Sunday, November 1, 2009

Peace Without Victory

"He (Wilson) was convinced that only a negotiated peace could endure, that a dictated peace forced upon the loser 'would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which the terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only as upon quicksand.'”
-Barbara W. Tuchman (inner quote from Woodrow Wilson)-
"Peace without victory" was the high hope of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson for the outcome of World War I. He believed that if peace terms could be agreed upon without one side being the victor, that peace could endure. Of course, a dictated peace did happen and we know from history that the sting, resentment, and bitterness of the Central Powers, particularly Germany, would rise into the fight that occured in World War II. I think about this concept in my struggles, fights, and arguments today. How often do I set out to "win" with the idea that my winning will somehow pacify my enemies in my arguments & struggles? In the end, all I end up doing is struggling to maintain my sense of right while dealing with a person that now more then ever disagrees with me. Of course sometimes people do need to deal with it when they lose. However, when our intent in every given situation is to win and make the losers deal with the aftermath I think we have missed the point. And worse yet, the defeated can come back with a vengeance to rectify that far exceeds what they might have done had we simply sought better middle ground. I am not a good peacemaker. It is that mindset and desire that I strongly look up to Woodrow Wilson for.

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