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War for peace?

Can war be the means to achieve peace? I have always wondered how violence can bring in peace to a nation. One need not be an expert in wars to realize their devastating physical, psychological and economic effects. You might say that war is necessary to fight enemies such as dictators, extremists and human right abusers. That might be true. It is only natural for human beings to consider retaliation in response to an attack. Who would respond to a slap by giving the other cheek instead of hitting back? Giving the other cheek is much easier when said than when done. Nevertheless, I would like to argue that peace brought through war is likely to be fragile and short-lived.

In my opinion, wars create new enemies. To see this, just imagine yourself being a survivor of a vicious attack that ended up destroying what you have built in your life. Say you lose your wealth, your health and your family as a result of this attack. You were not the main target of the attackers but were simply one of the thousands of other victims who just like you suffered the consequences. Your attackers might win for the moment because you did not have the resources to fight them back or because you were caught by surprise. But you know in your heart that you will cease every opportunity that may come in the future to fight back your attackers. Although you were not the enemy at first, you are now. It will only about time before a new war is born, this time with you being the attacker.

I believe the vicious cycles of coup d’états in our country as well in numerous other developing nations are evidence that war can only bring temporary peace. A government and a leader that is not democratically elected can only rule at best with a marginal level of stability and peace. The children victimized in the Syrian and the South Sudanese civil wars, although victims today, will be the attackers in the wars of tomorrow.  The war against terror that started more than a decade ago, let alone approaching to an end, is only increasing casualties not only in the middle-east but also in the European countries who stood to fight terror.

I always think that longer lasting peace can only be achieved with diplomatic negotiations and compromises. Compromises, just like wars, can present win-lose situations. The difference with a war is that in compromises, all parties consent to the win-lose situation while in a war only the winner is satisfied with the result. Armed conflicts and violence that arise as a result of political and economic differences in a nation are sure to be solved with negotiations and compromises. But you might ask, what kind of compromise can be reached to appease a war caused by religious extremism? Religion is not an issue that is up for negotiation and for which one can find a middle-ground. And how can one resolve conflicts caused by unjustified racial hatred? Would the solution be to exterminate those with a certain racial background? I am also almost certain that racists and extremists cannot be eliminated with armed forces.  I read somewhere that for complex issues such racial prejudice and religious fanaticism, one should fight the ideas and not the people that entertain them. So in short, nothing is worth more than a precious human life and taking it away in the name of peace will only sustain war.