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

Not My Problem

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Conflicts often arise when one person or group seeks to change the behavior of another, but the other does not acknowledge that a problem exists, and maintains that it is not their responsibility to deal with the problem or participate in any efforts to resolve the issue. This is common in domination conflicts in which the subordinate group sees its role as unjust, while the dominant group does not define the situation as a problem at all.

Another version of the "not my problem" situation occurs when outside groups define a situation as someone else's problem, when the people involved see it as involving the larger region or the world. For example, often external powers allow severe human rights abuses to take place in other nation states, maintaining that it is "not their problem" or that they have no jurisdiction because it is occurring in a sovereign state, over which they have no control. While the notion of sovereignty used to suggest such a "hands-off" approach, with the increasing recognition of universal human rights, external nations, regional organizations, and the UN are becoming involved in "internal" disputes more often.

The question of when another nation should intervene is a very difficult one. Typically, it is made in terms of self-interests, although moral considerations are sometimes brought into the decision making process as well.

Links to Examples of this Problem:

Sean Bryne - Northern Ireland: Local Dispute or International Conflict
Sean Byrne suggests that the situation in Northern Ireland is not an internal problem, but rather a problem of the entire international community. The practical involvement of other countries, he argues, would be beneficial to the conflict's resolution.
Chester Crocker - Lessons on Intervention
Chester Crocker presents his views on when external powers should intervene in internal conflicts, and how they should do it when they decide intervention is the proper course of action.
1995 Aspen Institute Conference on the Role of Intervention in the Post Cold War World
This is a summary of a report on a conference held in 1995 at the Colorado (USA)-based Aspen Institute on the Role of International Intervention. Like the Crocker article, this summary discusses types of situations in which intervention might be needed, how nations should decide when to intervene, and what guidelines such interventions should follow.

Links to Possible Treatments for this Problem:

Joint Reframing

Strategic Option Identification and Costing

Links to Related Problems:

Incompatible frames

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