Reflections on International Peace: An Essay Series in Three Parts

by Sandra Simić

 

Part III – Common Heritage

 “Since wars begin in the minds of men (and women), it is in the minds of men (and women) that the defenses of peace must be constructed”, the UNESCO Constitution says.

Four centuries ago, in the heart of various beliefs – Hindu, Persian, Muslim, Christian – the emperor Akbar the Great gathered in his palace in Delhi philosophers, scholars, and mystics, in order to find together the core in which religions unite. (2) We may be inspired by such a noble initiative.

The vision of building instead of destroying the future together, by all members of the human family, must not be limited to rational science. Focusing on material globalization only is like building a house on sand. Spiritual globalization is needed as well, through a search for the common origin and a sense of shared humanity.

Opinions on whether religion is a cause of international conflicts vary. Some thinkers believe that religion is one of the interrelated factors causing conflict, while others believe that it is never the cause of the conflict. (3) Religion might also be hijacked for political purposes, presenting it erroneously as the primary reason for war, instead of economic or other interests.

Spiritual leaders are continually calling for peace. The Second Vatican Council renewed the Roman Catholic Church, a part of the process being the support for the international order, UN and human rights. (4) This support is most evident from the Pacem in Terris, a famous encyclical of His Holiness Pope John XXIII, which emphasizes in the point 61 that “any government which refused to recognize human rights or acted in violation of them, would not only fail in its duty; its decrees would be wholly lacking in binding force”. Further, it is noted in point 88 that some nations may have attained a superior degree of development, but this does not “entitle them to exert unjust political domination over other nations. It means that they have to make a greater contribution to the common cause of social progress.”

When leaders focus on the relevant issues and create a positive context, things are starting to change. Sincerely positive global spirit uniting all cultures and religions together may be witnessed at the General Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis, who interestingly, took the name of the saint of peace.

In spite of dogmatic differences, we should seek to find the source which is the same for everyone and build togetherness from there. For example, The Golden Rule is worldwide accepted by all religions. (6) Reading its narrative through various religious traditions is illuminating, as the same idea is repeated over and over in different literary styles. Basically, it says that you should not do to others what you do not wish others do to yourself.

Focusing on shared values and common heritage might be further developed by establishing an organization which would serve the following purposes: connecting people and cultures physically and virtually, serve as a place where people could get accurate information about all religions, provide grants for artists promoting these values through books, movies, music, and visual arts, provide grants and resources for scientific research aimed at finding shared values and other noble ideas leading to this aim. A digital church might also be created, meaning a digital place where people from all over the globe can meet, discuss and share directly and in real time. Creating an appropriate setting for the expression of such ideas would make all the difference. Publishing and producing is a commercially driven business, meaning that it adapts itself to the market and follows trends. The prevailing themes are negative. This is why it is necessary to create a space where freedom of expression is not restricted to market trends, but it also opens possibilities for artists with an optimistic and positive vision of the future. Building relationships on shared values, while keeping cultural and religious differences as they enrich us. We are all on the same path of discovering life in its sophistication and beauty and every path is valuable.

Creating peace is possible. The positive context, organization and focus on shared values are necessary. It is also important being continually aware of the fine line between those who divide and those who connect people, especially when electing leaders. The old Latin phrase Acta, non verba (Actions, not words) teaches us that we should focus more on concrete results such as making peace deals which last or deciding not to send armed forces to war, instead of endorsing the elegant pacifistic rhetoric only.

It is unacceptable in the 21st century to judge someone on the basis of what she or he gained by birth, on the basis of something beyond their influence. It is particularly unacceptable to divide on the basis of religion. The path of every person towards spirituality merits respect. In Genesis 15:5, God promised Abraham/Ibrahim that He would give him as many children as there are stars in the sky. Looking at the sky, I believe Abraham/Ibrahim wanted to see that harmony and glow between his children. God made His promise. His descendants are Jewish, Christians and Muslims. It is upon us to build that harmony and not be misled by artificial worldly divisions.

By focusing on values we all share, instead of emphasizing differences, we shall build a more sophisticated and future-oriented culture.

References

  1. UNESCO Constitution.
  2. Mourad, Kenizé, „Tragom mrtve princeze“ (Croatian translation of the original title: „De la part de la princesse morte“), Znanje, 1989, p. 185. (vol.2.).
  3. Smock, David R. (eds.), “Interfaith dialogue and peacebuilding”, United States Institute of Peace Press, 2002, p. 127.
  4. O’Connell, Mary Ellen, “Belief in the Authority of International Law for Peace”, in: Justenhoven, Heinz-Gerhard, O’Connell, Mary Ellen (eds.), Peace through law: Reflections on Pacem in Terris from Philosophy, Law, Theology, and Political Science, 1. Edition 2016, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, p. 60.
  5. Pacem in terris, encyclical of Pope John XXIII on establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty, April 11, 1963.
  6. Bowker, John, “World Religions”, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2003 (revised edition published in 2003, first published in London in 1997), p. 208.

 

Sandra Simić, mag.iur., LLM, is a lawyer specialized in Public International Law and European Law (University of London, Queen Mary&University College London), with extensive professional experience in private (Attorney at Law) and public sector. This essay represents her personal opinion. She may be reached at: sandra_law@europe.com; SandraSimic©2018-2019.

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Reflections on International Peace: An Essay Series in Three Parts

by Sandra Simić

 

Part II – Peace Through Development 

Every initiative towards the creation of international peace is valuable and merits respect. However, we ought to make bolder steps in the search for solutions, as the fact that wars are still present in the 21st century means that the international community is immature.

International peace can be achieved by a multidisciplinary approach, through advancement in many areas and coordination between them. Public international law, interpreted correctly and changed where necessary, has the potential to secure peaceful relations between nations as well as their development.

In the internet era, when information is easily accessible to everyone, the legitimate feeling of injustice rises in people living in poverty. The desire for development is natural in human beings. Poverty is also one of the factors leading to conflicts. Differences in the level of development and living standards between nations, causing deep poverty and the lack of opportunities, call for smart investment initiatives.

We should intertwine the economic interests of nations in order to make them the threads of peace. No nation would wish to start a war if this would mean attacking their own economic interests. If the European Union has finally achieved peace, why wouldn’t that be possible for the rest of the world?

Every human being, regardless of origin, gender, nationality, skin color, or any other factor, should be given the same right to development. The United Nations Charter promotes economic and social progress and development in its article 55.

Economic development is stipulated in article 1.1. of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (ICESCR), while its article 2.1. emphasizes that with a view to progressively achieving these rights various steps may be followed, including the international cooperation. ICESCR is a legally binding international agreement.

There are other, legally non-binding international instruments which define this right. Its articulation in the Declaration on the right to development adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 41/128 on 4 December 1986 (articles 1 and 2) has helped support and develop the special and preferential treatment for developing countries and other principles. (3) Also, it influenced the adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000, which outlines the Millennium Development Goals of the UN (MDG). The MDG 8 in particular, is calling for a global partnership for development. (5) However, the impact of the MDG has been limited due to its non-binding legal character. The international community should seek to enhance the role of public international law in creating binding legal instruments for global development.

The author is pro meritocracy at the level playing field. There is neither honor nor success in winning at the global market if the field is not level. Obviously, the differences in development between various nations make the efforts of the underdeveloped countries non-sufficient for progress, as their products may not be competitive at the global market. The playing field is not truly level (6) because of the inequality between the players.

The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency monitors migrations due to various causes, most notably wars and poverty. It seems that the international community is overwhelmed by the numbers of people putting everything at risk in order to cross borders illegally in search of a better life. Migrations affect many policies in host countries, such as employment, education, health, and social services, culture, security, education, finances, and others. Therefore, this calls for a concerted effort by the international community in finding solutions for development in the home countries of migrants. Building refugee camps at the borders is a temporary solution which is not solving the problem. Human dignity demands equal opportunities for development. Various instruments for international help in terms of donations, food, shelter, medical supplies, assistance and other ways of reaching out to people in need are not a solution. If you are looking at people in need with pity, be sure that you lost their respect. You made them feel inferior. Instead, the honor lies in reflecting about justice, in expanding our intellectual horizons in search for ways of accepting every person as an evolving being, able to do great things.

Capitalism and free democracy create a positive context for development. When individual liberties are protected, people are able to express their creativity, produce and build their societies. In the quest for economic growth, the businesses are continually seeking new products and new markets. At the other end of the spectrum, the underdeveloped countries are continually looking for investments. We should be focused on how to connect the two sides of the spectrum in a way that would be profitable to both. In the globalized world of today, we should above all seek the innovative solutions within the public international law.

The author advocates the creation of an international legal framework which would give capitalism a more human face.(7) The global investment treaty may be concluded under the auspices of the United Nations. Its wide mandate and equality of votes will ensure the appropriate context for creating a fairer international investment regime through the fine balancing between social justice and capitalism. Such an agreement would create a framework where consensus is possible, while the bilateral investment treaties may continue to exist alongside. Investment is the key for economic development, but it must not be taken out of the context and become a value in itself. Investment should be seen as a tool for the greater good and sustainable international growth. This would positively influence the overall global stability and the creation of peace worldwide.

It is important to reflect upon the voting system within a forum which is to develop, draft and adopt an international agreement, as perspectives may differ. For instance, the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank) have the voting system which gives the most developed countries the majority (weighted voting), while there is equality of votes within the UN. If the aim is to achieve international justice, it should be developed within the appropriate context. Due to equality of votes of all states and its wide mandate (covering economic and other topics like human rights, environment, labor law etc.), it is the author’s opinion that the penholder should be the United Nations. In this way, a balanced text would be developed, giving capitalism a more human face.

The economy is not the only way of creating peace through development. Advancements in technology offer new opportunities for creating peace as well, for instance, through the pacifist use of satellites. There is a practical example which has been successful in monitoring Sudan and South Sudan through the imagery captured by DigitalGlobe satellites, called the Satellite Sentinel Project, which was conceived by George Clooney and John Prendergast. Through the use of satellites, human rights abuses may be prevented and also better documented at war trials afterward.

References

  1. United Nations Charter.
  2. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December1966.
  3. Subedi, S. P., “International Economic Law – Section A: Evolution and Principles of International Economic Law”, Revised version, University of London, Queen Mary&University College London, University of London Press, 2007, Chapter 3, p.27.
  4. United Nations Millennium Development Goals, 2000.
  5. Subedi, S.P., “International Economic Law – Section B: International monetary and development law and policy”, Revised version, University of London, Queen Mary&University College London, University of London Press, 2007, p. 23-24.
  6. Subedi, S.P., “The notion of free trade and the first ten years of the World Trade Organisation: how level is the “level playing field?” The Netherlands international law review LIII:273-296, 2006.
  7. Simić, Sandra, “Our future is in the eye of the beholder – an initiative for a global investment treaty”, Croatian Academy of Legal Sciences Yearbook, Vol. VII, Number 1/2016, 2016.

 

Sandra Simić, mag.iur., LLM, is a lawyer specialized in Public International Law and European Law (University of London, Queen Mary&University College London), with extensive professional experience in private (Attorney at Law) and public sector. This essay represents her personal opinion. She may be reached at: sandra_law@europe.com; SandraSimic©2018-2019.

 

Reflections on International Peace: An Essay Series in Three Parts

by Sandra Simić

Part I – Peace Through Law 

Beethoven composed the Ode to Joy after becoming deaf because he could hear it in his heart and mind. The Ode to Joy has become the anthem of the European Union, celebrating peace between nations with a previously continuous history of wars. “The poem Ode to Joy expresses Schiller’s idealistic vision of the human race becoming brothers – a vision Beethoven shared”. Let this melody be the underlying music of this essay series, in search of new visions for international peace.

The history shows a long record of declared and undeclared wars and various types of violence. Even today, in the age we like to call the age of progress, there are too many armed conflicts and violence throughout the globe, with devastating consequences for the people affected. The fact that we have not been able to find a solution for international peace yet, while opportunities are everywhere, speaks for itself. Respecting many valuable peace initiatives, the author would primarily like to emphasize the value of the public international law in creating international peace, as it provides the legal framework for peaceful relations between nations.

This essay series was motivated by an increasing number of wars and conflicts worldwide, the desire to express a strong pacifistic voice and inspire others to do the same. Within the limits of our influence, we are all responsible for the creation of world peace, towards which the intellectuals, in particular, are called to make a contribution.

Public international law, interpreted correctly and changed where necessary, has the potential to secure peaceful relations between nations as well as their development.

Historically, the roots of public international law may be traced back to the times of Aristotle, who thought that the state and its citizens are the product of nature. Roman jurist Gaius in his Institutes divided all law into jus civile and jus gentium.  The former relates to the law written by the people for their purposes, while the latter is the law shared by all people because it is rooted in natural reason (naturalis ratio). According to Gaius, the Roman people applied both categories. Many notable legal scientists influenced the development of the public international law throughout centuries, however, the Dutch lawyer, theologian, philosopher, and poet Hugo Grotius, who lived at the end of the 16th and in the 17th century, made the greatest contribution. Consequently, he is called the father of the international law. Although he believed in God, and was a theologian, he distanced natural law from God, considering it based on reason and nature of human beings. (2)

The ideas of war being morally acceptable as self-defense and in order to re-establish peace were accepted a long time ago, for instance, in classical Greek and Roman theories and in the works of Saint Augustine. Saint Thomas Aquinas later developed the Christian Just War Doctrine. Many schools of thought developed throughout history on the subject of war and peace. The most interesting and inspiring ideas, seeking to re-connect mankind above religious differences, were those of Hugo Grotius. Grotius and other naturalist writers agreed that the basic principles of all law were derived from “principles of justice which had a universal and eternal validity and which could be discovered by pure reason; law was to be found, not made.” It is important to note that although “natural law was originally regarded as having a divine origin”, Grotius considered that “natural law would still have existed even if God had not existed”. (3) Some concepts like general principles of law are explained today as rooted in natural law.

Contemporary application of public international law by jurists represents a combination of positivist and naturalist approach, which means that positive law is applied first, while natural law theory complements interpretation only in cases when the law is ambiguous, needs updating, or may violate a jus cogens norm, in which cases a jurist will consider important values of the community and the purpose of law generally. (4) Consequently, the legal process theory is complemented with natural law theory, in order to balance the rigidity of the written norm with a human perspective. This might be compared to the role of the jury in trials, as the underlying idea is the same, it is not entirely possible to capture the fairness in the written law. Life itself will always be more creative and ultimately, what justice really means will be up to the jurist making the decision, which is why a lawyer is continuously on the path where law and justice meet.

The author shares the line of thinking which seeks to find something timeless, universal and natural in justice, something that transcends power struggles and national borders and offers a vision of shared humanity.

United Nations have a pivotal role in ensuring international peace, as they equally represent the world population and have the means and opportunity to create a peaceful world. Article 1 of the UN Charter sets out the purposes of the UN, such as maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations between nations and strengthening universal peace.

The UN General Assembly, recalling many previously adopted international instruments relevant to this subject, adopted on 19 December 2016 Declaration on the Right to Peace, which declares in its article 1: “Everyone has the right to enjoy peace such that all human rights are promoted and protected and development is fully realized.”

Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter prohibits the use of force. Chapter VI of the Charter lists ways for pacific settlements of disputes between states, while Chapter VII provides action of the UN Security Council with respect to threats to the peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. The authorization from the UN Security Council is needed for the use of force.

In conclusion, the Charter should always be interpreted in a way which leads to international peace, while the use of force is only an exception which has to be decided carefully and in a balanced manner, in order to maintain and restore peace.

Even though the international law is a binding system of authority accepted by governments worldwide, a renowned American Professor of Law Mary Ellen O’Connell warns that there are many publications which perpetuate misunderstandings about this area of law, particularly regarding the means of enforcement, the basis for authority and the rules restraining the use of force. (7). O’Connell’s work is outstanding. She writes systematically and in great detail about the origins and development of these erroneous theories, which affect the application of international law today.

We hold the legal key for international peace through correct application of public international law. It is necessary to understand and promote the importance of this area of law in order to distinguish myth from truth, as it all matters in our search for international peace. The inspiring legacy of Hugo Grotius teaches us that justice is natural, universal and beyond religious differences.

In the globalized and highly interconnected world of today and tomorrow, the influence and power of public international law will only rise.

References

  1. Paul Craig and Gráinne de Búrca, “EU law text, cases, and materials”, fourth edition, Oxford University Press, 2008.
  2. Degan, V. Đ., “Međunarodno pravo “, Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Rijeci, 2000, p. 33-47.
  3. Malanczuk, Peter, “Akehurst’s Modern introduction to international law” seventh revised edition, Routledge, 1997-2003, p.15-16 (two quoted sentences).
  4. O’Connell, Mary Ellen, „The Power and Purpose of International Law“, Oxford University Press 2008, p. 137-138.
  5. United Nations Charter.
  6. Resolution 71/189 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 19 December 2016 – Declaration on the Right to Peace.
  7. O’Connell, Mary Ellen, “Belief in the Authority of International Law for Peace”, in: Justenhoven, Heinz-Gerhard, O’Connell, Mary Ellen (eds.), Peace through law: Reflections on Pacem in Terris from Philosophy, Law, Theology, and Political Science, 1. Edition 2016, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, p. 50.

 

Sandra Simić, mag.iur., LLM, is a lawyer specialized in Public International Law and European Law (University of London, Queen Mary&University College London), with extensive professional experience in private (Attorney at Law) and public sector. This essay represents her personal opinion. She may be reached at: sandra_law@europe.com; SandraSimic©2018-2019.

WARTIME DISSENT AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN HIGHER EDUCATION

By Charles F. Howlett

A recent paper I delivered at the Muted Voices Conference held at the World War I Memorial Museum in Kansas City in 2017 offers a glimpse into the legal quandary public schoolteachers faced when encountering free speech during time of war. Although I had done additional research involving the matter of professors in higher education, the story of how college professors critical of war were allotted wider latitude, unlike teachers, also deserves a hearing.

In my earlier remarks I pointed out that World War I marked a watershed for teachers when it came to freedom of speech; their efforts to criticize war became more restricted in courts of law. For professors in higher education it had the opposite effect, although, at first, they experienced their own trials and tribulations. What led to greater free speech protections for professors in contrast to what I laid out previously regarding schoolteachers?

First World War

Prior to America’s military intervention in World War 1 in April 1917, the nation’s leading advocate of progressive education John Dewey of Columbia University, steadfastly proclaimed that all forms of militarism were “undemocratic, barbaric, and scholastically wholly unwise.” He held fast to those words until President Woodrow Wilson announced that America’s entrance into this conflict against the Central Powers would be an opportunity to achieve social reconstruction at home and abroad. Dewey now reasoned that war might serve as a useful and efficient means for bringing about the desired end of a democratically organized world order based on social and economic justice. Of course, he expected that teachers would enthusiastically follow his lead.

Numerous intellectuals also were willing to support Wilson’s progressive idealism. They were all too eager in their attempts to win over the public mind in what they considered a great struggle to preserve democracy against German autocracy and militarism. Among them were Cornell historian Carl Becker, Wisconsin labor economist John R. Commons, University of Chicago professor A. C. McLaughlin, Columbia historian James T. Shotwell and Guy Stanton Ford, dean of the graduate school at the University of Minnesota.  Like Dewey, they considered it an opportunity to test the efficiency of progressive social engineering abroad as well as the collective will of the populace to bring about the kind of democratic progress needed to rid the Old World of its political tyranny.

While Dewey and his prowar acolytes touted the virtues of military engagement, the first clear signal of what would take place on all levels of education actually began on college and university campuses. In one of the worst violations in the history of academic freedom in higher education, a number of the country’s top scholars at Dewey’s place of employment, much to his chagrin since he was an outspoken proponent of academic freedom, were told either to leave or be dismissed, while others resigned in protest. One month prior to the nation going to war the Columbia Board of Trustees became the first private governing board to establish a general program of investigation for determining “whether doctrines which are subversive of…or which tend to encourage a spirit of disloyalty to the government of the United States, or the principles upon which it is founded, are taught and disseminated by the officers of the University.”

A Committee of Nine, consisting of five deans and four faculty members, was appointed to assist the trustees in determining the currents of university teaching on the Morningside campus. For university president Nicholas Murray Butler, a prewar ardent internationalist, loyalty now became synonymous with national patriotism. “Men who feel that their personal convictions require them to treat the mature opinion of the civilized world without respect or with contempt,” he wrote, “may well be given an opportunity to do so from a private station and without the added influence and prestige of a university’s name.” And then he added this stern warning: “This is the university’s last and only warning to any among us, if such there be, who are not with whole heart and mind and strength committed to fight with us to make the world safe for democracy.”

As a result, distinguished professors such as James McKeen Cattell, Leon Fraser, Henry R. Mussey, and Ellery C. Stowell were told to leave—while the eminent historian Charles Beard, who supported the war, resigned in protest over the dictatorial actions of the Columbia Board of Trustees and its president. Upon Beard’s resignation, Dewey somberly told a reporter for the New York Times, that “I regard the action of Professor Beard as the natural consequence of the degrading action of the trustees last week. I personally regret the loss to the university of such a scholarly man and teacher of such rare power.” Of course, Dewey, despite his own disappointment at Butler’s highhandedness, refused to follow Beard’s noble example and leave.

Columbia’s actions did not stand alone. From mid-1917 to the summer of 1918, accusations of disloyalty and disregard for academic freedom occurred on a number of campuses across the nation. In July 1917, for example, the Nebraska State Council of Defense submitted to the University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents a list of twelve professors who were accused by this organization of promoting indifference or opposition to the war. The Board of Regents conducted an investigation. The Board disclosed that three of the professors believed in internationalism, refused to promote the sale of liberty bonds, and openly criticized some of their more patriotic colleagues. After a Board trial those three professors—Clark E. Persinger, E.B. Hoyt, and G.W.A. Luckey—were given the courtesy to resign or otherwise be dismissed outright the following June.

The witch hunt was now well underway. Scott Nearing, the noted antiwar socialist and author of the pamphlet, The Great Madness, was fired from his position at the University of Toledo in 1917 for criticizing preparedness efforts. He was subsequently indicted for treason and later acquitted at trial in 1919. At the University of Virginia, Leon R. Whipple, Director of the School of Journalism, was charged with disloyalty for a speech he made on November 20, 1917, entitled, “The Meaning of Pacifism,” in which he declared that the war would not remove the specter of autocracy nor make the world safe for democracy. His alleged crime: he was a pacifist. After a trial by the state’s Board of Visitors, Whipple was given his pink slip.

In September 1917, the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents dismissed the chairman of its Political Science department, William A. Schaper, for stating that he did not wish to see the Hohenzollerns completely destroyed. In Maine, the Dean of the University’s law school was removed by the Board of Trustees in March of 1918, on the grounds that his lectures were tinged with pro-German sentiments. In the spring of 1918, when Department of Justice agents were roaming the streets of Ann Arbor, solely by coincidence, several University of Michigan faculty members were given the boot. An instructor of German at Vassar College, Miss Agatha Richrath, was arrested on charges that she believed the German invasion of Belgium was justified and the sinking of the Lusitania was because “the ship was carrying bullets for the murder of German fathers.” In April 1918, she was summarily dismissed and expeditiously replaced.

Although completely exonerated, moreover, professor of modern languages at small Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, E.A. Schimmel, was kidnapped from his apartment, tarred, and feathered by a local Knights of Liberty mob in the spring of 1918. For reasons unknown and rather awkwardly anyway, he foolishly managed to convince some locals that he was a spy; it did not help his case that he was of German ancestry.  J. J. Schlicker at Indiana State Teachers College, Terre Haute, was accused of pro-German sympathies and fired in 1918, despite obvious evidence that he was a loyal citizen; why he lost his position had more to do with his wife’s pacifism and his willingness to defend her personal beliefs. Cornell University was a bit more humanitarian; Henry W. Edgerton, a young professor of law, was granted an indefinite leave of absence in fall 1918, because he had registered as a conscientious objector.

In these instances and others not recorded, Trustees were wont to sanitize their college or university of any professor whose alleged loyalty was called into question. “Undoubtedly, a number of professors were suspended or dismissed to prove an institution’s loyalty,” historians H.C. Peterson and Gilbert Fite wrote some years ago. “Trustees were likely to get nervous,” they continued, “if they heard news reports of alleged disloyalty at their college or university.” Sadly, “It seemed to require the cleansing procedure of firing someone to show the community and the nation that their institution was properly nationalistic.”

AAUP

This was the concern, which, previous to these incidents, led to the founding of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1915. Its creation was designed to send a strong message to those seeking to limit free speech on campus as well as statements on political and social issues outside the classroom (“extramural speech”). Unfortunately, the war and pressures for conformity impeded its efforts in that regard as it publicly abandoned a position of neutrality and “gave its support to suppression of freedom in matters relating to the war.” University officials considered this a blank check to investigate suspected professors while also disregarding the organization’s statement regarding due process.

However, in light of the war experience, AAUP made it its mission to ensure professors’ free speech rights. At its inception, the AAUP issued a Declaration of Principles establishing guidelines for what constitutes academic freedom. The AAUP’s policy statement on “Academic Freedom in Wartime” specifically cautioned: “When charges are brought against a member of a college or university faculty upon any grounds…the person accused should be entitled to have the charges against him stated in writing in specific terms, and to have a fair trial on those charges before either the judicial committee of the faculty, or a joint committee composed of an equal number of professors and trustees.” Embarrassed by its failure to uphold its stated commitment to academic freedom and not long after the Red Scare had ended in 1920, another revised statement was completed in 1925: Conference Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure. It further reinforced the colleges and universities position on the principle of free speech.

World War II and After

In 1940, AAUP revised once more and put forth its “Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure,” which became the benchmark for interpreting how the First Amendment applies to college teachers. It strongly defended the right to free speech and protection for those college educators with respect to loyalty issues. During the Second World War, given that there was little dissent, loyalty and academic freedom matters did not collide with one notable exception.

That exception was the case of Teachers College, Columbia University professor George W. Hartmann. Hartmann was a full tenured professor of educational and social psychology. An avowed pacifist, Hartmann was one of the principal figures behind the Peace Now Movement, which proclaimed that an Allied military victory would not ensure a permanent peace unless accompanied by basic changes in the world power structure. It urged an immediate negotiated peace. In January 1944, Life Magazine ran a story allegedly implicating him as “a fascist, a jewbaiter, a seditionist and a traitor to the United States.” The negative publicity caused the university to dismiss him in May 1944; however, in December 1945, he was restored to his former position. Nevertheless, he sued Life on the grounds of libel but lost in the lower court as well as the Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit. Since he was restored to his former position the question of long-time financial loss became problematic. The psychological trauma this caused him, of course, cannot be calculated in terms of paper money and coins.

At the height of the post-World War II McCarthy scare and Korean War when many states began requiring teachers and other public employees to sign statements asserting they were not involved in any subversive groups a number of legal challenges were raised on First Amendment grounds. During this period the United States Supreme Court began to codify the notion of constitutional academic freedom, which gave greater legal protection to public college and university professors on the subject of loyalty oaths. Although it signaled an important victory for those in higher education it did not always guarantee that professors would not be held accountable by their employers in matters related to opposition to war. It would, of course, depend upon the college or university.

Vietnam War

That was indeed the case during the nation’s most controversial military engagement, the Vietnam War. While most readers may be under the impression that the 1950s and early 1960s Supreme Court rulings had finally settled the matter it was actually not the case. There were, in fact, some rare court rulings pertaining to college professors critical of the Vietnam War. In these instances, the results were mixed as in the cases of Colorado educator George Jones, Jr., Benjamin Stolberg in Connecticut, and Morris Starsky in Arizona. All three at the time were serving in tenure-track appointments but not yet afforded legal protections granted to their tenured colleagues. That, in and of itself, may be an instructive lesson for non-tenured professors who seek legal protection under the umbrella of academic freedom when criticizing U.S. military involvement.

In 1966, for instance, George Jones, Jr., former chairman of the philosophy department at Southern Colorado State College, was terminated. Jones, a pacifist, supported a student in his attempt to register for the draft as a conscientious objector, against his parents’ wishes. Jones filed a $300,000 lawsuit against the college president and board of trustees. In a 7-2 decision the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the federal judge’s ruling dismissing Jones on the grounds “that under Colorado statute, and apparently in the absence of a contractual provision or of tenure specifically provided by statute, the school and board of trustees has unlimited power to discharge teachers.” Jones was on a probationary appointment.

In contrast, an attempt was made to fire an assistant professor of Geography at Southern Connecticut State College. The Board of Trustees, at the behest of the college president Hilton C. Buley, fired Irving Stolberg because he had sent fellow faculty members an invitation to support a peace program and memorial service in New Haven. The court, in its decision, noted that Stolberg was unfairly discharged in retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights. In this instance, the burden was on the administration to prove the firing justified, which it had failed to do.

Interestingly, in the case of Morris Starsky at Arizona State University, he finally went to court in 1975 and sued the university after he found out that his dismissal in 1970 was due to the illegal efforts of the FBI and its COINTELPRO counterintelligence operation. Starsky, an assistant professor of philosophy who backed New Left activities on campus, was recommended for dismissal by the Faculty Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. When it was revealed in court documents that the committee had been set up by the FBI to discredit the New Left and used it to silence Starsky, a federal judge ruled that Starsky had been fired illegally and awarded him a $15,000 settlement. After his firing, he did receive another appointment at San Diego State University

Perhaps the most interesting case, however, involved a tenured professor, which was almost unheard of since almost all professors who were targeted for their antiwar views were non-tenured. This matter involved H. Bruce Franklin, an Associate Professor of English and recognized Melville scholar, at Stanford University, which was widely reported in the press. Franklin, who was an avowed Maoist and also a former Air Force officer, was terminated by Stanford in a 5-2 vote after leading a demonstration protesting the U.S. invasion of Laos, which ultimately led to a campus riot. Despite his academic stature, he did not land another job until three years later. However, in 1985, with the assistance of the ACLU he filed an appeal in the state of California to recoup his salary for the three years it took him to secure another position. However, the state Court of Appeals upheld Stanford’s decision to fire him.

In most cases, which turned out to be not unusual, non-tenured professors who lost their jobs because of their antiwar actions did not go the judicial route; among some of the more notable were Jessie Lemisch at the University of Chicago, who participated in an anti-draft sit-in (“convictions interfered with scholarship”), the pacifist historian Staughton Lynd at Yale, who participated in antiwar actions and teach-ins, Richard Flacks, a sociologist also at the University of Chicago, who was instrumental in leading the New University movement, economist and labor specialist Wells Keddie at Penn State, who help found the New University chapter on campus, and Charles Marxer, a visiting professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Nebraska auditioning for a tenure-track offer, who organized the Nebraska Draft Resistance Union. What accounts for this?

The reason was because boards of trustees were careful to argue that they stood behind a professor’s free speech rights but questioned their scholarship and service. Furthermore, most were able to find a new position due to a plethora of jobs nationwide during the heyday of college and university expansion. As one contemporary antiwar activist Richard Ohrmann of Wesleyan recounted, “The idea and practices of academic freedom protected a lot of dissent and resistance during those years. Few of the dissenters were fired, almost none de-tenured. Many lost jobs before tenure, then found other jobs.” Still, for those young, non-tenured professors, as well the minuscule fraction de-tenured, who felt that academic freedom should have protected them, regardless, receiving another appointment was of little consolation to their values and ideals.

Conclusion

The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly prompted widespread antiwar protest on college campuses and among professors. Historians also organized their own platform, Historians Against the War. However, while there have been cases litigated in the courts involving teachers who lost their positions for criticizing Iraq War 2, such has not been the case with professors in higher education. Despite what occurred during World War I and Vietnam, it appears that university and college administrators have finally recognized that the codification of academic freedom afforded professors is best left unchallenged when speaking truth to power. To a considerable extent, courts now have made it clear that freedom of inquiry and research and freedom of teaching are essential in a university setting for the advancement of knowledge and the discovery of truth. There is no “captive audience” given the legal definition of an adult in this instance. Yet can we be absolutely sure should another major conflict erupt? For non-tenured professors, especially, will loyalty, camouflaged as scholarship and service, be used as an instrument to circumvent free speech? Hopefully, time will not have to tell us.

SOURCES

Charles F. Howlett and Audrey Cohan, John Dewey, America’s Peace-Minded Educator (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2016)
Hans-Joerg Tiede, University Reform: the Founding of the American Association of University Professors (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015)
George T. Blakey, Historians on the Homefront: American Propagandists for the Great War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970)
George Creel, How We Advertised America (New York: Harper Bros., 1920); Geoffrey R. Stone, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime: From the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004)
Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, The Supreme Court, and Free Speech (New York: Viking Press, 1987)
Zechariah Chafee, Jr., Free Speech in the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941), and “Freedom of Speech in War Time,” Harvard Law Review 32 (1919), 928-41
Minutes of the Trustees of Columbia University, XXXVII (March 5, 1917), Special Collections, Butler Library, Columbia University
Nicholas Murray Butler, Scholarship and Service (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1921)
Nicholas Murray Butler, “Commencement Day Address, June 6, 1917, Nicholas Murray Butler Papers, Special collections, Butler Library, Columbia University
New York Times (October 9, 1917), 1
Walter P. Metzger, Academic Freedom in the Age of the University (New York: Columbia University Press, 1955)
David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980)
H.C. Peterson and Gilbert Fite, Opponents of War, 1917-1918 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1957), 102-109
“Trial of the Nebraska Professors, A Reflection,” Educational Review LVI (December 1918), 415-23
New York Tribune (April 30, 1918); William E. Matsen, “Professor William S. Schaper, War Hysteria and the Price of Academic Freedom,” Minnesota History 51, no. 4 (Winter 1988), 131-137
Carol Gruber, Mars and Minerva: World War I and the Uses of Higher Learning in America (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1976)
“The Professors in Battle Array,” Nation CVI (March 7, 1918), 255
“Academic Freedom in Wartime,” AAUP Bulletin (February-March 1918), 30-47
AAUP 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, http://aaup.org/report/1940-statement-principles-academic-freedom-and-tenure (retrieved 9/1/2017)
Hartmann v. American News Co. 171 F. 2d 581 (1948), and Glen Zeitzer and Charles F. Howlett, “Political Versus Religious Pacifism: the Peace Now Movement of 1943,” The Historian XLVIII, (3) (May 1986), 375-393
Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U.S. 485 (1952)
Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U.S. 183 (1952)
Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 345 U.S. 234 (1957)
Keyishian v. Bd. of Regents, 385 U.S. 589 (1967)
George Jones, Jr. v. Jesse Victor Hopper, and Board of Trustees, United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, March Term—1969, American Civil Liberties Papers, No. 1, 1970, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Princeton Universit
“Professor’s Dismissal Upheld in SCSC Case,” The Denver Post (May 20, 1969), 23
Stolberg v. Board of Trustees, 474 F. 2d 485 (2d Cir. 1973)
Carrie Deakin, “’A University Worthy of the Name’: Political Intellectuals and the New Left at Arizona State University,” http://nau/uploadedfiles/Academic/CAL/History/-Shared/Deakin%20pdf. (retrieved 10/10/2017)
Gus Archondo, “A Three-Part Analysis of the Antiwar Movement during the Vietnam War” (2016), http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/historydiss/88 (retrieved 10/10/2017) and “Apathy and Activism in the Heartland: The Antiwar Movement at the University of Nebraska, 1965-1970,” Peace & Change Vol. 42 (3) (July 2017), 383-409
Richard Ohrmann’s opinion piece, “Academic Freedom’s Best Days—Inside Higher Ed,” https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/04/19/academic-freedoms-best-days (retrieved 10/11/2017)
Kenneth J. Heineman, Campus Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities in the Vietnam Era (New York: New York University Press, 1993)
“The State,” LA Times, January 7, 1986 (retrieved 10/12/17)
Kenneth Lamont, “In the Matter of H. Bruce Franklin,” New York Times, January 23, 1972 (retrieved 10/12/17)
Rachelle Marshall, “The Bruce Franklin Affair,” The Progressive (May 1972), 27-29, https://wwwmarxist.org/hist/erol/mcm-1a/Franklin-affair.pdf (retrieved 10/11/2017).

 

Charles F. Howlett is Distinguished Professor of Education Emeritus, Molloy College

Bibliographic Guide to Conventional and Nuclear Armaments

by David Lincove

Readers of the Peace and Change blog who are interested in data sources of conventional and nuclear armaments will be interested in the bibliographic guide to key sources linked in this blog post.  In the guide, I link to the most extensive, systematic publications with statistical information compiled from publicly available sources.  Most are freely available on the internet.  The data sources are used to cite numerical information, often illustrated over a period of time, as evidence in research.  In addition, the sources generated studies assessing and comparing quantitative methodologies in armaments.  For example, after  UN Register of Conventional Arms became operational in 1992, researchers, such as Malcolm Chalmers, Siemon Wezeman, and Paul Holtom, studied its development and effectiveness to achieve its purpose of reducing secrecy and building confidence among nations to help maintain peace.  The internet has enhanced the public exposure of arms data, although the complications assessing and comparing the raw data from different countries limits its impact except for experts on armaments.

 

See “Key Sources of Multinational Data on Conventional and Nuclear ArmamentsReference and User Services Quarterly 58, 1(Fall 2018): 11-15 at 

 

Revisiting Peace Research in the 21st Century: Reflections on an Interdisciplinary Field with a Mission

By Harry Targ

Personal Reflections

As I grow older I ground more and more of my teaching and writing in the context of my own professional history. I studied journalism and political science in college in the late 1950s and earned a masters degree in political science in 1962. After short stints in the military and working for the social security administration, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in political science, achieved in 1967. Lacking a political vision much beyond liberalism and devoid of any practical political work, I thought being a professor would make a nice career.

The mid-1960s was a time of ferment. Brave young people, from the South and the North, launched a heroic campaign to end Jim Crow segregation in the South. From the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in August, 1964 authorizing President Johnson to escalate war in Southeast Asia, to the daily bombings over Vietnam (Operation Rolling Thunder) in 1965 to 540,000 troops in South Vietnam by 1968, struggles over the war in Vietnam and foreign policy, in general, enveloped the society. The 60s was a time also when the last vestiges of colonialism were being dismantled. Only Portuguese Africa resisted change as did white minority regimes in the former Rhodesia and South Africa. In the Western Hemisphere, the Cuban revolution represented the hope of humankind for the construction of a better world.

It was an exciting time to be alive, to become politicized, and to initiate a teaching and research career. I was drawn to the study of international relations and United States foreign policy within political science. 

 

Social Science Paradigms: Realism, Behavioralism, and Modernization

I had studied international relations, foreign policy, and diplomatic history in college. My “radical” teachers in college were critical of the foreign policies of presidents Truman and Eisenhower. They also condemned the most simplistic versions of the Cold War explanation of world affairs, and the overly zealous branding of all critics of United States foreign policy as being “communists.”

I was influenced by my professors to see the world through the lens of “the theory of political realism.” Foundational theorists who shaped the discourse on international relations included British historian E.H. Carr (1964), theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1947), retired diplomat George Kennan (1957), and political scientist Hans Morgenthau (1960). The theory of political realism they propounded drew upon the classical writings of ancestors such as Thucydides, St. Augustine, Thomas Hobbes, Machiavelli, and James Madison (see Dougherty and Pfaltzgraff, 1971). Each in their own way saw war and violence as emanating from human nature, drives for power, greed, and personal honor. In a world of each against all, military capabilities, “balances of power,” and other devices whereby the power of one could be checked by the power of another constituted the tools for muting, but never eliminating, war and violence.

The contemporary realists, for example, Kennan and Morgenthau were critics of United States foreign policy not because the U.S. was interventionist or because the American government had launched an arms race with the former Soviet Union but because these activities were defended in the name of promoting freedom and democracy rather than “national interest” and “security.” The problem with the anti-communist proclamations of the day and the promises of human liberation they articulated was that they were not achievable. There must be, the realists said, a fit between goals, rhetoric, and policy. And the number one goal that any nation must pursue is advancing national interest and security. In a world of perpetual violence, this was all that could be achieved.

While most instructors of undergraduate courses on international relations used Hans Morgenthau’s classic text, Politics Among Nations (it survived eleven editions), newer currents were emerging in the graduate study of international relations. Following the Soviet launch of Sputnik and an emerging U.S. cultural celebration of science, President Kennedy promised that an American would be on the moon by the end of the sixties. Perhaps most importantly because of the tilt in Defense Department policies and personnel from old-fashioned military wisdom to modern scientific management, the study of international relations began to shift toward the “scientific study of international relations.” Now, social science researchers needed to go beyond a description of political events and policies to explain them and predict future outcomes. The new study of international relations should embrace scientific techniques: posit hypotheses, operationalize them clearly by identifying variables that could be measured, and “test” the hypotheses by examining the data using statistical techniques. The behavioral science model became the dominant paradigm throughout the discipline of political science and significantly so in the study of international relations (Kaplan, 1966; Targ, 1983).

While several theories became fashionable in the study of international relations and comparative politics perhaps none would have a greater impact on social science and public policy than modernization theory (see Nils Gilman, 2003). Starting in the 1950s with various formulations of structural functionalism, leading social science scholars from Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Chicago developed a paradigm to explain why the “newly” independent nations of the world were experiencing birth pangs of violence and poverty, why they were not democracies, and why subversive elements, such as anti-regime guerrilla fighters, were actively trying to undermine development. The modernization theorists studied the development of Europe and North America and concluded that societies needed to develop secular middle-class societies, governed by leaders with scientific and technical training. At a certain stage, infrastructure development, middle-class formation, the professionalization of elites, and qualitative shifts from theological to scientific points of view would yield democratic political institutions. When scholars spoke about public affairs, many of them suggested that that process of modernization was what motivated an activist United States foreign policy.

Upon reflection then, the 1960s was a decade of political turmoil, on college campuses an awakening from the somnolence of the 50s, and in the larger world an escalation of the arms race, U.S. global interventionism, and the Vietnam war. Parallel to these political changes a new social science was emerging as institutions of higher education exploded in numbers, interest in social science expanded, and the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and other sources began to fund large-scale projects of relevance to international relations and development. In this context realism (although declining in popularity), behavioralism and modernization grew to dominate the study of international relations.

 

Discovering Peace Research  

 I wrote about these contradictory currents at the time (Targ, 1971, 207) suggesting thatstudents and young faculty have begun to re-evaluate the dominant motifs of scientific inquiry: the relationship of knowledge to U.S. foreign policy, the interaction of knowledge and social control, and the adequacy and/or inadequacy of knowledge as agenda and guide to social change.”

Energized by these impulses, as a student and young professor, my curiosity gravitated toward “peace research.” I was first attracted to two prominent journals; The Journal of Conflict Resolution, produced at the Center for Research on Conflict Resolution (CRCR) at the University of Michigan, and The Journal of Peace Research, the Institute for Peace Research, Oslo, Norway.

The JCR published articles that used the newer “scientific methods,” were theory and data-driven, and implied that the dynamics of  interpersonal, national, and international conflict might be similar or “isomorphic,” so that scholars might study conflict at these different levels of analysis to discover the underlying causes of conflict and violence. JCR had a distinguished list of contributors and editors representing psychology, social psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and mathematics.

The JPR initiated publication in 1964 with Johan Galtung as editor. In its first issue, Galtung described two possible worlds; one he referred to as a condition of General and Complete War (GCW). In this world, cooperation occurred within groups, but conflict characterized between-group interactions. Individual and group (and nation) actors were motivated totally by individualistic goals; identification was with self alone. In this state of GCW there were no effective constraints on the use of force.

Another possible condition, Galtung posited, was one of General and Complete Peace (GCP). This was a condition in which human integration prevailed, the harmony of individuals, groups, and nations was a characteristic feature of human existence, and violence was minimized. In this initial issue of JPR, Galtung declared that the peace research project was to study how to move from GCW to GCP (an end to violence and integration of human society). Peace research should study violence in its interpersonal, national, and international manifestations. It should address improving the human condition. It should be interdisciplinary, normative and futuristic as well. And, of course, the peace research project should use the latest of scientific techniques to study the movement from GCW to GCP.

The growth of influence of these journals paralleled the expansion of networks of professional peace research/peace studies associations. These included the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), the Canadian Peace Research Association, the Consortium on Peace Research Education and Development (COPRED), now the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA), and the Peace Science Society. Peace studies caucuses were created in professional associations including those of social psychologists, international relations scholars, and sociologists.

As I acquainted myself more with peace research I became aware of the intellectual and activist tradition from which it evolved. First, peace research evolved from a long history of peace education. Religious pacifists and peace activists long preached and taught about alternatives to violence. Peace education often developed in parallel with anti-war activism. From Congregational, Unitarian, and Quaker meetings to anti-slavery and anti-war movements in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, activists as different as Henry David Thoreau, Jane Addams, Mark Twain, and Eugene V. Debs wrote and spoke about peace.

Second, peace studies of various kinds evolved out of practical diplomatic achievements such as the Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907 which codified elements of international law. These were followed after World War I with the first academic curricula on international law.

Third, a body of peace research scholarship was published in the period from the 1930s to the 1960s that served as the model for the peace research tradition that followed.  David Mitrany, a British scholar, wrote A Working Peace System, in 1943, which analyzed the prospects for global integration based upon cross-national economic, social, and functional ties between peoples. He provided a framework that stimulated the study of regional “integration” in Europe, Africa, and Latin America in the 1960s.

Major data-based studies of war were published between 1940 and the late 1960s that dramatically advanced the idea that data on wars, their frequency, causes, and consequences could be accumulated such that various hypotheses relating these to each other could be tested. Quincy Wright, the political scientist, published a 2,000-page data-rich book on the history of war called A Study of War (1942). Lewis Richardson, a retired meteorologist, gathered data on wars from 1815 to 1945, Statistics of Deadly Quarrels (1960). Pitirim Sorokin’s four-volume, Social and Cultural Dynamics (1957), included historical data on internal and international wars over time, relating the frequency of such wars to cultural attributes. In the 1950s and 60s Rudolph Rummel gathered an array of data, from his Dimensionality of Nations Project (1968) as did long-time political scientist/peace researcher J. David Singer who published books and articles based on The Correlates of War Project (1972).

In addition to the rich history, peace research was increasingly stimulated by the recognition of the world’s greatest arms race, the growing danger of a nuclear war that could destroy humankind, and an intense global ideological struggle defined as between “communism” and “the free world.” The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists portrayed a clock with the hands estimating how close the world was to midnight, the hour of nuclear apocalypse. Each crisis would lead the editors of the journal to move the hands on the clock to the top of the hour.

 

Peace Research Battles: Traditionalists vs. Radicals

Despite the growing interest in peace research, dominant paradigms in international relations, political science, and history continued to reify power as the central concept driving political analysis. This was so even among those who had gravitated to peace research.

The world was understood as one dominated by two superpowers overseeing two competing power blocs. The bipolar world was a particular variant of the state system that was created in the seventeenth century. The ultimate units of analysis were separate and distinct nation-states. Since a few were always more powerful than all others, international relations became the study of powerful states.

For the most part, traditional peace researchers concerned themselves with the conflict between powerful states, particularly because of the danger of nuclear war. For them, conflict, therefore, was symmetrical, based on subjective factors such as misperceptions, misunderstandings, and miscommunications, and involved roughly equal adversaries. (The work of Roger Fisher and Charles Osgood on negotiations and strategies for de-escalating conflicts is relevant here (2010). Because of the arms race of the post-World War II period, then, they fashioned a peace research that was committed to conflict management or resolution among the big powers. Their goal was achieving negative peace or war avoidance.

For other peace researchers, this scholarly lens on the world seemed increasingly divorced from political reality (Eide, 1972). The dreams of human liberation that came with the rapid decolonization of the African continent were being derailed as what Kwame Nkrumah called “neo-colonialism” replaced formal colonialism. Gaps between rich and poor peoples and nations began their dramatic increase. Covert operations, military coups, big power interventions in poor countries increased. Wars ensued against peoples in South and East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. And multinational corporations were spreading their operations all across the globe, initiating the first great wave of outsourcing of production and jobs. For many Americans and Asians, the most wrenching experience of all these manifestations of global disarray was the Vietnam War.

In this historical context, radical peace researchers began to argue that our understanding of these phenomena required a significant paradigm shift. If we wanted to understand the world in order to change it we needed to break out of the state-centric, great powers, conflict management conception of international relations. We needed to develop theories and prescriptions that helped us understand the world we lived in so that we could work on the reduction of the enormous gaps between human potential and human actuality; and, therefore, structural violence.

These peace researchers called structural violence the difference between how humanity could live, secure in economic and social justice, versus how most people live. They asked questions about the structures and processes that prohibited the full realization of human possibility. Peace researchers also saw an inextricable connection between direct violence, or killing, which was the more traditional subject of peace research, and structural violence, which involved the institutionalization of human misery.

Further, they hypothesized that there were connections between imperialism, the workings of capitalism, patriarchy, institutionalized racism, social and economic injustice and both direct and structural violence.

More specifically, radical peace researchers began to see that both direct and structural violence resulted from a global political/economic/ and cultural system in which Centers of Power within and between countries controlled and exploited Periphery countries and people. A system of imperialism existed whereby ruling classes in core countries collaborated with ruling classes in peripheral countries to exploit masses of people. This was a system that had its roots in the rise of capitalism out of feudalism. It was a system of imperial rule. It was a system of patriarchy. It was a system of institutionalized racism. And wars were the result of struggles for imperial control and domination. Radical peace researchers borrowed ideas from dependency theory and grafted them onto traditional theories of imperialism to offer an alternative paradigm to the state-centric, power-driven model that dominated the academy and political punditry (Galtung, 1971).

 

Subsequent Developments in Peace Research and Peace Studies

 Since the 1960s there have been paradigmatic disputes in many of the social sciences and humanities. The title of an old book by Robert Lynd, poses the question that has been raised many times: “Knowledge for What?” (1970) Debates about values used in the selection of what to research and for what purposes surfaced in radical caucuses in philosophy, sociology, political science, history, psychology, and the modern language association. Also, debates were forthcoming in international studies about the substance of the field of study and the class/race/gender perspectives reflected in dominant paradigms.

Peace research/peace studies has grown particularly since the 1960s. Numerous journals addressing peace research have been produced. About 250 colleges and universities have undergraduate programs in peace studies. A few universities have peace studies or similarly defined graduate programs. International conferences, often organized under the aegis of IPRA, have been held all over the world and well-known peace research scholars from every continent have participated in academic conferences and published original research.

Some peace researchers have combined their interest in peace studies with parallel and equally interdisciplinary pursuits. Berenice Carroll, for example, has been a leading feminist scholar and while participating in the Committee on Peace Studies at Purdue University also served as the Chairperson of a graduate and undergraduate program in Women’s Studies.

Growth and development of peace studies from both research and educational standpoints has raised stark conceptual debates. Rank-ordering of tasks and other outstanding issues of dispute remain.

First, there has always been a tension between those who view the study of peace in higher education as primarily a scholarly task and those who see the research agenda for peace as ancillary to activism. In addition, different emphases have emerged between those who support research versus those who highlight teaching (including peace pedagogies from K through 12).

Second, there is a tension between those who see their work as principally empirical and others who argue for the centrality of normativity: basically debating whether research and teaching should address what is or what ought to be.

Third, the debate continues on foundational concepts: violence and peace. Particularly, peace researchers and activists split on whether priorities should be placed on issues of direct violence or structural violence. In addition, questions exist about whether the war problem can be resolved before we solve the social injustice problem.

Fourth, issues have been raised about the possible intersections that can be created between the peace research organizing concepts, violence and peace, and organizing concepts in Marxist, Feminist, and Critical Race theoretical literatures.

Fifth, sectors of the peace research community argue for a field of study that is framed by principles of non-violence. Analyses of what is, what should be, and how to get there, for these scholars and activists is derived from reflections on the literature of non-violence. Others emphasize the electoral arena and a few still draw upon the literature of revolution. In any case, many argue, peace researchers need to gather data and analyze social movements.

Sixth, the issues of dispute described above between “traditional” and “radical” research have not disappeared. Central to these is the place of conflict resolution and mediation as tools of peacebuilding.

Finally, peace studies programs, as with many interdisciplinary and non-traditional programs, are and will be under careful scrutiny because of the economic crisis in higher education. As major universities are required to shrink their budgets many have called for eliminating “frills” in the curriculum. “Frills”, it is understood, refer to liberal arts courses and particularly non-traditional and interdisciplinary programs. In addition, there have been rightwing attacks on all interdisciplinary programs by flamboyant opportunists such as David Horowitz. Three Indiana professors were named to Horowitz’s august list of the 101 most dangerous professors (2006). All three were affiliated with Peace Studies programs.

 

Where do we go from here?

For a young academic who was slowly drawn into the maelstrom of anti-war activities in the 1960s and as a young academic who desired to link his teaching and research to the activism of that point in time, peace research provided an intellectual anchor, a model for integrating theory and practice, and an academic community that could stimulate intellectual development. That tradition and the debates raised within it, such as what we mean by violence and peace, are as relevant today as in the past. We must organize to defend the viability of disciplines such as Peace Research as they are subject to various political attacks. In addition;

First, peace research must continue to be a model for engaged scholarship. It should draw upon issues of the reduction of violence, improving the human condition, and recognizing the potential strengths of the disempowered and should be guided by Berenice Carroll’s deconstruction of the “cult of power” and its replacement with a concept of empowerment (1972).

Second, we need in our scholarship to emphasize the centrality of workers, women, people of color, and all so-called marginalized people as shapers of history, or at least to recognize their role in creating history.

Third, we need to engage in research projects that might help individuals, groups, and classes gain self-confidence and strength in their social projects.

Four, we need to extend our scholarship to the study and celebration of those who have chosen the path to empowerment and the evaluation of their relative successes and failures. This would not be an exercise in romanticism but rather an exercise in developing a more sophisticated understanding of history and change.

Five, we need to build our theories and our research skills through active engagement in the process of social change. Theoretical validation comes from engagement, not withdrawal.

Six, we need to relate models of empowerment to all sectors of society. We cannot embrace the issue of competence, strength, and self-actualization for one constituency and use traditional models of domination to try to understand other parallel constituencies. Here is where understanding the connections between class, race, and gender play a particularly important role.

Finally, peace research and activism should broaden its lens on the world to explore and assess movements for radical change everywhere, including the broad array of movements arising in the Global South. Also, we need to reflect on the global significance of non-national indigenous movements, cross-national forms of worker and women’s organizations, and the exciting array of new campaigns around land and factory occupations. Perhaps most of all we need to assess the theory and practice of what is called 21st-century socialism.

 

References

Carr, E.H. The Twenty Years’ Crisis: 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations, Harper and Row, 1964.

Carroll, Berenice, “Peace Research: The Cult of Power,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution, No. 4, December, 1972, 585-617.

Deutsch, Karl. W, the analysis of International Relations, Prentice-Hall, 1968.

Dougherty, James and Robert  Pfaltzgraff, Contending Theories of International Relations, Lippincott, 1971.

Eide, Asbjorn, “Dialogue and Confrontation in Europe,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution, No. 4, December, 1972, 511-523.

Fisher, Roger, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, “Getting to Yes,” in  David Barash ed. Approaches to Peace, oxford Press, 2010, 71-78.

Galtung, Johan, “A Structural Theory of Imperialism,” Journal of Peace Research, No. 2, 1971, 81-119.

Gilman, Nils, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America, Johns Hopkins, 2003.

Kaplan, Morton, “The New Great Debate: Traditionalism vs. Science in International Relations,”  World Politics, October, 1966.

Kennan, George, American Diplomacy, 1900-1950, Mentor, 1957.

Lynd, Robert, Knowledge for What?  Princeton University Press, 1970.

Mitrany, David, A Working Peace System, Quadrangle, 1966.

Morgenthau, Hans, Politics Among Nations, Knopf, 1960.

Niebuhr, Reinhold, Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics, Scribners, 1947.

Osgood, Charles, “Disarmament Demands GRIT,” in David Barash ed. Approaches to Peace, Oxford, 2010, 78-83.

Richardson, Lewis, Statistics of Deadly Quarrels, Quadrangle, 1960.

Rummel Rudolph, “The Relationship Between  National Attributes and Foreign Conflict Behavior,” in J.David Singer ed., Quantitative International Politics: Insights and Evidence, Free Press, 1968.

Singer, J.David and Melvin Small, The Wages of War 1816-1965, A Statistical Handbook, John Wiley, 1972.

 Sorokin, Pitirim, Social and Cultural Dynamics, Porter Sargent, 1957.

Targ, Harry R., International Relations in a World of Imperialism and Class Struggle, Schenkman, 1983.

Targ, Harry R., “Social Science and a New Social Order,” Journal of Peace Research, No. 3, 1971.

Wright, Quincy, A Study of War, University of Chicago, 1942.

 

Harry Targ is Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of the Committee on Peace Studies at Purdue University. 

BURNS AND NOVICK, MASTERS OF FALSE BALANCING

By Jerry Lembcke

This article was originally published on Public Books.

When Karl Marlantes takes the screen during the new PBS film series The Vietnam War, he says coming home was nearly as traumatic as the war itself. Later, he describes being assaulted by protesters at the airport, invoking the image of spat-on Vietnam veterans, an image that Los Angeles Times editorial writer Michael McGough said in 2012 was based on a myth. An edifying myth, McGough called it, but still a myth.

With The Vietnam War, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick have created a film that rehashes some old, tired tropes. In doing so, they distort what soldiers, veterans, and antiwar activists alike know about the war and its aftermath, especially inside the United States.

In their May 29 New York Times op-ed advertisement for the series, Burns and Novick give a lofty rationale for their film. Succumbing to another cliché, they claim it is about healing. But the discourse of healing misleads as much as it informs, presupposing a prewar America that was a seamless unity, where everyone got along. As sociologist Keith Beattie showed in his 1998 book The Scar That Binds: American Culture and the Vietnam War, that America was mythical. The real one was already torn by racism and McCarthyism, and frayed by modern technology. Domestic class conflict and racial and gender anxieties, too, continued right through the war, as the historian Milton Bates pointed out in his 1996 book The Wars We Took to Vietnam.

That fractured America was complicit in its going to war, not simply a passive victim of it. Burns and Novick intentionally exclude scholars like Beattie and Bates, however. “No historians or other expert talking heads” mar their film, they told the Times’s reviewer Jennifer Schuessler. “Instead,” Schuessler reports matter-of-factly, their “79 onscreen interviews give the ground-up view of the war from the mostly ordinary people who lived through it.”

Ground-up views are susceptible, especially after 40 years, to the very myths they are supposed to belie. Memories that are 40 years old are too influenced by movies, novels, newspapers, and television—or those dreaded historians—to count for documentation. Lawyers, judges, and courts concluded years ago that eyewitness accounts of crimes that are only hours old are unreliable—so, 40 years? Or 50? In the hands of filmmakers, however, such accounts are too easily and too often used as a veneer to manage viewer perceptions.1 Here Burns and Novick offer false equivalences, or “balance” in journalistic parlance. In promoting healing instead of the search for truth, The Vietnam War offers misleading comforts.

The contradictions of The Vietnam War pile up from the start. Its creators might claim a ground-up view—and the film does give us lot of grunt-level footage, like Marines in rice paddies and GIs jumping out of helicopters—but the prevailing interpretations of these scenes come from elites. Some of these notables would be better cast into confessional booths than onto PBS screens, too. For example, John Negroponte, a prominent interpreter in the film, used diplomatic appointments as cover for covert activities over a half-century of US-engineered (or –attempted) regime-change operations.

Just over 30 years old when he began his Vietnam assignment, Negroponte developed a reputation as a “hardliner” in negotiations to end the war in Vietnam, once breaking with his superior officer Henry Kissinger for making too many concessions to communist North Vietnam. Later in his life, he took lessons from Vietnam to America’s adventures across the world. As ambassador to Honduras between 1981 and 1985, Negroponte built the small and friendly nation into a bustling military platform for cross-border operations against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua; when popular opposition to the US military presence in Honduras arose, he enabled and covered for the murderous death squads of General Gustavo Álvarez Martínez, a graduate of the US Army School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia. As a delegate to the United Nations in the early 2000s, he helped sell the invasion of Iraq on the false claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Once characterized by journalist Stephen Kinzer as “a great fabulist,” Negroponte’s prominence in The Vietnam War will have viewers of many political stripes scratching their heads.

A historical documentary in search of consensus, The Vietnam War indulges in Cold War common sense. It pits East against West and the United States against Communism. It could have been made in the 1980s. More recent scholarship might have provided a fresher frame and more comprehensive account of the war. For instance, Gareth Porter, in his 2005 Perils of Dominance, argues that the US stepped into a swamp of local-level conflicts, where East-West ideological tensions were largely irrelevant. Philip Catton’s 2002 Diem’s Final Failure and Philip Taylor’s 2001 Fragments of the Present put peasant-landlord conflicts characteristic of Vietnam’s disintegrating feudal system on the research agenda. Had they brought to life this new thinking about the war, Burns and Novick would have made a more enduring contribution.

Instead, The Vietnam War gives us a throwback to the days when fighting the Communist bogeyman justified all manner of US military intervention. The film is organized around a drumbeat of the Communists did this, the Communists did that—Communist aggression, Communist assassinations, Communists kill their enemy wounded. A former Vietnamese officer describes a 1970 battle as setting the “good” Vietnamese against “the worst of the Vietnamese … the Communists.”

Antiwar activists, anxious about how the movement is treated, will be among the most eager viewers of The Vietnam War, but they will find only cool acknowledgment and some common misrepresentations. War opponent Bill Zimmerman provides one of the most thoughtful and sincere interviews in the film; war veteran W. D. Ehrhart, now a well-published poet, mans up with a touching recollection of his participation in an atrocity; veteran and author Tim O’Brien talks about his own “failure of nerve” when faced with the option of resisting the military, reads from his 1990 novel The Things They Carried, and slams the legal proceedings that allowed the My Lai murderers to go unpunished.

We get the inspiring story of Jack Todd, who dutifully followed other men in his family into the army but later deserts from Fort Lewis, Washington, and goes to Canada; and of Valerie Kushner, who comes out against the war and endorses peace candidate George McGovern for president while her husband, Hal, is still held as a POW in Hanoi. But if you think these paeans to the peacemakers put Marlantes’s betrayal fantasies behind us, think again.

Burns and Novick are the masters of false balancing, the technique of countering one story line with another to create the impression of objective evenhandedness. The same good-guy, bad-guy lens through which the war was viewed also filtered perceptions of the antiwar movement at home. Jack Todd is one of 30,000 Americans who deserted to Canada but, we are reassured, 30,000 Canadians volunteered to go to Vietnam. Never mind that, by other estimates, over 100,000 Americans are estimated to have gone to Canada during the war. The first figure apparently called for such dubious balancing because, as we later learn, Todd regrets having renounced his US citizenship.

The one-dimensional picture of draft resisters in Canada that the film paints would have become fuller and more nuanced had the filmmakers consulted John Hagen’s 2001 book Northern Passage: American War Resisters in Canada. In it, Hagen shows that group to be full of highly creative and capable young men, most of them model citizens in Canada, recognized for their contributions to education, politics, and the arts. We have to wonder, though, if the clarity of scholarship might have conflicted with the message Burns and Novick wanted to send.

Valerie Kushner appears to be a strong and principled fighter for peace—a challenging image to “balance.” But Burns and Novick are up to the task of turning her resistance inside out. They assert, with no supporting evidence, that Kushner was “exploited” by the North Vietnamese, and take at face value the claim of husband Hal, returning from captivity, to have been shocked at the sight of American girls in miniskirts.When the couple’s marriage dissolves, Valerie Kushner comes out looking, well, not so good.

This is how mythmaking works. The film goes directly from the Valerie Kushner story to “Hanoi Jane,” to, er … the opening scene of the 1968’s Barbarella, where we see Jane Fonda as the underdressed namesake of the film. This clumsy invocation of the femme fatales of wartime perfidy running across the millennia—from Lysistrata to Malinche, Mata Hari to Tokyo Rose—if the reminder is needed, helps build the gendered narrative of the war being lost to home front weakness, our POWs forsaken and forgotten, and troops returning from Vietnam scorned by protesters, and spat on by girls.

Some veteran protesters receive better treatment in the film, including those associated with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The group’s 1971 medal-turn-in ceremony is treated well, but Andrew Hunt’s 1999 The Turning: A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War would have provided documentation, as would have the testimony of founders like Jan Barry or leaders like Barry Romo, who went to Hanoi with a peace delegation in 1972. Donald Duncan, the Green Beret who “quit” the Army in protest of the war in 1965, inspiring many others to do the same, is missing from the story, and that’s a shame.

By the end of the film, even the glimpses we’ve been given of veterans politicized and empowered by their time in Vietnam are overridden by victim veteran imagery—itself a stand-in for the America that was wounded and left traumatized by the war. The Vietnam War echoes Jimmy Carter’s “mutual destruction” thesis that Vietnam and the United States were equally damaged by the conflict, and its final scenes leave little doubt that the injury to America was inflicted by its own people, not the Vietnamese. With “The Wall” as backdrop, we hear “Bridge over Troubled Water” and Columbia University student activist, now housing lawyer, Nancy Biberman’s repentance for calling veterans “baby killers”—another trope attributed to the antiwar movement for which there is no supporting evidence.

Stories that Vietnam veterans were called “baby killers” are now as common as the spitting stories. They seem to fill some need for the people who tell and believe them. Perhaps it is a need for conformity to the now-dominant narratives about the war and those who opposed it, or guilt that the war was fought by those less privileged than those who fought against it. Whatever the reason, the stories keep alive the idea that the war could have been won if home front support had not wavered—and that wars like it can be won in the future if We the People stay loyal to the mission.

  1. For a masterful classic book that employs interviews, see Christian Appy’s Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered from All Sides (Viking, 2003).
  2. Such claims contributed to the myth that POWs were kept isolated and psychologically fixed in a (mythical) prewar innocence that was then shattered when they returned home. In fact, most of the POWs were shot down after miniskirts had become fashionable; and even while they were captives, the North Vietnamese made American news magazines available to them.

Featured Image: Operation “Yellowstone” Vietnam: Following a hard day, a few members of Company “A,” 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (Mechanized), 25th Infantry Division, gather around a guitar player and sing a few songs (January 18, 1968) (detail). National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD