2011 Conflict Analysis



The lens through which International Relations and International Conflict can best be understood is one where Conflict is viewed as a Crisis in Human Interaction. Whereas resources, power and identity all contribute to the dynamics of conflict, the focus in studying international relations needs to be on the changing dynamics of interaction as the interaction unfolds between and among individuals, groups or nation states.

The definition of Conflict as a Crisis in Human Interaction derives from the work of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, especially the writings of Robert Baruch Bush and Joseph Folger. This theory of conflict goes beyond those that emphasize or focus only on satisfying individual or competing needs, leveraging power or focusing on legal rights.

Two key elements shape and influence the quality of human interaction- Empowerment and Recognition. Empowerment speaks to the extent to which individuals or groups have influence, clarity, resources or choices available to them. Recognition speaks to the experience of being heard, listened to, understood and included in the process of change. Where interaction provides opportunities for empowerment and recognition, positive shifts in the interaction can be expected; where either empowerment or recognition opportunities are limited or denied all together, there results a negative shift in the interaction.

What is revealed to you in the set Camcast video clips, below, are specific examples and discussions relating to shifting dynamics of interaction. As you watch, look for opportunities where empowerment and recognition have been supported or denied. How is the interaction between and among parties in conflict impacted?

It is our relatING that will shape our relatIONS. Conflict Analysis opens our eyes to the dynamics of empowerment and recognition at work. In his book, Building Peace, John Paul Lederach explains that “The relational dimension involves the emotional and psychological aspects of conflict and the need to recognize past grievances and explore future interdependence.”

Conflict Analysis Video Links


Rip in neo-colonial fabric, Chas Freeman

China-India-Pakistan, Chas Freeman

Healing tensions: Business expansion, Chas Freeman

Enemies to replace Soviet Union?, Chas Freeman

China becoming like the US, Chas Freeman

Nuclear dimension in Asia, Chas Freeman

Bilateral vs. Multilateral decision making, Tom Pickering

Role of the US in Israel/Palestine, Tom Pickering

Conflict with Iraq and its ramifications, Tom Pickering

Central Asia: Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tom Pickering

Study Guide for Conflict Analysis

1. What is the nature of Conflict?
2. What is supportive of reconciliation?
3. To what extent does the US contribute to conciliatory or military solutions?
4. What is Peace?
5. How do voice and choice contribute to conflict turning out positively or negatively?
6. What methods or strategies contribute to conflict turning out positively or negatively?

The 2011 Educator’s Guide is funded by the Camden National Bank.