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There is a great deal of evidence that problems cannot be solved militarily. According to studies, there have been more than 14,400 wars in the history of mankind, claiming the lives of some 3.5 billion people. The world is “spinning out of control” and we humans have the capacity to prevent it. Why don’t we?

We tend to see war and peace as opposites. “Peace is the absence of war” is one such definition. But to believe that we will have peace when the war in Ukraine ends may be too short-sighted. The same can be said of the war in Israel. If the end of the war does not also bring an end to the underlying conflicts, tensions will continue to exist. The end of the war only shifts the possibilities, so that there will be no real peace even after the war.

In peace, war plays no role.

The meaning of peace would be better brought out if it were not considered solely as a state defined by the absence of war. Peace is a dynamic process in which war plays no role. This approach already shifts the focus of attention somewhat.

Thinking backwards: from the expected benefit to the solution

The question of what to do when you find yourself in a conflict with others who do not even listen to you, who exclude you, belittle you or simply dismiss you, is valid and not easy to answer. Schwarz’s theory presents the strategic options of conflict behavior in the form of a pyramid: war is at the base of the pyramid, at the 2nd level, and is situated in confrontation which brings it closer to animal behavior at an early stage of evolution. In this phase rational and logical thinking is non-existent.

“The same thinking that leads to a problem cannot lead out of it”, Albert Einstein.

This is where integral mediation comes into play, because by definition, mediation is a type of logical thinking that leads out of the problem and is not directed linearly forward. The big difference is that mediation thinks backwards, from the expected benefit, towards the sustainable solution, thereby leading thoughts away from the problem. This way of thinking can help to remove all obstacles that prevent the parties to the conflict from finding the solution themselves.

Rethinking: asking the right questions to find consensus

Mediation has a special role to play in the search for balance, it can help to ask the right questions and be the mediating element in which understanding (empathy) comes to the fore. One thing is clear: if you look for it, you can find at least a basic consensus. However, we will find it at a completely different level and certainly not in the warlike solutions that are already on the table: There should be consensus that we are all only human. There should be consensus that we all live in the same world. There should be consensus that we will have nowhere to live if the world comes to an end. Perhaps we can also reach a consensus that we are part of the same global society despite all our cultural differences. A consensus that we all want peace will certainly do that too.

Creating obstacles to the warlike approach

Another important pillar towards a lasting solution will be possible when the path of cooperation is facilitated and the path of confrontation is made more difficult. From a strategic point of view, obstacles to negotiation must be removed, while at the same time obstacles to the warlike approach must be created.

It is clear that there will be no peace unless we begin to think again. If we succeed, we will not be defenseless against wars. Then we will not only be able to put an end to existing wars, but also to prevent new wars. Consequently, we must design an exit strategy from wars, but also an entry strategy for lasting peace.


Author Leonard Glab Frontera

Strategic Communications | Research in intercultural conflicts and crisis | Peace Mediator | University Lecturer

More posts by Leonard Glab Frontera

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