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(Slate)   Cease-fires only make things worse, because it gives both sides time to plan deadlier attacks   (slate.com) divider line 49
    More: Obvious, cease-fire, Juba, civilian population, South Sudanese, Addis Ababa, mediator variable  
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2906 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Feb 2014 at 10:32 AM (35 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



49 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-02-17 10:38:08 AM  
Peace is that historic moment in time, where everyone stands around, reloading.
 
2014-02-17 10:38:13 AM  
What is the significance of a cowboy hat in South Sudan?  He's after the rustlers?
 
2014-02-17 10:42:59 AM  

zimbomba63: What is the significance of a cowboy hat in South Sudan?  He's after the rustlers?


img.fark.net
 
2014-02-17 10:43:04 AM  
Best Korea agrees!
 
2014-02-17 10:46:11 AM  
It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.
 
2014-02-17 10:46:26 AM  
Excluding some obvious exceptions, every single war in modern history has ended with a cease fire. While there are certainly examples of the conflict reigniting afterwards, the far more likely outcome is peace. So, basically your thesis sucks.

DNRTFA
 
2014-02-17 10:47:11 AM  
So we should never stop shooting.
 
2014-02-17 10:50:39 AM  

Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.


Punished with more war? I think that rule is already in place.
 
2014-02-17 10:50:59 AM  

Satanic_Hamster: So we should never stop shooting.


C'mon, you know it's just a waste of time.  They start arguing over who's going to sit where at the peace table and the boys get antsy and start shooting again.
 
2014-02-17 10:55:18 AM  
Cease fires are the only way to eventually get to true peace, which ONLY comes about after a negotiated settlement. The guns have to stop while people talk.
 
2014-02-17 10:58:47 AM  
You don't call a cease fire until you've won the fight.
 
2014-02-17 11:03:11 AM  
The gist of the author's argument is that a cease fire is not the same as a lasting peace.  It is not a conclusion.  It merely stalls the conflict, giving each side time to recover from their losses.  It's analogous to the short breaks boxers get between rounds.  Boxing matches are broken into rounds separated by breaks precisely to prolong the fight for the pleasure of the audience.  If you eliminate the breaks, then the fight comes to a quicker conclusion.  It might even reduce the injury to the boxer, as the loser succumbs to exhaustion rather than injury.
 
2014-02-17 11:03:30 AM  
Best Korea is a great example of this. They do something stupid, get their ass kicked, and a cease-fire is agreed upon. Then they rearm and do it all over again!
 
2014-02-17 11:04:00 AM  
Congress is not in session right now.  That's bad for Oba... well, everybody?
 
2014-02-17 11:05:03 AM  

studebaker hoch: You don't call a cease fire until you've won the fight.


If you are calling for a cease fire, you haven't won.  When you win a fight, the other side stops fighting voluntarily.
 
2014-02-17 11:14:35 AM  
In general cease fires aren't planned by those that are firing, they are planned by the generals well behind the front lines who are always planning whether their is fighting or not.


/dnrtfa
 
2014-02-17 11:14:43 AM  

EdgeRunner: Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.

Punished with more war? I think that rule is already in place.


1. The current state of affairs usually means that attacks on civilians by one side are retaliated against through attacks on civilians by the other side.  This does not actually constitute punishment because often the political / military leaders don't really care about civilian losses.  Intervention by the UN or a regional group like the African Union (which has had some successes in places like Somalia) would have the ability to retaliate against military targets such as bases or weapons depots.

2. The warring parties might be more afraid of a strike from a modern military than their (mostly) poorly armed opponents.
 
2014-02-17 11:15:09 AM  
DNRTA...

Are we talking about Syria here?  Because that is a really bad situation.  I really don't know how anyone expects a cease fire to hold up between a gov't that won't budge, and a disorganized resistence full of poor people, in a country where the people in between are starving to death.

At this point, it would be really nice if someone would step in, and set up an interim gov't, and get things back on track.  Not the US, of course.  We've got our hands full.  But someone's gotta do it.  I can only assume this won't happen at all, ever, because there is nothing of any financial interest in that country.
I'll bet if they controlled oil, or diamonds, or gold, someone would have stepped up quickly.
 
2014-02-17 11:24:10 AM  

Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.


Who does the punishing?  A foreign government?  And just how much power would this government wield over the belligerents?  Can they do that forever?  What Leviathan are you talking about?  If a government has the strength to indefinitely keep two squabbling states from warring without resolving their dispute, then said government is pretty much their ruler rather than their mediator.
 
2014-02-17 11:35:10 AM  
Yeah, smart, it's obvious, eh?  Because what they are lacking in is time for planning.  If they could just set the gun down for a moment and make a plan, but they can not, because conflict.  So they just go with the shoot bullets at them plan.  Until they can catch their breath, and make a better plan.  But they don't have the time.
 
2014-02-17 11:39:00 AM  

zimbomba63: Satanic_Hamster: So we should never stop shooting.

C'mon, you know it's just a waste of time.  They start arguing over who's going to sit where at the peace table and the boys get antsy and start shooting again.


Gentlemen, you can't fight in here!  This is the war room!
 
2014-02-17 11:42:30 AM  

Arkanaut: EdgeRunner: Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.

Punished with more war? I think that rule is already in place.

1. The current state of affairs usually means that attacks on civilians by one side are retaliated against through attacks on civilians by the other side.  This does not actually constitute punishment because often the political / military leaders don't really care about civilian losses.  Intervention by the UN or a regional group like the African Union (which has had some successes in places like Somalia) would have the ability to retaliate against military targets such as bases or weapons depots.

2. The warring parties might be more afraid of a strike from a modern military than their (mostly) poorly armed opponents.


Expanding a war to include more players is still more war. (Blowing up military targets can be defined as sanctions or responses to agreement violations, but nope, it's still an act of war, even if it's not declared as such.) That's also not a hard and fast policy the US or UN would uphold fairly, since they could end up unbalancing things in favor of the side they'd prefer not to win.
 
2014-02-17 11:42:36 AM  
When Predacons talk truce it means they need time to reload their weapons.
 
2014-02-17 11:43:25 AM  
Sorry it is so small.

rapeutation.com
 
2014-02-17 11:44:43 AM  

Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.


Can't do that, it would be racist.

/because it's always the Palestinians that break the cease-fire first
//even when we pretend their attacks only "strain" the cease-fire instead of breaking it
 
2014-02-17 11:50:36 AM  

Kriggerel: Peace is that historic moment in time, where everyone stands around, reloading.


Side one: I'm running low on ammo, explosives and rockets.
Side two: me too!

"Impartial" observers: why don't you declare a cease fire? My shipping company won't deliver your orders into an active war zone.

Sides one & two: great idea! Ooo, can we add some mines to the order?
 
2014-02-17 11:52:16 AM  
True dat, Homs.
 
2014-02-17 11:55:56 AM  

Frankenstrom: Excluding some obvious exceptions, every single war in modern history has ended with a cease fire. While there are certainly examples of the conflict reigniting afterwards, the far more likely outcome is peace. So, basically your thesis sucks.

DNRTFA


You need to expand your sample size. There have been plenty of more minor conflicts that don't rise to the level of "war" that have multiple cease-fires in advance of the end to hostilities (if they even make it that far).

I think there have been 10 or 15 cease-fires declared just in Israel/Palestine since 2000. How many cease-fires were declared during the Iraq Civil War (2006-7)? Add to that the long-running cease-fires like India/Pakistan and Greece/Turkey, and you can make pretty much any argument you want about them - just depends how you slice it, and what you want the data to show.
 
2014-02-17 12:29:22 PM  

EdgeRunner: Arkanaut: EdgeRunner: Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.

Punished with more war? I think that rule is already in place.

1. The current state of affairs usually means that attacks on civilians by one side are retaliated against through attacks on civilians by the other side.  This does not actually constitute punishment because often the political / military leaders don't really care about civilian losses.  Intervention by the UN or a regional group like the African Union (which has had some successes in places like Somalia) would have the ability to retaliate against military targets such as bases or weapons depots.

2. The warring parties might be more afraid of a strike from a modern military than their (mostly) poorly armed opponents.

Expanding a war to include more players is still more war. (Blowing up military targets can be defined as sanctions or responses to agreement violations, but nope, it's still an act of war, even if it's not declared as such.) That's also not a hard and fast policy the US or UN would uphold fairly, since they could end up unbalancing things in favor of the side they'd prefer not to win.


Well, if fighting is going to bring more war, and cease-fire is going to bring more war*, the choice is going to be whether the action you're taking is going to bring the conflict closer to an end or not. (*Alternatively, you could reject the position that cease-fires don't end wars.) I would say that any party that is striving to become the legitimate government of a nation would hesitate to retaliate against a UN peacekeeping force.

I don't know if the US / UN analysis is relevant in this particular case, since I don't believe we have a "side" we're backing in the South Sudan conflict.  Even in Syria where we're pretty clearly anti-Assad (maybe not officially, but I don't think anybody's sad to see him go), the opposition is getting cozy with al Qaeda offshoots, who we're not exactly friendly with.  Also, interventions where we "took a side" have worked, although not consistently -- I would point at the Yugoslav conflicts as an example.
 
2014-02-17 12:34:30 PM  

Satanic_Hamster: So we should never stop shooting.


Finally!

Also, build a bell jar and play "Country-sized Last Man Standing". Where is your medieval deity now, etc.
 
2014-02-17 12:34:39 PM  

anotar: Sorry it is so small.

[rapeutation.com image 300x130]


You say that a lot, don't you?
 
2014-02-17 12:37:01 PM  
FTFA:

"But the international community shouldn't invest efforts in processes that make the killing worse when there are easy and inexpensive ways to save lives by keeping power permanently out of reach of murderous governments."

So, instead of these cease fires we should use these alternative "ways", which the author strikingly leaves absent. Yes, cease fires are abused, yet they're the first step on the path to peace. Even when there is a dominant victor and surrender, the first act implemented is a cease fire pending surrender to the enemy.

On the author's same line of thought: we stop using treaties as they've been abused as well. In fact almost every war was started in violation of a treaty. There are very easy and inexpensive ways to get around this, but I won't tell you what they are.
 
2014-02-17 12:37:04 PM  

jakomo002: Cease fires are the only way to eventually get to true peace, which ONLY comes about after a negotiated settlement. The guns have to stop while people talk.


blog.zap2it.com
 
2014-02-17 12:38:59 PM  

Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.


Punished by who? You? Me?

Plus sometimes it's pretty hard to tell who fired the first shot.
 
2014-02-17 12:50:05 PM  

MadMattressMack: FTFA:

"But the international community shouldn't invest efforts in processes that make the killing worse when there are easy and inexpensive ways to save lives by keeping power permanently out of reach of murderous governments."

So, instead of these cease fires we should use these alternative "ways", which the author strikingly leaves absent. Yes, cease fires are abused, yet they're the first step on the path to peace. Even when there is a dominant victor and surrender, the first act implemented is a cease fire pending surrender to the enemy.

On the author's same line of thought: we stop using treaties as they've been abused as well. In fact almost every war was started in violation of a treaty. There are very easy and inexpensive ways to get around this, but I won't tell you what they are.


Magical thinking: It's not just for the third world any more!

/then again, maybe he realized that the ways that used to be "ridiculously expensive in terms of human lives lost" actually were far less expensive than the alternative of just letting everyone kill each other
//probably has something to do with The One being in charge, instead of that stupid Dubya
 
2014-02-17 01:16:18 PM  

Fusilier: Arkanaut: It makes things worse if it's not enforced.  You need to make it clear that if the truce is broken, whichever side breaks it gets punished.

Punished by who? You? Me?

Plus sometimes it's pretty hard to tell who fired the first shot.


You. I'm sorry, I hope you didn't have plans this weekend.
 
2014-02-17 01:18:10 PM  
Meh.  You can't demand enemy troops to leave and the damn Vikings always break them on the next turn anyway.
 
2014-02-17 01:35:49 PM  

zimbomba63: What is the significance of a cowboy hat in South Sudan?  He's after the rustlers?


Part of his brand image:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/58697.html
 
2014-02-17 01:39:29 PM  

free_xenu: zimbomba63: What is the significance of a cowboy hat in South Sudan?  He's after the rustlers?

Part of his brand image:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/58697.html


Damn, I thought about posting that as a joke. Now I'm glad I didn't try to be clever.

/was this another soul that Was peered into?
 
2014-02-17 01:41:40 PM  

Dr Dreidel: Frankenstrom: Excluding some obvious exceptions, every single war in modern history has ended with a cease fire. While there are certainly examples of the conflict reigniting afterwards, the far more likely outcome is peace. So, basically your thesis sucks.

DNRTFA

You need to expand your sample size. There have been plenty of more minor conflicts that don't rise to the level of "war" that have multiple cease-fires in advance of the end to hostilities (if they even make it that far).

I think there have been 10 or 15 cease-fires declared just in Israel/Palestine since 2000. How many cease-fires were declared during the Iraq Civil War (2006-7)? Add to that the long-running cease-fires like India/Pakistan and Greece/Turkey, and you can make pretty much any argument you want about them - just depends how you slice it, and what you want the data to show.


There's a difference between cease-fire and armistice.  In old-timey European wars (even up to WWI and II) they'd declare a cease-fire for a certain amount of time to evactuate wounded or whatnot.  An armistice means the fighting's over, and the peace negotiations have begun.

Then again, European wars were weird.  The objective was to kill the enemy in the politest way possible, and treat him with every courtesy if you met him socially - if you were an officer.  For the enlisted, war crimes were a hobby.

/dunno where I'm going with this
 
2014-02-17 01:42:11 PM  

born_yesterday: zimbomba63: Satanic_Hamster: So we should never stop shooting.

C'mon, you know it's just a waste of time.  They start arguing over who's going to sit where at the peace table and the boys get antsy and start shooting again.

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here!  This is the war room!


MEIN Führer! I CAN WALK!
 
2014-02-17 02:06:43 PM  
I have a different take on it:

Cease-fires are generally agreed to in response to outside pressure.  That's why they don't work.
 
2014-02-17 03:00:01 PM  
The thing that gets me (every year since 2002) is when the news announces the beginning of "fighting season" in Afghanistan.

Now, as a practical matter, this makes a hell of a lot of sense. Why fight in the mountains in winter? It's farking freezing. By contrast, in the highlands summer, it stays cool and pleasant well into July. Excellent weather for fighting or whatever brings you outdoors.

Why not bring this sensible approach to other wars? Why should temperate countries have to deal with 12 months of warfare a year? Set a schedule, appoint a commissioner (I can think of a few league execs from the US I'd love to send into a war zone), and be done with it.

Yeah, I know, war is a pretty horrible thing to be joking about like this. But this idea is not more stupid than any actual war currently being fought.
 
2014-02-17 03:27:01 PM  
There's always been a little cognitive dissonance in two sides of men engaged in killing each other taking a break to honor the formal rules of war.

"well, i just bayoneted 10 men with wives and children, but the german front needs to celebrate scheizelvargenleichenhuliday..."
 
2014-02-17 04:16:08 PM  
But it has worked so well in Israel/Palestine!
 
2014-02-17 09:03:05 PM  
Thunderboy * * Smartest * Funniest 2014-02-17 11:05:03 AM

studebaker hoch: You don't call a cease fire until you've won the fight.

If you are calling for a cease fire, you haven't won. When you win a fight, the other side stops fighting voluntarily.


Who said anything about contacting the other side?
 
2014-02-17 10:16:52 PM  

studebaker hoch: Thunderboy * * Smartest * Funniest 2014-02-17 11:05:03 AM

studebaker hoch: You don't call a cease fire until you've won the fight.

If you are calling for a cease fire, you haven't won. When you win a fight, the other side stops fighting voluntarily.

Who said anything about contacting the other side?


Well, that's an entirely different kind of cease fire, altogether.
 
2014-02-17 10:59:40 PM  

Thunderboy: studebaker hoch: Thunderboy * * Smartest * Funniest 2014-02-17 11:05:03 AM

studebaker hoch: You don't call a cease fire until you've won the fight.

If you are calling for a cease fire, you haven't won. When you win a fight, the other side stops fighting voluntarily.

Who said anything about contacting the other side?

Well, that's an entirely different kind of cease fire, altogether.


That's an entirely different kind of cease fire.
 
2014-02-18 10:10:27 AM  

durbnpoisn: DNRTA...

Are we talking about Syria here?  Because that is a really bad situation.  I really don't know how anyone expects a cease fire to hold up between a gov't that won't budge, and al qaeda a disorganized resistence full of poor people, in a country where the people in between are starving to death.

At this point, it would be really nice if someone would step in, and set up an interim gov't, and get things back on track.  Not the US, of course.  We've got our hands full.  But someone's gotta do it.  I can only assume this won't happen at all, ever, because there is nothing of any financial interest in that country.
I'll bet if they controlled oil, or diamonds, or gold, someone would have stepped up quickly.

 
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