Peace Polls

register | login

Blog RSS logo

Peace Building Problem.

The international community are not interested in lending their support to the resolution of the conflict because they have no strategic interest in the area and/or do not believe the conflict can be resolved.

Northern Ireland Experience

There was a time, perhaps during the Second World War, when Northern Ireland was of strategic interest to the United Kingdom. Indeed Ireland as a whole was of strategic interest then and Churchill was willing to settle the Northern Ireland problem in the Republic’s favour if they were willing to enter the war in opposition to Germany. But world military and economic strategies changed with the advent of nuclear weapons and the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union. In this context Ireland, Britain and their close ally America, as well as the European Union, all wanted the Northern Ireland problem solved and all were willing to expend political capitol on a successful outcome. The people of Northern Ireland were very lucky, a lot of very influential people and powerful states cared about their situation and were willing to take the risk of getting involved in an apparently intractable conflict. But a successful settlement was the key; nobody wanted to be associated with failure. Although the results of the Northern Ireland polls were rarely reported beyond the pages of the Belfast Telegraph the detailed reports given to the parties were also given to the British and Irish governments and to the Office of the Independent Chairmen. Senator George Mitchell, the principle talks Chairman and Review facilitator, took a keen interest in the reports and frequently expressed the view in public that an agreement could be reached because that is what the people of Northern Ireland wanted.(1) In this way the polls probably helped to maintain the confidence of the good Senator in the peace process and no doubt, through him, the support of the then President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton.

Public Opinion Poll Action

Try to publish reports of the polls in the newspapers of any ally who can lend their good offices to the resolution of the conflict and send detailed reports to key decision makers in the governments of such states. Given the interest in the resolution of the Northern Ireland problem it was not necessary to send reports to other third parties but in many situations it may also be helpful to send detailed reports to both regional and global international organisations (IGOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the hope that they too might be willing to lend their support to the achievement of a successful peace process.

Israel and Palestine

The problem for Israel and Palestine is that their conflict is probably the most significant conflict in the world, both in the region and for the major super powers, particularly the United States of America. As a consequence it is researched on an industrial scale marking it out as a major source of funding for the worlds peace industry. Unfortunately this unprecedented degree of international attention has proven counter productive to the resolution of the conflict. Reports from NGOs and IGOs to charitable and state funders emphasize their success when they are most assuredly failing, and continue to do so because they are reluctant to challenge the status quo when such challenges might prejudice the renewal of their grants and research contracts. In this circumstance NGOs and IGOs are encouraging what Palestinians call Normalization at the expense of conflict resolution. The solution to this problem, Lesson 21, is to implement Lessons 1 through 20.

1 G. Mitchell, Making Peace: The inside story of the making of the Good Friday Agreement (London: William Heinemann, 1999).