Meanwhile, the government must look at meeting the aspirations of the larger population with a view towards long-term conflict resolution This is the most complex task, with many competing narratives being offered as solutions. when faced with this dilemma, it is sometimes helpful to go back to understanding why ethnic conflicts often defy solutions "Ethnic and national conflicts entail two major aspects-defined by scholars as a socio-political aspect and a socio-psychological aspect with the latter no less crucial than the former... The socio-psychological aspect pertains to a wide range of issues relating to the community, including a community's sense of identity and self-perceptions, its fears and sense of collective threats, perceived past, and portrayal of its role in the conflict... The socio-political aspect involves issues such as land, natural resources, economic and political dominance. Despite the complexity of the socio-political matters, in situations of intractable conflict it is the socio- psychological aspect, as well as history, that dominates the relationship between the involved adversaries and plays a central role in interpreting and fuelling persistent animosity" In (prolonged and violent) conflicts the involved societies evolve [a] culture of conflict of which the dominant parts are societal beliefs of collective memories and of ethos of conflict, as well as collective emotional orientation.. These narratives are selective, biased and distorted as their major function is to satisfy the societal needs rather than provide [an] objective account of reality
A similar situation is evident in J&K. O In Kashmir, perceptions have been generated of a government being at war with its people Given this reality, it should be clear that issues like good governance and development, while important, need to be accompanied by measures that address the socio-psychological aspects of the people of all regions of the State. This has been a key weakness in our approach, and the separatists, along with some politicians, have made the situation worse by continuously exploiting existing societal beliefs ancd collective memory, rather than pointing to their dangers. The government also needs to embark on a strong perception-changing programme that challenges the existing narratives, brings out the horrific cost of conflict to the people and the benefits of peace and cooperative relations. Concrete steps by the government are a must. we often think of social media as the answer to all our perception-shaping issues but without follow-up action, the impact of social media can soon fade. The conflict in J&K defies simple solutions. Among the many actions required to be taken on the military, economic, political and social fronts, dealing with the psychological aspects of affected communities is critical. Memories and perceptions are perhaps the biggest hindrances to reconciliation and must be addressed by showing greater empathy.
TheHindu Art4] Smoke and mirrors When the Cold War ended, the withering of its restraining influences spawned many ethnic and state-breaking conflicts. Also, the feeling of hubris generated in the U.S. by the demise of the Soviet Union amplified its interventionist proclivities. A combination of these factors led to so-called "humanitarian" interventions, especially in the Balkans and West Asia Some of these, as in Bosnia and Kosovo, did achieve humanitarian ends by preventing ethnic cleansing on a national scale. OOthers, as in Iraq, Libya and Syria, made bad situations infinitely worse. Nonetheless, such interventions helped create a new international norm whereby it was assumed that the "international community"-or more aptly the Western owers - had the right to intervene in countries where governments engaged in brutal suppression of their peoples The term Responsibility to Protect (R2P), derived from a 2001 report by a high- powered commission at the behest of the UN Secretary General, became the linchpin of the humanitarian intervention argument.
R2P and its corollary, humanitarian intervention, have ended up subverting the international order rather than strengthening it, for two major reasons. First, such interventions have been undertaken with the objective of regime change but without much thought about the rebuilding of state institutions that this would entail. O Consequently, they often ended up inducing state failure, which has led to people seeking security through ethnic,sectarian and tribal protection rackets, thus accentuating internal conflicts. .Second, humanitarian interventions are undertaken largely at the behest of the P-3 (the U.S., the U.K. and France), who wield veto power in the UNSC and have the wherewithal to mount such interventions. o Where they are unable to garner support in the UNSC they have launched interventions under the banner of the "coalition of the willing", as in the case of Iraq. O Most humanitarian interventions have been undertaken when they suit the interests of the U.S. and its allies
Demands for intervention in humanitarian crises, such as in Gaza, that do not suit the P-3 especially the U.S., face the threat of veto in the UNSC. This is why genuine humanitarian crises crying out for intervention remain unaddressed Most humanitarian interventions are in fact extensions of the Western powers' foreign policies rather than genuine attempts at protecting the security of affected populations. The related idea that the P-5 should not exercise their right to veto on issues of humanitarian intervention, while discussed in the R2P report, got no traction because the permanent members were not interested in their actions being restrained In the absence of such a provision, R2P merely legitimises the major powers' penchant to intervene for their own benefit. OConsequently, humanitarian intervention is often little more than a game of smoke and mirrors.
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