OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Failing to Identify all of the Relevant Issues

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In addition to failing to identify people or groups who might be involved in a conflict, disputants can also overlook issues which are important to others, but are not important to themselves. Often people will not realize that there is more than one way to see a situation, and that other people or groups may see the conflict differently than they do.

This is especially true in highly escalated and intractable conflicts. As conflicts escalate the number of issues in dispute tends to increase. Initially, a dispute may center around a particular event or problem, which is very clear. As the dispute goes on, however, the parties bring up more and more related problems, expanding the number of issues in contention. In the case of intractable conflicts, some of which have gone on for years, the numbers of issues may be in the tens or even hundreds. Sometimes the initial issues may recede in importance, being replaced by completely different problems and issues. It can become very difficult to even identify all of the issues in conflict, let alone solve them. Yet if important issues are not identified, it is impossible to develop solutions to the conflict that will successfully resolve it.


Links to Examples of this Problem:

Gareth Evans -- Failure to Employ Preventive Diplomacy to avert Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait
This article explains how a failure to identify all of the relevant issues in this conflict led to the failure of preventive diplomacy.
Kohut and Toth --  Managing Conflict in the Post-Cold War World: A Public Perspective
This article uses public opinion polls to analyze American public attitudes toward foreign policy. The article concludes that Americans are far less knowledgeable about foreign affairs that citizens of other countries, which affects their decisions regarding U.S. foreign policy in unfortunate ways.
Alexander George  -- United States-Japan Relations Leading to Pearl Harbor
This short story illustrates how the U.S.'s failure to understand Japan's perspective led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.
Andrea Williams  -- Resolving Conflict in a Multi-cultural Environment
This article illustrates how cultural differences can cause people to overlook key issues involved in a conflict, and therefore fail to resolve the conflict in an effective way.

Links to Possible Treatments of this Problem:

Conflict Mapping


Links to Related Problems:

Failing to identify all of the Affected People or Groups
Ignoring the Conflict History
Ignoring Current Related Conflicts
Inadequate Information Gathering

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu