Author’s take

John Gittings

Author’s take - John GittingsHow can we raise the profile of peace?  This is a central theme of my new book THE GLORIOUS ART OF PEACE (Oxford University Press) which traces the history of peace thought and argument from ancient times to today.  There is a marked contrast between the vibrant field of peace research, which is growing by the year, and its visibility in the media and public perception. For example, the BBC news programmes almost never invite a Professor of Peace Studies to comment on issues of war and peace, while they constantly rely on war professors and think tank experts. Check out the paucity of peace literature on the shelves of your leading bookshop – even the latest titles usually have to be ordered. Erasmus, in contrast to his contemporary Machiavelli, is barely known. Kant is dismissed as an idealist for his “Perpetual Peace”  if it is mentioned at all. Recent biographers of Victor Hugo and Tolstoy have paid more attention to their views on sex than on peace. The inter-war peace movements which supported collective action by the League of Nations are often lumped together with appeasement. The role of anti-nuclear public opinion in the 1960s to 1980s in pushing nuclear-state leaders towards negotiation and restraint is played down (fortunately the gap has been filled by Lawrence Wittner). Today, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Crisis, many people in the International Relations business are still reluctant to acknowledge  how close the world came to destruction (in which case, who would have “won” the cold war?)  The threat of conflict over Iran will take us into more dangerously uncharted territory. Though much has already been done, do we not need to build more bridges between peace, justice, development and environment issues both in scholarship and activism?

Source : PCDN Network

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