What Can We Do: Internationally: Written Materials

Most of these are drawn from the Unitarian Universalist Congregational Study/Action Issue Resource Guide on Peacemaking

American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea, by Ira Chernus, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2004.

An excellent history of nonviolence from the Anabaptists, Anarchists and Quakers, through key individuals, Thoreau, Day, Muste, King and Deming. Also includes influence of Thich Nhat Hanh and Gandhi, as well as sympathetic presentation of Reinhold Niebuhr’s influential critique, and rejection, of nonviolence.
Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, by Gene Sharp, Porter Sargent Publishers, 2005.

The heart of this book is descriptions of 23 nonviolent struggles from around the world in the 20th century. The purpose is to show that nonviolence can be strategically planned and successfully implemented. Nonviolence is presented as a tool for social change when force is not effective or is too costly. In the last third of the book, Sharp presents a nonviolent campaign’s process, with concrete questions to resolve at each stage. Technique and management skills can be forgotten by idealistic and spiritually-motivated activists; Appendix A contains detailed suggestions for analyzing and planning a nonviolent campaign. The extensive glossary is also useful.

History Shows: Winning with Nonviolent Action, by Rachel McNair, Xlibiris Corp., 2004 (children).

Each colorful page tells a true story of nonviolent political action in language accessible to all ages. The nearly 50 stories begin with Roman workers in 494 BCE massively withdrawing and acquiring political power for their return to work. The last story tells of Serbians monitoring the 2000 elections and the creative responses that led to Milosovec’s defeat. McNair concludes that, “History shows that (nonviolent activism) has worked far more times than people realize.” These stories would work in worship services or children’s chapel as well as for children’s religious education.

The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace, Introduction by Howard Zinn, Beacon Press, 2002.

This gem of an anthology is structured in four parts: i. pre-twentieth century, ii. the fin de siècle to the cold war (1900-1949), iii. The cold war and Vietnam (1950-1975), and iv. post-vietnam to the present (1975-). Contributors include, among others, the Buddha, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Adaams, Mahandas Gandhi, Dorothy Day, A.J. Muste, Thomas Merton, Martin Luther King, Jr. Daniel Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Arundhati Roy.

Neoconservative Approaches to National and International Security

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002. The official document of the administration creating a pre-emptive war policy.

Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, by Robert Kagan, New York: Knopf, 2003.
Announcing a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Europe, this book proposes that the US and Europe’s radically different approaches to foreign diplomacy are rooted in the strength of America and the weakness of Europe.

America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy, by Francis Fukuyama, New Haven: Yale University Press. 2006.
Fukuyama distances himself from the neo-conservative position, and argues for a multilateral approach to security. He offers an incisive critique of the neo-conservative unilaterialism of the Bush administration. He shares with Schulz a critique of American exceptionalism, and argues for a foreign policy, that while not pacifist, is less dependent on the military and more dependent on emerging international norms and institutions. He is highly critical of the UN, but advocates other multilateral organizations. This book also offers a helpful history of the neo-conservative position.

Rule of Law (a liberal internationalist approach)

Early Advocates of Lasting World Peace: Utopians or Realists?, by Sissela Bok, In Celebrating Peace, edited by Leroy S. Rouner. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. 1990. 52-72
Current attempts to acknowledge the strengths and limitations of both the just war and pacifist traditions have a long history. Sissela Bok describes the projects of Erasmus, Kant and the Abbe de Saint-Pierre for lasting world peace. These efforts include the rule of law between nations, and allow for the judicious use of force by a standing international police force, rather than the use of military force between nations. Bok describes four approaches to war: realist, just war, pacificist and enduring peace. Concise and accessible. Excellent introduction to the history of current debates.

Preventive Defense (a liberal internationalist approach)

Preventive Defense: A New Military Strategy for the United States, by William Perry and Ashton Carter, Brookings Institution Press, 1999.
William Perry, former secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, advocates for preventing war through establishing stable states, developing a productive relationship with China, and controlling weapons of mass destruction. His advocacy of greater attention to the prevention of armed conflict through diplomacy and economic assistance overlaps with the concerns of those committed to human security and sustainable peace. He also focuses on the role of these efforts in responding to the threat of terrorism. This work moves beyond the category of just war in its focus on prevention, while still claiming that military force is an essential component of national security.

Soft Power (a liberal internationalist approach)

Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, byJoseph Nye, Jr., Public Affairs: NewEd Edition, 2005. Nye, a professor of International Relations at Harvard and a UU, is the leading exponent of the crucial role of soft power -the United States being able to attain its security needs through attraction and persuasion rather than through economic or military coercion.

Democratic Peace (a liberal internationalist approach)

Puzzles of the Democratic Peace: Theory, Geopolitics, and the Transformation of World Politics, by Karen Rasler and William R. Thompson, New York: Palgrave. 2005.
Ever since the revival of Kant’s Perpetual Peace thesis, the linkage between democracy and peace has been a central topic in international relations research, with sustained debate over whether it exists and if it does, why it does. In this stimulating volume, two leading International Relations scholars place the democratic peace debate within a broader context, including the extent of threats in international relations, degree of satisfaction with the status quo, the diffusion of democracy, and the rise of the trading state.

Strategic Peacebuilding

The Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding: A Vision and Framework for Peace with Justice, by Lisa Schirch, Pennsylvania: Good Books. 2004.
Lisa Schirch in her timely book sets forth paths to a more peaceful reality. She points a way to more than the absence of conflict. She foresees just peace-a sustainable state of affairs because it is a peace which insists on justice. How to arrive there is the subject of this book. Peacebuilding recognizes the complexity and the effort this elusive ideal requires. Schirch singles out four critical actions that must be undertaken if peace is to take root at any level) – 1) waging conflict nonviolently; 2) reducing direct violence; 3) transforming relationships; and 4) building capacity. She never imagines this to be a quick-or an individual-task. Her clear and incisive strategy encourages enabling many approaches to peace, honestly assessing who holds power, and persuading and coercing, but always with keen judgment and precise timing.

Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, by Glen Stassen, Pilgrim Press, Second edition, 2004.
Stassen divides the ten practices of Just Peacemaking into three groups: cooperative forces, justice, and peacemaking initiatives. The root causes of terrorism are examined. Preventative measures are discussed. This is a book of action in utilizing democratic and political practices to promote conflict resolution.