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War and Peace Research Paper

The concepts of war and peace have dominated the theological, political, and philosophical scenes since the ancient times. Historical accounts depict that war was a common phenomenon, which tagged along with the pursuit of peace. War is synonymous with suffering, violence, and mistreatment of some factions of the population through the conflicting systems of the adverse sides. Peace is associated with harmony, prosperity, freedom, and all other positive attributes likely to orchestrate personal advancement. The intertwining of the war and peace debate within the confines of theological, political, and philosophical settings has contributed to the complexity of the subject, making it difficult to effectively address the pursuit of peace and reconciliation.

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An insightful interrogation of the historical wars and incidents of violence such as the Balkan wars and the World wars reveals the complex nature of the concept of war and peace, as well as the practical challenges encountered in working towards reconciliation, whether theologically, politically, or philosophically. The differences in the conception of what brings about bring about war and what should be deployed to orchestrate peace are the main challenge surrounding the topic. The attainment of peace requires a strong belief in divine vengeance, which might not be readily acceptable or practical in the theological, political, and philosophical circles, making the pursuit of peace a convoluted issue.

During wars, the existing social, political, and economic establishments are put into a disarray, leading to a state of misery for the people. The attainment of peace requires the restoration of such systems to their desired state, having addressed the burning issue that led to the emergence of the conflict resulting in the war. The pursuit of peace is a challenging matter, which requires the massive deployment of compromising tactics to strike a balance between the opposing views of the divided society. The challenges of pursuing peace and avoiding war can be presented as a dilemma in various ways. For instance, theology and religious undertones favor avoidance as the main response towards addressing the issue. However, the applicability of avoidance is questionable. It is almost impossible to convince someone to avoid reacting to a situation which led to the destruction of his property, deaths of beloved ones, as well as the depiction of outright advancement of aggression. Theologically, the key argument posits that people should not retaliate because God is non-coercive and loving. Holding on to such a notion is highly detrimental and unlikely to yield the attainment of peace, considering the aggravating circumstances of war. The notion of divine vengeance by God must be so apparent such that people are undoubtedly convinced that God will fight for them in return. Without such a belief or assurance, the attainment of peace during the war will be a mirage within the purview of theological positions.

Philosophical positions also demonstrate the challenges associated with the pursuit of peace, which have made it difficult to reconcile during instances of war. Nietzsche gives a clear account of the philosophical challenge that demonstrates the challenges associated with the attainment of peace and reconciliation. Nietzsche expresses his dissatisfaction with the English psychologists in their attempts to explain the origin of morality (Schacht 23). The association of morality with the idea of what constitutes ‘good/bad’ is misplaced and unlikely to achieve any meaningful results. Nietzsche points out that the consideration of historical events is instrumental in understanding the entire debate. For instance, people benefiting from the selfish actions of their leaders may applaud such actions as good, simply because they are beneficial or useful to them. Therefore, the conception of good does not necessarily demonstrate morality in itself (Schacht 54). From such a perspective, the pursuit of reconciliation and peace might be derailed because of the misconceived idea that what is good is likely to yield peace. Nietzsche calls upon the reconsideration of morality from a historical and theological perspective to effectively demystify the idea of peace and reconciliation.

From a political perspective, the pursuit of peace and reconciliation in the face of war is inherently the most complex concept. The exercise of political power is an emotive issue, which drags in the ideas of state and political sovereignty. Each state seeks to preserve its sovereignty and a sense of nationhood without the interference of others. During the state of war, each entity strives to a win situation. Making of concession to try to solve the situation is largely considered to as an acceptance of defeat. The situation leads to spirited fights up to the point in which a party considers to surrender.

Surrendering does not necessarily bring about peace but rather demonstrates the acceptance of defeat after being overpowered, an implication that the loser remains practically under the winner. With such a conflicting mentality, it would be difficult to attain peace. Nations act in suspicion of the others, especially in the evaluation of their military capacity and their ability to sustain a meaningful war. In the context of the Balkan wars, the incomplete emergence of nation-states from the Ottoman Empire (a European territory) was a major cause of the heated conflict (Hall 127). Accordingly, such states disrupted the power balance alongside threatening the existence of initial states. Therefore, any independent actions by political actors are likely to affect other states even without a clear recourse, making it difficult to maintain peace.

People live in a diverse society, characterized by people of different ages, sex, gender, political affiliations, ideological positions, as well as religious inclination and ethnicities. It is inherently impossible to deal with the issue of diversity and differences in the society, bringing up the question of the best approach to attain peace. In the face of such differences, conflicts are apparent, same as the possibility of a war. For instance, it is impossible to eliminate the racial and ethnic identity of an individual, as well as quite difficult to change the religious affiliation of an individual. Acknowledging the inability to inability to reconcile the differing facets of differences, societies posit that the differences are the main causes of conflicts and woes in the society. Such a belief has led to the practice of “ethnic cleansing” to address conflicts and bring about peaceful coexistence. However, it remains deeply contestable on the nature peace resulting from the approach, given that no form of reconciliation ensues to address the differences. Historical accounts in the Balkan context and other phenomenal wars in the world point out that the future of any entity or the peaceful coexistence in the world lies in the manner in which people deal with their ethnic, religious, and gender differences as a reflection of social reality.

The centrality of differences has led to the establishment of societies build on cruelty and oppression, a situation that makes it difficult to attain peace in the contemporary society. The historical conception of the identity of different societies is the main hindrance towards successful reconciliation and attainment for peace, without which states and people live in a conflicting environment. For instance, Europe’s past is a hell of worst of violence advanced in the mantra of the European identity. Consequently, colonialism, destruction of cultures, the imposition of imperialism, and destruction of original identity of other states is apparent in the historical account of Europe. Such an instance can be construed as a form of ethnic cleansing. German traded in similar footsteps to conquer and exterminate of the Jews in the name of pursuing its identity. Similarly, the Balkans assumed a similar approach in entrenching the Serbian identity. The search for identity in the historical context is the main hindrance to reconciliation. The idea brings about the question of what can bring about reconciliation. Accordingly, the idea draws into Nietzsche’s questioning of morality without historical insight. It would be misleading to applaud such identities and praise theme without necessarily looking into the adverse connotations that irked their emergence.

Volf’s ‘Exclusion and Embrace’ opines that identity without a sense of diversity or inclusion is meaningless and a curse in itself. The text points out that the theology of embrace is the solution to such challenges of war, as it will bring about peace and reconciliation in the long run. The notion of embrace leads to the replacement of the dominant themes of oppression and liberation with exclusion and embrace. The key theological issues facing Christians in Eastern Europe, such as the Balkans is the reconciliation of the vicious circle of hatred and evils in the society (Volf 2). Despite the fact that theological underpinnings preach about love and forgiveness, it has become inherently difficult to move from the ashes of animosity and destruction orchestrated in the past. The issue has shifted from the idea of killing and surviving, but the effects still dominate the peoples’ minds. The whole issue brings into question the ability of theology and religious values to bring about a lasting solution to the war and peace debate. Despite the fact that God is non-coercive, the refusal to judge openly in the face of adversities has led to the idea that human nonviolence tallies God’s refusal to judge. Accordingly, the theology of embrace is detrimental as it can potentially alienate the oppression and the suffering of the oppressed persons without proper recourse (Volf 5). The bloody past reveals the unpleasant captivity, which overrides any theological doctrines to advance peace and reconciliation.

Nietzsche’s controversial views and attack on the ordinary perception of morality heightens the challenges of attaining reconciliation and peace. He points out that disenfranchisement and powerlessness result in the hatred of the most powerful or people in leadership positions. For instance, he cites the “slave revolt in morality” emanating from Judaism as a perfect example of his depiction. He further asserts justice is immediate, real, and good, factors which contribute to the emergence of enemies, the same as the slave mentality which tags along with strands of resentment. The concept of resentment depict the slaves or the weak people as always wronged, meek, and consistently despised, leading to a sense of enmity and strife for revenge. Even in the good/bad equation, Nietzsche points out that it is still controversial to attain reconciliation because of such feelings of hatred.

Michel Foucault’s view that ‘Society Must Be Defended’ is a perfect reflection of the practical challenges attributed to the pursuit of reconciliation and peace across the world. Historical conflicts and wars are largely associated with a unique relationship to truth or pursuit of identity. In a state of war, each entity strives to address any threats to the core existence of the state by preserving its identity. Foucault emphasizes on the need to defend the society and identity, a fact that places states and people in a state of conflict and imminent war as they seek to defend their beliefs. Many people opine that the views are a justification or explanation of some of the phenomenal wars in history, as well as social ills such as racism and other issues (Foucault 42). Defending of the European society led to the emergence of various social ills espoused in the notion of the European identity. Such issues included colonialism, destruction of cultures, the imposition of imperialism, supremacy battles, as well as the destruction of original identity of other states. Under such circumstances, it is prac6ically difficult to enhance reconciliation when each society is armed to defend itself, including its beliefs and identity. The existence of a unique balancing act, such as a divine power capable of advancing vengeance is the only solution to the problem of war.

In conclusion, the themes of war and peace have been dominant in the social and political circles of identity since the ancient times. The pursuit of peace and reconciliation has faced a set of challenges, making it difficult to accurately advance a peaceful society. Philosophically, the society is premised on a set of conflicting scenario, making it difficult to attain peace. From a theological perspective, the ideals of peace, love, and non-vengeance cannot be strongly supported in the face of a dark past. The power relations in the political contexts also espouse a similar problem as they put entities in a state of imminent conflict. The existence of a neutral divine vengeance power is the only guarantee of peace and reconciliation, as it would eliminate any feelings of disenfranchisement and inequality through prompt responses.

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Works Cited
Foucault, Michel. “Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège De France, 1975–76, Trans.” David Macey. New York: Picador (2003).
Hall, Richard C. The Balkan Wars 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War. Routledge, 2002.
Schacht, Richard, ed. Nietzsche, Genealogy, Morality: Essays on Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals. Vol. 5. University of California Press, 1994.
Volf, Miroslav. “Exclusion and Embrace: Theological Reflection in the Wake of” Ethnic Cleansing”.” Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe vol.13 no.6 (1993): 1.