A recurring theme when studying international relations and diplomacy is the need for secret talks between parties in conflict. This allows concessions to be discussed without the leaders on either side losing face. So we do not hear about moves made toward peace-making, what the methods are, how many are involved, how much work gets done and how successful it may or may not be. This gives us the impression that there is no peace-making going on, merely a cessation of hostilities.
It also came up when I was researching The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The ‘politics of research’ means information on security matters is not researched, not talked about, not documented and not publicised. So we do not hear about the successes and achievements toward peace making.
I am now going through a list of case studies called ‘War Prevention Works’ published by the Oxford Research Group. They say in their book that finding out about interventions in conflict is hard because they are kept quiet.
It is no wonder the general public think peace is an impossibility, war is inevitable and that peace-making does now work. It receives no publicity for multiple reasons, whereas war is newsworthy every day. And if you don’t talk about something, it does not exist. There needs to be evidence for people to learn from and believe in. If you don’t study your history, you can’t learn from it. Keeping peace-making secret may be a short-term requirement, but it is a medium and long term hindrance.
We need to publicise methods and successes somehow, somewhere. Which takes me back to where I started in 2012: where is the manual on how to do peace as a practitioner? What are the methodologies? What is the learned journal for peace? What is the code of conduct? What is the professional body?