On Peace: Peace as a Means of Statecraft

  • June 01, 2009
  • COL James H Herrera

Peace is a phrase that is often used but vaguely understood. Conventional thought considers peace as a condition that shares a dialectical relationship with war, albeit devoid of a separate nature of its own. Upon closer examination, peace has a pragmatic quality and the potential to be a separate element of statecraft, not simply the absence, termination, or continuation of war. This paper examines peace at the individual, collective, and inter-collective levels. It does so by addressing three central questions: First, how is peace defined and what is its nature? Is it a natural condition or an artificially constructed one? Second, does it differ at the individual, collective, and inter-collective levels? And third, can peace stand on its own as a means of policy relative to diplomacy and war? In essence, can peace be waged? Research reveals that a complex paradigmatic change in statecraft must occur in order to employ peace as a “shaping” and sustaining action. Further inquiry is required to fully understand its potential as a tool, one similar to “soft power.” This paper contains recommendations for the continued development of this concept.