Winning the Peace
Repeatedly we see Wars fought and the subsequent "peace" being at best a mess, at worse, a lead into further conflict.
The simple fact is that peace requires far more money and resources after a war than the war itself. Soldiers can win a war, but they cannot win peace, they can merely hold the ring whilst a political solution is found , or wreck the peace before a political solution is found.
One of the largest reasons for failing to gain peace is the West's, and especially America's, desire to state build by creating what is our own in a foreign place. This will almost always end in failure or frustrations.
The simple fact is that winning the peace is a pragmatic trade off between what is best and what is possible.
Key to peace is enforcement of law and order, for without this there can be no freedom. But such things require the basic building blocks of power, police, politics, and democracy (but not necessarily western democracy). Wher power is uncontrolled chaos and conflict follow.
"Peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of justice."
Thus the rule of law is king in starting to win the peace. But this is only created and then maintained by addressing all aspects of the justice system, namely:
- criminal law
- economic law
Without the rule of law there can be no proper democracy, no trust in government, no fair distribution of aid and no chance of economic growth. The peace is lost without the rule of law.
It is a simple fact that corruption and organised crime are the natural by-products of war and conflict and their dark tentacles spread from the regions of conflict to other countries near and far. This means that it is in our interest to support law and order in a region recovering from War, for without a doubt, crime from that region will spread its reach into the United Kingdom.
The key as peace is created is to break away from the divisions of war and this means a totally different type of leader may be required in peace time compared to war. An obvious example of this in Britain is Winston Churchill.
What is important is that stalemates are avoided as this can lead to protracted pursuit of wartime objectives through peace rather than focusing upon post war rebuilding and growth.
If an individual state fails, as we have seen in Afghanistan, it is up to the people to decide whether they want to reform themselves or not. It is also up to aid giving countries to decide not to give if that money is not being used to improve that country. But equally it is a balance for the sins of an unstable country will end up on our shores in the form of terrorism or organised crime, let alone the refugees who are the forgotten flotsam and jetsam of conflict.
I feel the great Northumbrian Gertrude Bell summed up the challenge as she helped establish the first post-War administration in Baghdad in 1918 after WW1.
"Any administration must bring to the task ......... singular integrity and diligence, combined with a just comprehension of competing claims of different classes of the population. It must also command the confidence of the people so as to secure the co-operation of public opinion, without which so complex a tangle could never be unravelled."
This identifies the most crucial battleground in winning the peace, that of public opinion, most importantly domestic public opinion and then, in this interconnected world, international public opinion.