HomePoliticsopenDemocracy review The Fog of Peace

openDemocracy review The Fog of Peace

Paul Rogers, the international security editor at openDemocracy, has described The Fog of Peace as an ‘exceptional book authored by two experts in the domain.’

Gabrielle Rifkind and Giandomenico Picco’s book, “The Fog of Peace,” underscores the pressing importance of conflict resolution in tackling global issues, ranging from situations in Ukraine and Iran to addressing the challenges posed by entities like the Islamic State.

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Paul Rogers’ Review of “The Fog of Peace”

In his review for Open Democracy, Paul Rogers underscores the book’s provision of a timely toolkit of ideas aimed at facilitating conflict resolution for all parties involved. Despite being penned prior to the emergence of the Islamic State in June 2014, Rogers notes its continued relevance in addressing and confronting the challenges posed by this modern manifestation of the al-Qaeda worldview.

Rogers’ review further elaborates on this point:

The central thesis of “The Fog of Peace” is clear: the critical component in the conflict-resolution process, often overlooked, is for adversaries to comprehend each other as individuals. Similarly, this entails understanding their cultural backgrounds, histories, and personal experiences and recognizing the aspirations and grievances that shape their perspectives. Further, the authors cite former US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who, despite overseeing tumultuous years during the Vietnam War, advocated for a profound shift in approach to conflict resolution, emphasizing the need to empathize with adversaries and perceive situations from their standpoint in order to grasp the motivations behind their decisions and actions.

Understanding the perspectives of conflicting parties is crucial for reconciling differences, particularly following significant violence. However, it’s equally important for mediators to acknowledge their own biases, preconceptions, and cultural contexts. The authors raise a poignant question for participants from Western cultures, questioning whether it’s feasible for Western governments to shift away from their entrenched certainties, wherein they perceive themselves as champions of universal good.

Read the review in full at openDemocracy.

fog of peace

Gabrielle Rifkind, immersed in the politics of the Middle East, directs the Middle East program at Oxford Research Group, specializing in conflict resolution as a group analyst. Giandomenico Picco, a former UN official with over two decades of service, led UN initiatives resulting in the release of numerous Western hostages from Lebanon and the agreement that concluded the Iran-Iraq war.


Prakriti Paudel
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