Essay on Peace: Need and Importance of Peace!
The issue of war and peace has always been a focal issue in all periods of history and at all levels relations among nations. The concern of the humankind for peace can be assessed by taking into account the fact that all religions, all religious scriptures and several religious ceremonies are committed to the cause of peace and all these advocate an elimination of war. The Shanti Path recited by the Hindus, the sermons of Pope and the commands of all the holy scriptures of the Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and all other communities hold out a sacred commitment to peace.
Yet the international community fully realized the supreme importance of the virtue of peace against the evil of war only after having suffered the most unfortunate and highly destructive two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century. The blood soaked shreds of humanity that lay scattered in several hundred battle grounds, particularly on the soils of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cried for peace, peace and peace on the earth.
The UN Charter and International Peace and Security:
The human consciousness then rallied in the Charter of the United Nations to affirm. “We the people of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our life time has brought untold sorrow to humankind…. and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security….. have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.”
Since 1945, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, several international associations and institutions, international peace movements, global and national level human rights movements and in fact all members of the international community have been consistently and strongly advocating the need for the preservation and promotion of peace against war.
In contemporary times, the most urgent and important international objective has been to preserve protect and defend peace against terrorism and terrorist organizations like A1 Qacda, Talibans, and other enemies of peace.
How International Community has been trying to secure peace:
Through international peace keeping under the aegis of the United Nations through the development and use of international law; creation of more international and regional institutions committed to promote peace, promotion of friendly cooperation for development among the member countries; popularization of peaceful means of conflict-resolution, institutionalization of relations among nations; integration of international community through strengthening of human consciousness in favour of peace against war; and by enhancing the ability for crisis-management, the humankind has been trying to secure peace against war.
(i) Globalization i.e. by encouraging the free flow of people goods, information services and knowledge;
(ii) Establishment of non-official people to people socio-economic-cultural relations;
(iii) Organisation of international peace movements against nuclear weapons, armament race, militarisation, and environmental pollution;
(iv) Launching of special drives for elimination of such evils as apartheid, poverty, illiteracy; ill-health, hunger, disease, inequalities, tyranny and terrorism; and
(v) organised attempts at environment protection and protection of Human Rights of all, the international community has been making meaningful attempts to limit the chances of war.
What is Peace?
One elementary way of defining peace has been to say that peace is absence of war. This is, however, a very narrow view of peace. No doubt absence of war is the first condition of peace, yet peace is not merely an absence of war. It is in reality a condition characterised by peaceful, cooperative and harmonious conduct of international relations with a view to secure all-round sustainable development of the people of the world.
Nevertheless, since absence of war is the first condition of peace, one of the major concerns of all scholars and statesmen has been to formulate and follow the principles and devices needed for securing this primary objective. The cold war that kept the world preoccupied during 1945-90, indirectly secured this objective in a negative way by developing a balance of terror in international relations.
While it was successful in preventing a global war, it failed to prevent local wars and in fact gave rise to several tensions, stresses, strains and crises in international relations. The international community had to work very hard for keeping the conflicts and wars limited. It, however, successfully exhibited a welcome and positive ability in the sphere of crisis-management.
In fact, till today there have been present several hindrances in way of securing a stable, healthy and enduring peace. Fortunately, the final end of cold war came in the last decade of the 20th century and the world found herself living is an environment characterised by a new faith and commitment to peace, peaceful co-existence, peaceful conflict-resolution, liberalisation, cooperation for development and attempts at sustainable development.
The people began focusing their attention on the need for the protection of human rights of all, protection of environment and securing of a real and meaningful international integration. However several negative factors, ethnic conflict, ethnic violence, ethnic wars, terrorism in its several dimensions, neo-colonialism, hegemony n-hegemony and the like kept on acting as big hindrances.
The need to secure peace by controlling these evils continues to be a primary aim of international community. Crises have been repeatedly coming and these are bound to keep coming. This makes it very urgent for the humankind to prepare and act for managing crises through collective efforts and by the use of several devices.
For the television series, see Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace. For the basketball player, see Metta World Peace. For the non-profit Organization, see World Peace One.
World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within and among all people and nations on earth. This idea of world non-violence is one motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. Different cultures, religions, philosophies and organisations have varying concepts on how such a state would come about.
Various religious and secular organisations have the stated aim of achieving world peace through addressing human rights, technology, education, engineering, medicine or diplomacy used as an end to all forms of fighting. Since 1945, the United Nations and the 5 permanent members of its Security Council (the US, Russia, China, France and the UK) have operated under the aim to resolve conflicts without war or declarations of war. Nonetheless, nations have entered numerous military conflicts since then.
World peace theories
Main article: Peace and conflict studies
Many theories as to how world peace could be achieved have been proposed. Several of these are listed below.
Peace through strength
Main article: Peace through strength
The term is traced back to the Roman Emperor Hadrian (reigned AD 117 – 138) but the concept is as old as the recorded history. The Egyptian god Ptah says that Ramses II's (1279–1213 BC) "strength" causes every country "to crave peace":
I have set for thee the might, victory and strength of thy mighty sword in every land ... I assign them to thy mighty sword ... I have thy terror in every heart ... I have set thy fear in every country, thy fear encircles the mountains, and the chiefs tremble at the mention of thee...; they come to thee, crying out together, to crave peace from thee.
In 1943, at the peak of World War II, the founder of the Paneuropean Union, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, argued that after the War the United States is bound to take "command of the skies" to ensure the lasting world peace:
But the inauguration of such a glorious century of peace demands from us abandonment of old conceptions of peace. The new Angel of Peace must no longer be pictured as a charming but helpless lady with an olive branch in her hand, but like the Goddess of Justice with a balance in her left and a sword in her right; or like the Archangel Michael, with a fiery sword and wings of steel, fighting the devil to restore and protect the peace of heaven.
In fact, near the entrance to the headquarters of the SAC at Offutt Air Base stands a large sign with a SAC emblem and its motto: "Peace is our profession." The motto "was a staggering paradox that was also completely accurate." One SAC Bomber—Convair B-36—is called Peacemaker and one inter-continental missile-LGM-118-Peacekeeper.
In 2016, former US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter envisaged that the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific will make the region "peaceful" through "strength":
You, and your fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines will solidify the rebalance, you will make this network work, and you will help the Asia-Pacific ... realize a principled and peaceful and prosperous future. And play the role only America can play ... You'll do so with strength.
Introduction to US National Security and Defense Strategies of 2018 states: The US force posture combined with the allies will "preserve peace through strength." The document proceeds to detail what "achieving peace through strength requires."
Associated with peace through strength are concepts of preponderance of power (as opposed to balance of power), hegemonic stability theory, unipolar stability, and imperial peace (such as Pax Romana, Pax Britannica, or Pax Americana).
Various political ideologies
World peace is sometimes claimed to be the result of a certain political ideology.Leon Trotsky, a Marxist theorist, assumed that a proletariat world revolution would lead to world peace.
Democratic peace theory
Proponents of the controversial democratic peace theory claim that strong empirical evidence exists that democracies never or rarely wage war against each other.
There are, however, several wars between democracies that have taken place, historically.
Capitalism peace theory
In her essay "The Roots of War", Ayn Rand held that the major wars of history were started by the more controlled economies of the time against the freer ones and that capitalism gave mankind the longest period of peace in history—a period during which there were no wars involving the entire civilized world—from the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, with the exceptions of the Franco-Prussian War (1870), the Spanish–American War (1898), and the American Civil War (1861–1865), which notably occurred in perhaps the most liberal economy in the world at the beginning of the industrial revolution.
Proponents of Cobdenism claim that by removing tariffs and creating international free trade wars would become impossible, because free trade prevents a nation from becoming self-sufficient, which is a requirement for long wars.
However, free trade does not prevent a nation from establishing some sort of emergency plan to become temporarily self-sufficient in case of war or that a nation could simply acquire what it needs from a different nation. A good example of this is World War I, during which both Britain and Germany became partially self-sufficient. This is particularly important because Germany had no plan for creating a war economy.
More generally, free trade—while not making wars impossible—can make wars, and restrictions on trade caused by wars, very costly for international companies with production, research, and sales in many different nations. Thus, a powerful lobby—unless there are only national companies—will argue against wars.
Mutual assured destruction
Mutual assured destruction is a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both belligerents. Proponents of the policy of mutual assured destruction during the Cold War attributed this to the increase in the lethality of war to the point where it no longer offers the possibility of a net gain for either side, thereby making wars pointless.
United Nations Charter and International law
After World War II, the United Nations was established by the United Nations Charter to "save successive generations from the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind" (Preamble). The Preamble to the United Nations Charter also aims to further the adoption of fundamental human rights, to respect obligations to sources of international law as well as to unite the strength of independent countries in order to maintain international peace and security. All treaties on international human rights law make reference to or consider "the principles proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and "peace in the world".
Gordon B. Hinckley saw a trend in national politics by which city-states and nation-states have unified and suggests that the international arena will eventually follow suit. Many countries such as China, Italy, the United States, Australia, Germany, India and Britain have unified into single nation-states with others like the European Union following suit, suggesting that further globalization will bring about a world state.
Isolationism and non-interventionism
Proponents of isolationism and non-interventionism claim that a world made up of many nations can peacefully coexist as long as they each establish a stronger focus on domestic affairs and do not try to impose their will on other nations.
Non-interventionism should not be confused with isolationism. Isolationism, like non-interventionism, advises avoiding interference into other nation's internal affairs but also emphasizes protectionism and restriction of international trade and travel. Non-interventionism, on the other hand, advocates combining free trade (like Cobdenism) with political and military non-interference.
Nations like Japan are perhaps the best known for establishing isolationist policies in the past. The Japanese ShogunTokugawa initiated the Edo Period, an isolationist period where Japan cut itself off from the world as a whole.
World peace has been depicted as a consequence of local, self-determined behaviors that inhibit the institutionalization of power and ensuing violence. The solution is not so much based on an agreed agenda, or an investment in higher authority whether divine or political, but rather a self-organized network of mutually supportive mechanisms, resulting in a viable politico-economic social fabric. The principal technique for inducing convergence is thought experiment, namely backcasting, enabling anyone to participate no matter what cultural background, religious doctrine, political affiliation or age demographic. Similar collaborative mechanisms are emerging from the Internet around open-source projects, including Wikipedia, and the evolution of other social media.
Economic norms theory
Economic norms theory links economic conditions with institutions of governance and conflict, distinguishing personal clientelist economies from impersonal market-oriented ones, identifying the latter with permanent peace within and between nations.
Through most of human history societies have been based on personal relations: individuals in groups know each other and exchange favors. Today in most lower-income societies hierarchies of groups distribute wealth based on personal relationships among group leaders, a process often linked with clientelism and corruption. Michael Mousseau argues that in this kind of socio-economy conflict is always present, latent or overt, because individuals depend on their groups for physical and economic security and are thus loyal to their groups rather than their states, and because groups are in a constant state of conflict over access to state coffers. Through processes of bounded rationality, people are conditioned towards strong in-group identities and are easily swayed to fear outsiders, psychological predispositions that make possible sectarian violence, genocide, and terrorism.
Market-oriented socio-economies are integrated not with personal ties but the impersonal force of the market where most individuals are economically dependent on trusting strangers in contracts enforced by the state. This creates loyalty to a state that enforces the rule of law and contracts impartially and reliably and provides equal protection in the freedom to contract – that is, liberal democracy. Wars cannot happen within or between nations with market-integrated economies because war requires the harming of others, and in these kinds of economies everyone is always economically better off when others in the market are also better off, not worse off. Rather than fight, citizens in market-oriented socio-economies care deeply about everyone's rights and welfare, so they demand economic growth at home and economic cooperation and human rights abroad. In fact, nations with market-oriented socio-economies tend to agree on global issues and not a single fatality has occurred in any dispute between them.
Economic norms theory should not be confused with classical liberal theory. The latter assumes that markets are natural and that freer markets promote wealth. In contrast, Economic norms theory shows how market-contracting is a learned norm, and state spending, regulation, and redistribution are necessary to ensure that almost everyone can participate in the "social market" economy, which is in everyone's interests. One proposed mechanism for world peace involves consumer purchasing of renewable and equitable local food and power sources involving artificial photosynthesis ushering in a period of social and ecological harmony known as the Sustainocene.
International Day of Peace
The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and peoples. In 2013, for the first time, the Day has been dedicated to peace education, i.e. by the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.
Many religions and religious leaders have expressed a desire for an end to violence.
Main article: Bahá'í Faith and the unity of humanity
The central aim of the Bahá'í Faith is the establishment of the unity of the peoples of the world. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, stated in no uncertain terms, "the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race ..." In His writings, Bahá'u'lláh described two distinct stages of world peace – a lesser peace and a most great peace.
The lesser peace is essentially a collective security agreement between the nations of the world. In this arrangement, nations agree to protect one another by rising up against an aggressor nation, should it seek the usurpation of territory or the destruction of its neighbors. The lesser peace is limited in scope and is concerned with the establishment of basic order and the universal recognition of national borders and the sovereignty of nations. Bahá'ís believe that the lesser peace is taking place largely through the operation of the Divine Will, and that Bahá'í influence on the process is relatively minor.
The most great peace is the eventual end goal of the lesser peace and is envisioned as a time of spiritual and social unity – a time when the peoples of the world genuinely identify with and care for one another, rather than simply tolerating one other's existence. The Bahá'ís view this process as taking place largely as a result of the spread of Bahá'í teachings, principles and practices throughout the world. The larger world peace process and its foundational elements are addressed in the document The Promise of World Peace, written by the Universal House of Justice.
Main article: Buddhism
Many Buddhists believe that world peace can only be achieved if we first establish peace within our minds. The idea is that anger and other negative states of mind are the cause of wars and fighting. Buddhists believe people can live in peace and harmony only if we abandon negative emotions such as anger in our minds and cultivate positive emotions such as love and compassion. As with all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism), ahimsa (avoidance of violence) is a central concept.
Peace pagodas are monuments that are built to symbolize and inspire world peace and have been central to the peace movement throughout the years. These are typically of Buddhist origin, being built by the Japanese Buddhist organisation Nipponzan Myohoji. They exist around the world in cities such as London, Vienna, New Delhi, Tokyo and Lumbini.
Main article: Christian pacifism
The basic Christian ideal specifies that peace can only come by the Word and love of God, which is perfectly demonstrated in the life of Christ:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
— John 14:27
As christologically interpreted from Isaiah 2, whereupon the "Word of the Lord" is established on the earth, the material human-political result will be 'nation not taking up sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore'. Christian world peace necessitates the living of a proactive life replete with all good works in direct light of the Word of God. The details of such a life can be observed in the Gospels, especially the historically renowned Sermon on the Mount, where forgiving those who do wrong things against oneself is advocated among other pious precepts.
However, not all Christians expect a lasting world peace on this earth:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man's enemies will be the members of his own household."
— Matt 10:34–36
Many Christians believe that world peace is expected to be manifest upon the "new earth" that is promised in Christian scripture such as Revelation 21.
The Roman Catholic religious conception of "Consecration of Russia", related to the Church's high-priority FátimaMarian apparitions, promises world peace as a result of this process being fulfilled.
Main article: Hinduism
Traditionally, Hinduism has adopted an ancient Sanskrit phrase Vasudha eka kutumbakam, which translates as "The world is one family." The essence of this concept is the observation that only base minds see dichotomies and divisions. The more we seek wisdom, the more we become inclusive and free our internal spirit from worldly illusions or Maya. World peace is hence only achieved through internal means—by liberating ourselves from artificial boundaries that separate us all. As with all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism), ahimsa (avoidance of violence) is a central concept.
Main article: Islamic Peace
According to Islamic eschatology, the whole world will be united under the leadership of prophet Isa in his second coming. At that time love, justice and peace will be so abundant that the world will be in likeness of paradise.
Main article: Judaism
The concept of Tikkun olam (Repairing the World) is central to modern Rabbinic Judaism. Tikkun olam is accomplished through various means, such as ritualistically performing God's commandments, charity and social justice, as well as through example persuading the rest of the world to behave morally. According to some views, Tikkun Olam would result in the beginning of the Messianic Age. It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the spiritual Messiah. If the time is right for the Messianic Age within that person's lifetime, then that person will be the mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the Messiah, then that person is not the Messiah (Mashiach).
Specifically, in Jewish messianism it is considered that at some future time a Messiah (literally "a King appointed by God") will rise up to bring all Jews back to the Land of Israel, followed by everlasting global peace and prosperity. This idea originates from passages in the Old Testament and the Talmud.
And he shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.
— Isaiah 2:4
Main article: Jainism
Compassion for all life, human and non-human, is central to Jainism.They have adopted the wordings of Lord Mahvira Jiyo aur Jeeno Do Human life is valued as a unique, rare opportunity to reach enlightenment; to kill any person, no matter what crime he may have committed, is considered unimaginably abhorrent. It is a religion that requires monks and laity, from all its sects and traditions, to be vegetarian. Some Indian regions, such as Gujarat, have been strongly influenced by Jains and often the majority of the local Hindus of every denomination have also become vegetarian. Famous quote on world peace as per Jainism by a 19th-century Indian legend, Virchand Gandhi: "May peace rule the universe; may peace rule in kingdoms and empires; may peace rule in states and in the lands of the potentates; may peace rule in the house of friends and may peace also rule in the house of enemies." As with all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism), ahimsa (avoidance of violence) is a central concept.
Main article: Sikhism
Peace comes from God. Meditation, the means of communicating with God, is unfruitful without the noble character of a devotee, there can be no worship without performing good deeds. Guru Nanak stressed now kirat karō: that a Sikh should balance work, worship, and charity, and should defend the rights of all creatures, and in particular, fellow human beings. They are encouraged to have a chaṛdī kalā, or optimistic – resilience, view of life. Sikh teachings also stress the concept of sharing—vaṇḍ chakkō—through the distribution of free food at Sikh gurdwaras (laṅgar), giving charitable donations, and working for the good of the community and others (sēvā). Sikhs believe that no matter what race, sex, or religion one is, all are equal in God's eyes. Men and women are equal and share the same rights, and women can lead in prayers. As with all Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism), ahimsa (avoidance of violence) is a central concept.
A report in June 2015 on the Global Peace Index highlighted that the impact of violence on the global economy reached US$14.3 trillion. The report also found that the economic cost of violence is 13.4% of world GDP, equal to the total economic output of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK combined.
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