Document Type

Article

Comments

Stopping Wars and Making Peace: Reflections on the Ideology and Practice of Conflict Termination in Contemporary World Politics, 6 Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law 5 (1998)

Abstract

During the long period of our history in which war-the purposive application of violence through the military instrument for specific political ends-was a lawful, honorable, and even laudable international pursuit, peacemaking was a marginal and indeed incongruous international activity. War was the belligerents' concern that would end when it ended. Indeed, unsolicited peacemaking amounted to doubtfully lawful meddling. It was never assumed to be altruistic and probably never was. However pure the intentions might be, the effort could still embroil the would-be peacemaker in the war it sought to end. If there was peacemaking, it depended on the consent of the belligerents. Even then, the peacemaker waited patiently for "l'instant propice." For the most part, wars ended when one side was defeated or anticipated defeat, when both sides were exhausted, when, in seasonal and serial warfare, it was time to suspend the battles and harvest the crops, or when the war simply burned itself out. In this century, the great exercises in "peacemaking" after each of the World Wars, in fact, followed capitulation by one side. Part of the exercise was dividing the spoils among the victors. As a subject for inquiry, the techniques of stopping war and making peace were of secondary importance and theoretical interest precisely because making war was lawful and indeed honorable.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1998

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