Global Warfare And Armament

Conflict escalation by Friedrich Glasl

Conflict escalation by Friedrich Glasl


Conflict escalation and mediation


When I was in school, studying construction management, I learned to mediate conflicts. Believe you me, there are plenty of conflicts on a construction site. The parties varied from client to contractor and labourers from all kinds of backgrounds, mostly nationalities were a problem... To prevent and/or solve these conflicts, it was first ecessary to understand how conflicts escalate, when it became necessary to mediate and how.

source Glasl model: Wikipedia

It is interesting to note that many different kinds of conflict can be thus analysed: divorces, conflicts between colleagues and school children, and also conflicts between states.


1st Level (Win–Win)

Stage 1 – Tension
Conflicts start with tensions, e.g. the occasional clash of opinions. This is a common occurrence and is not perceived as the start of a conflict. However, if a conflict should result the positions become more fundamental. The conflict could have deeper causes.

Stage 2 – Debate
From now on the conflict parties consider strategies to convince the counterparty of their arguments. Differences of opinion lead to a dispute. The parties try to put each other under pressure and think in terms of black and white.

Stage 3 – Actions instead of words
The conflict parties increase the pressure on each other in order to assert their own opinion. Discussions are broken off. No more verbal communication takes place and the conflict is increasingly acerbated. Sympathy for "them" disappears.


2nd Level (Win–Lose)

Stage 4 – Coalitions
The conflict is acerbated by the search for sympathisers for one's cause. Believing one has right on one's side, one can denounce the opponent. The issue is no longer important: one has to win the conflict so that the opponent loses.

Stage 5 – Loss of face
The opponent is to be denigrated by innuendo and such like. The loss of trust is complete. Loss of face means in this sense the loss of moral credibility.

Stage 6 – Threat strategies
The conflict parties try to gain absolute control by issuing threats which demonstrate their own power. One threatens, for example, with a demand (10 million euros) which is enforced by a sanction ("otherwise I′ll blow up your main building") and underlined by the potential for sanction (showing the explosive). The proportions decide the credibility of the threat.


3rd Level (Lose–Lose)

Stage 7 – Limited destruction
One tries to severely damage the opponent with all the tricks at one's disposal. The opponent is no longer regarded as human. From now on, limited personal loss is seen as a gain if the damage to the opponent is greater.

Stage 8 – Total annihilation
The opponent is to be annihilated by all means.

Stage 9 – Together into the abyss
From this point personal annihilation is accepted in order to defeat the opponent.


Strategies for de-escalation and conflict solution.
The model describes how two parties in a conflict behave. Solutions leading to de-escalation are not immediately apparent in this model, particularly when it appears to both conflict parties impossible to reverse the situation (e.g. an aggressive act on the territory of a state, separation of a common child from the other parent, withdrawal of nationality by a state, mass redundancy to improve shareholder value), or when one party selects conflict escalation as a strategic ploy.

To achieve de-escalation Glasl assigns the following strategic models to the different stages of escalation:

Stage 1–3: mediation
Stage 3–5: process guidance
Stage 4–6: sociotherapeutic process guidance
Stage 5–7: intercession, intermediation
Stage 6–8: arbitration, court action
Stage 7–9: forcible intervention

The ability to recognise and eliminate conflict-nourishing forces in a culturally neutral and non-judgemental fashion in order to de-escalate a conflict is highly advantageous in particular for managers, consultants and social workers.


Back to global armed conflict

The human race spends $1'700'000'000'000---/A globally, that's 1'700 Billions per year on trying to annihilate itself. 

This number only represents spending on armament and operating the armed forces.
If we imagine for a moment what the freed up manpower, resources and funds worldwide could accomplish, once personnel is reeducated and trained in other, productive fields in society, the worlds population would stabilise and gain enormously from an end of international violence.
Also, an increased level of education worldwide would bring down the rate of reproduction, thus reducing the threat of overpopulation. Industrialised nations generally reproduce much slower than third world nations.
Resources and manpower could be redirected efficiently from warfare to counteract the climate crisis and for the development of sustainable energy sources.
If space exploration remains a serious endeavour that a majority of citizens favour, than resources and manpower could be redirected from the abolished warfare towards that end.


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