Despite claims of significant technological and economic progress the world is plagued by small wars where 95% of which 90% are caused by small arms. It raises questions on whether the world has not been unable to create constructive ways to address political differences; or is existing systems and structures too limited to meet aspirations of all peoples? Or, are the ‘politics of silence’ forcing people to be passive accomplices in inflicting human suffering in order to become more humane? Either way, it is certain that most states do not have the political will to implement in spirit various declarations, treaties and covenants that call for the equal rights of all peoples and nations.
State pragmatism and ‘real politik’, not popular consent, still continues to determine the fate and destiny of peoples and nations. Ironically the universe of values that emancipated the world from feudalism and colonialism is equally responsible in holding captive the determining will of people. The theory of modernization failed as people continue to languish under artificial boundaries imposed without consultation by departing colonial powers. In due process, ‘state-building’ has destroyed ‘nations.’
The competition in pursuit of gain, desire of safety and yearning for recognition continues to be the underlying issues for political strife. Self-instinct for survival causes quest for power; thus humankind is perpetually compelled to seek power. The ‘fear of death’ causes war and ‘survival’ compacts for peace.
When people are struggling for peace, it actually means justice, because genuine peace exists only in the presence of truth, justice and mercy. Invariably, when the ‘powers that be’ talk about peace without justice, it means people should “suffer peacefully.” Peace is a revolutionary process that revolutionizes political interaction and just relation.
In present ‘real politik,’ peace has its values and principles and with the growth of ‘liberal democracy,’ modern scholars are propounding the theory of ‘peacebuilding’ and ‘statebuilding’ as interchangeable concepts. This logic profoundly defies the basic principles of natural rights. It is the nature of state to go to war because it attains its legitimacy through ‘force and integration.’ Therefore if ‘peacebuilding’ and ‘statebuilding’ are interchangeable, will it be fair to say that ‘war’ and ‘peace’ are interchangeable? If so, why are peace conditions visualized as ‘absence of war’ and war as ‘absence of peace?’ If peace is only in the mirror of war, can we say then that war is the natural condition; and that peace is what authority brings about?
Modern state has tragically monopolized war and peace. Peace has been limited by the state to conditions that involves pattern of domination, and by technologies that make war a permanent feature in today’s world. Human history is a history of war and not of peace; thus critical attention must turn to the question of that history.