Civil war.

This must be the most egregious mutually exclusive terminology since jumbo shrimp. The time has come in our stage as a species to confront and defeat war. We are well on the way to doing so at the international level, which is ironic, since international war has been all that many peace people have worried about for a long long time. Civil war is all we have left, for the most part. With the exception of the last standing empire, the US, no nation is invading other nations these days, but there are intranational wars and hot bloody conflicts all around the world.

Civil wars bestow most of the suffering on noncombatants, who tend to have little say in whether the conflict is initiated or if and when it is settled.
–Ian Bannon and Paul Collier (p. 1)

But, we say, the US is already seeing to that. We lead the world in humanitarian intervention to stop war and genocide.

That’s not the way it works. You cannot bomb your way to peace. An honest humanitarian intervention is nonviolent. And far in advance of that is all we can do to prevent civil war. Just a short list:

  • humanitarian aid to stop hunger
  • development aid to stop poverty
  • fair trade to reduce resentment
  • bring home all troops to reduce fear and hatred
  • end armed drone flights
  • end assassinations
  • reform the UN Security Council by removing all permanent members and rotate all slots
  • close all overseas military bases
  • cease all military aid to anyone
  • link all development aid to metrics of human rights and democracy
  • reparations and debt forgiveness
  • end oil imports
  • train multinational nonviolent intervention de-escalation divisions
  • unilaterally disarm all WMD

Some of these measures take a long time; some can be accomplished quickly. All should start immediately.

Bannon, Ian and Collier, Paul (Eds.) (2003). Natural resources and violent conflict: Options and actions. Washington DC: The World Bank.


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