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.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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In many ways the ability to employ violence on one's behalf represents the ultimate source of power. Parties who can defeat their opponents in violent confrontations are able to physically force their enemies to do what they want them to do. If they don't, they can, if necessary, simply kill them.
In recognition of this fact parties have, throughout history organized large military forces designed to employ violence on their behalf and to resist the violent assaults of others. In history and in mythology violent confrontations are seen as central to efforts to defeat the "evil" enemy. Not surprisingly violence is still widely used in confrontations ranging from the interpersonal to the international.
There are, however, numerous problems associated with the use of violent dispute resolution strategies. Most obviously, violence tends to escalate into all-out confrontations in which the parties employ all of their resources in an attempt to defeat, and often utterly destroy, their opponents. As violence escalates, taboos against inhumane treatment are broken, with each atrocity providing justification for future atrocities.History abounds with horrific stories of the terrible costs of violent confrontations.
In addition to the death and destruction which accompanies violence, there are also enormous costs associated with preparing for violent confrontation and making violent threats. All of the money and effort that is put into a deterrence force is money and effort that is diverted from more positive uses. Violence also tends to overwhelm honest efforts to address the core substantive issues, and it destroys the ability of the parties to engage in mutually beneficial collaborative efforts.
Also disturbing is the fact that violent winners are determined by physical power and their willingness to use it ruthlessly, not by the moral legitimacy of their goals. In other words, violent power is commonly used to perpetuate injustice and subjugate less powerful groups. When parties develop the ability to completely overwhelm their opponents, then the result can be tyranny.
Nevertheless, when the power balance is firmly in favor of one side, that side is often tempted to use violence, or at least the threat of violence to accomplish its goals. It is a well-known technique (unlike less common nonviolent approaches) and it appears to work fast and effectively, if the long term costs are ignored.
Violence also is the most common response when people are victims of violence from the other side. It takes enormous courage and training to learn how to effectively counter violence with nonviolent action. Although this approach can be much more effective than violence, it is not a route most commonly chosen.
Keys to dealing with the violence problem include:
Programs which help the parties recognize the costs associated with violent strategies,
Efforts to bring moral condemnation to bear upon those who use violence in illegitimate ways,
Establishment of broadly supported political and legal institutions which collectively raise police and military forces to jointly oppose the illegitimate use of violence.
Peacekeepers? Peacemakers? Women in Northern Ireland 1969-1995 - INCORE Publications and Papers Occasional Papers
Links to Treatments of Violence
In essence, this entire website provides treatments for violence. However, sections that are especially relevant include:
Creation of Violence Limiting Mechanisms
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