Bringing war to a dead end after its initiation challenges even nations with the largest sphere of influence and Kissinger is not an exception. He faced a good deal of challenges while sorting out strategies to send Vietnam War into dreamland. However, to amicably solve the challenges, with rejectionist critics on the strategies adopted expected, direct application of military power seemed far from the strategies deemed appropriate. Kissinger ran through all possible mechanisms at his disposal and found ‘shuttle diplomacy’ and witty negotiations as the key tools towards the realization of incredible solutions.
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Considering negotiation as the way forward to end the Vietnam War in 1973, intervening from an implied diplomatic position without an indication of the intent of application of force by the mighty nation had a more probability of success. His approach was therefore to “negotiate from a position of strength” (Scott & Furmanski, 2003, p.39). The approach, though maintained in secret, unfolded through the bombing of Cambodia in an attempt to force the US opponents to bring down their weapons and consider receding from war. On the other hand, in Paris, he organized negotiations with “Le Duc Tho-over the strong protests of south Vietnam government” (Roskin, 2009, p.102), something that made his diplomatic policy bear fruits upon the realization of the US desire to seek peace at all costs in Vietnam in 1973.
Consequently, he managed to secure Nobel peace prize in the same year. In as much as Kissinger’s strategies of solving war problem in Vietnam bore fruits, they did not escape the eyes of critics who saw his policies characterized by “excessive strategies to make things right” (Roskin, 2009, p.60) through power deployment. His shuttle diplomacy in China that further postulated his method of seeking peace where he served as the intermediary in negotiations, aimed at bringing and promoting peace. After the 1973 war, he organized diplomat cease-fires campaign between Israel and Arab states (Scott & Furmanski, 2003, p.90) for instance Egypt and Syria. However, he was the man behind the deployment of the US troops in the aid of Israel on Arabic states soils.
Lessons for the Current Peace Attempts
Borrowing from Kissinger’s strategies to end wars in 1973, the nations involved in peacekeeping missions should make a clear demarcation between strategies designed for ‘Peace keeping’ and those for ‘peace-making’. Stopford (1995, p.105) argues that, “the logic for peace keeping flows from political and military premises that are quite distinct from those of enforcement; and dynamics of the latter are incompatible with the political process that then peace process is intended to facilitate”. Confusion of the two terms endangers peacekeeping operation. Force infliction during attempts to chill wars, should find application in situations demanding self-defense rather than making an assumption of possibility of transition from one technique to another. “Problems begin when one moves from peace keeping to peace–making, from preserving an already accomplished agreement to the imposition of an agreement onto reluctant parties” (Roskin, 2009, p. 25).
Casualties encountered during the peace keeping attempts never fail to register complains. Such complaints regard unprecedented damages experienced during the exercise despite the focus on war intervention having changed from peace keeping to peace making. Diplomatic procedure entangling the bringing of warring parties face-to-face under one forum, as witnessed in the case of Kissinger’s initiation of peace negotiations between Israel and Arabic states in 1973, provides strong supporting grounds of giving diplomacy the first take in ending wars. However, challenges exists especially where the adversary nations show up in the forums only to give conditions and impediments that hinder cease fire declarations.
Roles of US in peace Process
US can involve itself in peace process through aiding in provision of conflicts resolutions mechanisms. Resolving conflicts entails curtailing or total elimination of hostilities between nations, which presumably, encourage the emergence of wars. If the US devotes itself in conflict resolution, equality backed by harmony between warring parties becomes realizable. Conflicts, in majority of the situations, are instigated by unfairness and administration of injustices associated with nationalism issues of the aggrieved party that initiates the war. Through the “enhancement of community mediations, peaceful negotiations, arbitration, community conferencing, negotiated rule making” (Stopford, 1995, p.79), the US can greatly foster both internal and international relation between nations through civilization and a fight against inflexible islaminism ideologies.
A more proactive role involves the organization and facilitation of military interventions where diplomatic approaches to settle conflicts fail. Upon the realization of peace, strategies that ensure the warring parties never fall back at war require acute address. Steps and declarations to avoid repetition of hostile actions between nations, according to philosophical propositions, are inculcated in the societies through, “youth development strategies” (Stopford, 1995, p.85). The adults therefore, make no more attempts to repeat war mistakes in the future. In addition, having found lasting peace within its borders, the US plays a plausible role in the provision of food, knowledge sharing among other resources necessary for rebuilding nations recovering from war aftermaths.
The US plays noble roles in process of peace realization as noted by Roskin (2009, p.12) that “Our conscience tells us that we should treat others the way we want to be treated, with dignity, and respect”. The employment of weapons of mass destruction can take place where wars occur between nations with high technological knowhow. Probing and regulation of manufacturing of things such weapons serve to promote international peace. Finally, the US can facilitate attempts to nationalize an internationally law making organ incorporating all nations of the world mandated to formulate and implement laws geared towards fostering global peace. Unfortunately, the Muslim and Palestine community regard most of the attempts by the US to step in war peace promotion as discriminatory and one aimed at favoring one side of warring parties on the expense of the other.
Roskin, G. (2009). IR: The New World of International Relations. London: Longman, Person Education, Inc.
Scott, M., & Furmanski, L. (2003). 21st Debated Issues in World Politics. New Jersey, NJ: Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Inc.
Stopford, R. (1995). Peace Keeping or Peace Enforcement. Stark Choices for Grey Areas, 49(4), pp. 79-112.