Between Doubt & Certainty

The tension between doubt and certainty has come to dominate any peace initiative – in different sphere of life – and it would not be wrong to say that such peace initiatives continuously swing between doubt and certainty. In some aspects these two elements have actually acquired center stage and to an extent become the determining factor. While it must be recognized that every peace initiative goes through this tension, it must also be acknowledged that any peace initiative that is overwhelmingly burdened by this tension, is likely to fail in realizing its intended objective.
It is only quite natural that one seeks certainty even though often plagued by doubts and apprehensions. Experts claim that the experience of doubt is uncomfortable, while the experience of certainty is much more pleasant, and hence people continuously seek certainty in order to avoid the pain of doubt. This brings forth the technical complexities and elements of difficulty involved in peace initiatives, while also emphasizing on the mental endurance required to overcome such challenges.       
Any party entering into a peace initiative ensures that it has already achieved a measure of certainty with regard to the position they are taking and that certainty is strengthened by all forms of considerations. However, the nature of peace initiative which demands at least a minimal shift from its original position involves movement from a well entrenched position into a position of doubt. The organic tension between doubt and certainty is unavoidable in the search for peace. In fact, in an ironic way, when negotiating parties have the political will to overcome this tension, the result assumes higher sustainability.
Perhaps a peace initiative becomes most vulnerable when the shift in position is in motion. The process of moving from one position to another is taxing and usually, the parties, after they have moved into their new position dig in with all considerations to achieve a degree of certainty in the new position that they have now assumed. Most peace initiatives actually demand that the parties involved many have to shift their positions many times before they actually find themselves in an area of possible agreement.
The swing between doubt and certainty is inevitable and therefore that is why parties often choose to resort to conflict, because it is possible to engage in conflict without having to change ones position or experience the inherent tensions involved while making the shift in position, which is essential for an agreement. The possibilities of shifting from one position to another are however dependent on the question of power, and whether the peace initiative manifest equal power or power imbalance between the parties involved.
Considering that most protracted conflicts are riddled with gross power imbalance, the possibilities of shifting positions becomes more difficult and is further compounded because of the degree of internalization and personalization that has already occurred among the parties. There is therefore already a very strong polarized view of the reality with attached emotional attitudes to the issues, to such an extent, that any shift from the original position may not be perceived well. Hence, all peace initiative has an internal and an external aspect; and are crucial that both these aspects are addressed constructively.  
The intervention of a third party in such situations of polarized positions and power imbalance is essential and a necessity for the successful realization of an agreement. Such interventions should be in a position to discern and cover all aspects of the peace initiative and more fundamentally to ensure that the power imbalance does not override the credibility of the peace initiative and to assist the parties in overcoming the tension between doubt and certainty. In essence, such interventions should provide stability and to provide a healing experience to the process, rather than allowing the peace initiative to confine itself to a highly legal, technical and institutionalized process, which often bears scant resemblance to reality.  
In the end, the manner in which the tension between doubt and certainty is addressed, will define the outcome of peace initiatives!