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noelasun's avatar

What is a viable alternative to war?

Asked by noelasun (1894points) May 5th, 2009

Everytime I listen to Edwin Starr’s “War”, I can’t help but think yes, there must be a better way… but how?
(though inspired by a song, I’m asking a serious question)
Do you think that countries have an alternative to war?
Can you give an example as to how it would have worked in an example?

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19 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Diplomacy comes to mind.

spresto's avatar

I always thought it would be good to settle differences in some sort of game. For example, lets say china and the usa have a dispute that diplomacy can’t settle. Let it be decided through a game of basketball, football, soccer etc. Nobody dies. People would be more interested in sports and politics. We would all win…that is if both sides would honor the decided victory.

squirbel's avatar


Actually spresto’s answer is pretty good. * wink *

I would think that sports wouldn’t be the correct method because the goalie who couldn’t block the shot properly might be put in jail by his own country when the game was over ^.~ But the concept of competition in some form might be a better method.

But the human condition is such that war is unavoidable.

arca's avatar

war, war never changes.

CMaz's avatar

As the saying goes… You cant know peace without war. As much as we hate it and stride for peace. So human of us. War rages in everything and is every where. Our body fight off disease, our atoms lock together and bounce off each other. The sun that we depend on is incredibly violent. But Violence and even Peace can be seen as semantics. Play on words to evoke emotion. We try to keep conflict at a minimum. But it is all part of life. It is about accepting it and doing your best to keep the “peace”.

fireside's avatar

How about recognition of a common goal which all can work cooperatively work to achieve, combined with the autonomy for each country to handle local issues on their own within the framework of the larger agreements and goals.

My example would be the United States. Not everybody agrees with every decision, but we have enough cohesiveness to stick together. Granted, this cohesiveness is being tested.

CMaz's avatar

You have to think deeper…. So a Peacful USA. I know plenty of places you would not make it down the street. War can be a big tumor on your face, or a germ in your intestinal tract.

GAMBIT's avatar

If politicians had to fight war would end tomorrow.

wundayatta's avatar

War is the failure of diplomacy. If you don’t have very good diplomats, you can be pretty sure you’ll soon be in a war. If you want to stay out of war, vote for good diplomats. It’s not like George Bush hid anything when he first ran for President. He spoke of his distrust for foreign governments, and his desire to take a much tougher stance. No one should have been surprised that we ended up in several wars.

As far as I’m concerned, the majority of the American People wanted war. Or close enough to a majority as makes no difference. Warriors are not above steal elections, and we let Bush do that, which makes us complicit in his government.

Diplomacy is the only other option. For diplomacy to work, people have to be committed to it. People have to be willing to talk real issues in private and symbolic issues in public. It takes great skill and great tenacity to do this. I hope people bear this in mind the next time they are faced with the choice between people who do care about other nations and those who don’t.

augustlan's avatar

Rock paper scissors? Or a boxing match between the leaders.

Okay, for a serious answer, I’m with the diplomacy proponents.

CMaz's avatar

Diplomacy is what (hopefully) prevents less death from war.

critter1982's avatar

IMO war is and should only be an option when diplomacy doesn’t work, so diplomacy as an alternative to war doesn’t make sense. Failed diplomacy is why we go to war. Regarding alternative solutions to war it has to be uniquely based on the premise of the particular war itself. The alternative solution to the war on drugs will look nothing like the alternative to the War on Terror. The alternative solution to the war in Iraq would look nothing like the alternative to the US Civil War. I don’t believe there will ever be a one solution alternative to war in all cases. War will always exist because people believe different things, enough so to risk their life for that belief. At the point people are willing to give up their life for their belief you have no other option than to either give them the freedom to have what they want or to forcibly take it.

CMaz's avatar

Failed diplomacy is why we go to war? Diplomacy might prevent an action from accruing. Now and then, but just like a Volcano. It eventually will vent. That is life. Diplomacy might and does circumvent a conflict. But, it is not always black and white. Even “successful” diplomacy is a product of creative conflict. And war is nothing but a conflict. SO we take away the bombs, now what? We protest wacking each other with wet noodles? And, our children grow up to call that war?

wundayatta's avatar

Walk softly and carry a big stick? Or carry a big stick and whack somebody to teach ‘em a lesson?

Those who are insecure will take the latter approach. A country as big and powerful as this one should not need to go to war. We have so many other tools to use, and if we are patient, they are so much more effective.

We’ve brought most of our troubles down on top of ourselves. The roots of much of the anti-American actions in this world happen forty and fifty years ago, and were promulgated by the CIA. Let’s face it. We don’t know how to intervene. Most of our interventions backfire on us. Maybe not in Granada, but…. I think we should step back, count to ten, and really analyze the situations that trouble us around the world. If we leave things alone, they mostly come out in our favor. Unfortunately, American companies love war, because they get to make a lot of money, or they get to protect certain supply lines. It’s time to stop catering to the interests of big business, and start looking at the interests of the ordinary American. Not that anyone could prove it, but I’ll bet if we had never unleashed the CIA in the middle east, 9/11 would never have happened.

noelasun's avatar

I can see how these suggestions (diplomacy, etc.) work for the USA; but what in the instances of rebellions or… some less developed country with no platform for free speech?

augustlan's avatar

@noelasun If we are talking civil war conducted by a repressed people, there may not be an alternative. The only one I could think of is ‘strength in numbers’. If all of the people being repressed were together at all times, they could defy the will of the dictatorship without resorting to violence (unless in self-defense). Seems pretty un-workable, though.

Alessandra's avatar

haha, loooovee. Mhmm

CMaz's avatar

“If all of the people being repressed were together at all times, they could defy the will of the dictatorship without resorting to violence ” There we go again… “Defy the will of the dictator.” Could not have defined WAR any better then that. What is defined as Violence? The pen is mightier then the sward. Words can be quite hurtful. SO do we one day have this same conversation about the pitfalls of the pen? Now we are back to keeping the slave under control by preventing them to be educated.

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