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Resolving Asymmetric Conflicts

In a world which is getting more dangerous it is important to look at how conflicts can actually be resolved.

England has managed to avoid either a civil war or a revolution since 1688.  That is because people have accepted the constitutional settlement and that was a popular settlement.

From time to time there have been pressures for change.  Those have normally been resolved through essentially peaceful means including a referendum in Scotland and Wales.   The Northern Irish Peace process was much harder to resolve because of the violent incidents that occurred.

The reason violent incidents make conflicts harder to resolve is that they change the balance of a dispute from one which is to some extent rational to one which is driven by emotions and particularly the emotion of revenge.

Violent incidents that result in the deaths of innocent people always create more anger than incidents involving combatants.   This often creates a desire for revenge amongst the side of the dispute that has suffered from the deaths of their innocents as part of some atrocity.

In the Middle East, for example, the dispute has created a situation in which there are people on both sides of the conflict that desire revenge more than peace.  They may not wish to publicly state that, but politicians and anyone else who wishes to see peace need to recognise this.

Hence if we wish to resolve such conflicts which normally will require some compromise the top priority is to stop people killing each other and particularly prevent the deaths and maiming of non-combatants.  It may sound counter intuitive, but force may be required to achieve that.  The innocent, however, must be protected.  Unjust acts such as terrorism must be confronted.

In many ways International Humanitarian Law (the Geneva Conventions) has developed because of the recognition that this a route toward peace.

Similar issues arise in the conflict in Kashmir.  Top priority is to stop human rights abuses.  Without that happening any further resolution is very difficult.

This is why the suggestion by the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell that "bombs"  ... "brought Britain to the negotiating table" are so dangerous.  It is important that groups such as Daesh recognise that atrocities will get them no-where.

It was a major error of judgment by Jeremy Corbyn to appoint him to one of the most senior posts in the Shadow cabinet.   It leads to a valid conclusion that the approach of Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister would be to create a situation in which terrorism is appeased rather than confronted.  That will lead to more terrorism.







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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

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LORD HEWART CJ:
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