge. I'm also saying that perhaps if we hadn't propped up Saddam in the first place, it might not have been so hard to support people-led regime change in the first place.

As this article in this post speak of: Non-violent revolution is the ideal way to go, if we want to see regime change.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

please explain in some detail how you would have efficiently and morally prevented WW2 using non violent means.

IF we handled the Versailles Treaty in a better manner, if we supported other options, if, if, if...

We don't know what might have been. We don't really know what would happen in any instance with Just Peacemaking practices, since we've never had JPT-led nations.

My point is that I will not engage in evil or immoral or unwise practices in my efforts to stop evil. I WOULD/DO engage in ethical, moral and just practices to stop evil.

Just as you would do. We draw the line in different places, perhaps, but we both agree on the principle that we won't engage in evil to stop evil.

I fully support electing leaders of a more JPT-bent and starting spending some billions in Peacemaking, in lieu of warmaking solutions, and investing some portion of the energy we spend on war-as-solution and giving peacemakers a chance to prove just, moral and peaceful options do, in fact, work. In the meantime, we mostly have had warmaking options employed by nations.

At the least, let us begin by investing in Peacemaking solutions, spending some portion of our military budget in other options, even if we keep the warmaking options. Why would we not?

Craig said...

Thanks.

It would appear that despite your insistence that these nonviolent solutions are more efficient, you can't or won't provide any sort of proposed detailed solutions to real world situations. It seems like if your methods were really superior, that you would be willing/able to lay out some detailed strategies that would be able to be considered. It's hard to evaluate nothing more than "the treaty of Versailles was bad", to see if there is merit.

Thanks anyway.

Dan Trabue said...

Well, again, perhaps if we start supporting JPT type candidates and projects, we could have more data to work with. In the meantime, it would seem like if you're interested in the possibilities of non-violent solutions instead of war, you'd look at it seriously. These people have documented some serious data, look at it if you're interested in peaceful solutions. If you're not, don't.


And again, it would seem that we agree on the principle: I won't do evil to stop evil, so at least one would hope you'd support that principle, instead of appearing to give people grief about heeding to the same principle you hold for yourself.

Craig said...

Again, thanks. I'm not sure what you gain by repeating yourself, but it's obviously positive for you. As I said much earlier I will try to find the book referenced above and see what they say.

I'm sorry you've had such a hard time understanding my request, but it's clear that you'd rather not provide any insight as to what you would propose. As I've said, that's fine if you don't.

I am curious what candidates that are running on a JPT platform, maybe you could share some names.

Craig said...

"I won't do evil to stop evil, so at least one would hope you'd support that principle,..."

I do support the principle, I was hoping for a more fully orbed definition of what tactics you would consider evil, but didn't get one so I guess agreeing on the principle is as good as it's going to get.

"...instead of appearing to give people grief about heeding to the same principle you hold for yourself."

In this thread, I have never given you grief for holding the position you hold. I've respectfully requested that you provide some insight into your thought process. You aren't comfortable with that, and that's OK. But, no grief given this time.

Dan Trabue said...

Craig...

I was hoping for a more fully orbed definition of what tactics you would consider evil, but didn't get one so I guess agreeing on the principle is as good as it's going to get.

I thought I've been abundantly clear, is it possible you still don't know pretty specifically what I consider wrong?

1. Any action that deliberately targets civilians, innocent bystanders, children.

2. Any action that deliberately targets areas where innocent bystanders might reasonably be.

3. Torture. It is inhumane and, as such, should not be used in a civilized nation or by good people.

These are, to me, beyond the pale and not something a military should be doing.

Beyond what I think a military should or should not be doing, I don't think followers of Christ should participate in the killing of their enemies, even soldiers. This is just contrary to Christian teaching and practice in the early church and in my anabaptist tradition (which harkens back to the early church).

Did you really not know those specifics about what I think on killing innocent people, even in wartime?

Is that not "fully-orbed" enough for you? Do you want me to specify WHICH innocent bystanders I think it is wrong to kill? Or is "innocent bystanders" clear enough?

Craig said...

Thanks for the additional detail it's helpful.

I'm a little surprised you're getting so bitchy about your strongly held beliefs.

We're I you, this is the point where I would belligerently ask that you prove that your list of behaviors is somehow the official list that everyone must agree to or something similar.

Instead I'll just say thanks, I wish you had gone into more detail elsewhere in this thread, but I appreciate you doing so here.

Marshall Art said...

Just in stopping by to see progress, I see these and must comment:

"1. Any action that deliberately targets civilians, innocent bystanders, children."

I don't know that we can find any support for the notion that, at least our country, as deliberately targeted civilians, innocent bystanders and/or children. We do see many cases of islamic attacks of this nature. But to put this out as a principle that we as a nation need to keep in mind is really silly, given that it has never been a policy.

"2. Any action that deliberately targets areas where innocent bystanders might reasonably be."

Only surrender could possibly ensure that this never happens. Not an intelligent position to hold, and not one that is supportable by Christian teaching. This assumes that any action to stop evil from succeeding must be clean and pure, as if that is even humanly possible. It is childish fantasy that is not based in reality, even given Christian teaching.

"3. Torture. It is inhumane and, as such, should not be used in a civilized nation or by good people."

Torture for the sake of torture and vengeance is inhumane and evil. Refusing to torture to stop the suffering of innocents is worse. I'll take my chances with God that torturing one in possession of intel that would prevent the suffering of innocents is a decided good and not an evil act at all.

"I don't think followers of Christ should participate in the killing of their enemies, even soldiers."

I don't think followers of Christ should stand by while innocent civilians are being slaughtered or made to suffer at the hands of an evil enemy, even if it means annihilating that enemy. There is no Christian teaching that you could provide, or ever have provided, that would demand or even suggest such prohibition.

Craig said...

Y'know as I was lust listening to the news a thought hit me. It seems like Dan was pretty vociferous in his denunciation of the Bush administration and the wars we were involved in at that point. It just made me wonder, where are the blog posts denouncing P-BO as a warmonger, or war criminal? Why did P-BO get a pass on his campaign promise to close Gitmo? Where are the peace protests? I could be wrong, but it seems a bit inconsistent to me.

Dan Trabue said...

Fair question, but one with an easy answer...

I have, for the most part, quit talking about politics on my blog, focusing on ideas, poetry, art, creation and, occasionally, responding to some specific questions or comments from other bloggers.

So, you can see that when I said last year some and at the beginning of the year this year that I was tired of the whole political debate model and was moving away from it, that I have in fact done this.

I have not discussed ANY politicians this year, not that I saw in a quick glance. Probably didn't talk about any much of last year, either, although I didn't look.

So, by and large, I've tired of talking politics in this space.

Does that mean I approve of Obama's various warring actions? Hell, no. I clearly think he is clearly wrong to continue Bush's wars, Bush's Gitmo policies and Bush's war approach to the problems of terrorism, I think it is counter productive and frankly, immoral.

But what is the option? Vote for an even MORE hawkish Republican? Thank you, no. Obama has, in my estimation, been a vast improvement from the previous administrations, but has he been progressive in a way that I'd like to see? No, not so much.

So, no hypocrisy here, I've just tired of using this space for that purpose.

How about you? Do you oppose this latest action of Obama's, of using war solutions to fight terrorist criminals?

Marshall Art said...

I don't oppose the notion of fighting this evil directly. I oppose Obama's pretense that he is taking action without taking the action necessary to properly deal with the reality.

I also oppose the use of the term "Bush's war" as if he started it. He didn't. He joined the fight against evil people that the evil people began. Try a little honesty please.

I also oppose the laughable and incredibly insipid and unsupportable proposition that Obama's been an improvement in any way over the previous administration. And that's considering that Bush was not perfect.

Craig said...

IMO I think P-BO's half assed approach is simply one more in a series of political maneuvers designed to make him look good until after the elections in November.

In theory I have no problem hunting down these guys by whatever appropriate means available.

Unfortunately this strategy is virtually guaranteed to be unsuccessful.

Of course, when it fails, it then gives folks like you ammunition to say stuff like "War never works" when the problem might just be poor strategy.

Maybe if P-BO would listen to the experts, you know people who have years of training and experience, instead of overruling them, things might be different.

Dan Trabue said...

Indeed. If Obama wants to know how best to invade a nation unprovoked, violate treaties, potentially get involved in war crimes and certainly kill innocent bystanders, he should listen to the Reagan/Bush/Bush "experts" on how to do that.

On the other hand, if he is interested in peacemaking and finding rational, moral ways of solving these sorts of crises, he should listen to peacemaking/problem-solving experts.

It all gets back to the type of experts one chooses. If one shoots for war solutions and war expertise, one will tend to get that. If one shoots for peaceful resolution and moral, just solutions, one will tend to be more likely to get that.

I say: Invest in peacemaking. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

Craig said...

I know you'd say invest in peacemaking, I just wish you'd be more forthcoming about what that means.

I will say that if your going to choose to exercise a military option without fully committing to an achievable victory then failure is almost certain and it is probably worse than doing nothing.

Just a thought, I would argue that a full blown pacifist could never actually serve as POTUS. Which kind of puts a damper on your hopes.