Escalation and negotiation in international conflicts
By relating negotiation to conflict escalation, two processes that have traditionally been studied separately, this book fills a significant gap in existing knowledge and is directly relevant to the many ongoing conflicts and conflict patterns in the world today. Conflict is a roller coaster, with its ups and downs. The roller coaster is exhilarating because it is a simulation of danger: we have our hearts in our mouths in anticipation as we go up and a scream in our mouths in excitement as we go down. But it is only a simulation (or we would not have bought the ticket), and not an accurate one at that. While we know where the top of the roller coaster is, we do not know how extreme the conflict is going to become before it starts to decline. It is that unknown and the dynamics of getting there that make for the deadly excitement of conflict.
Escalation is the dynamics of determining where the conflict peak is and if it has been reached. The conflict occasioned by apartheid in South Africa escalated from the repression of the Defiance Campaign in 1952 through the spontaneous Sharpeville demonstrations and massacre of 1960, the Rivonia Trial of Nelson Mandela of 1963, the intensified police measures, the Black Consciousness movement, the Soweto riots of 1976, and the Umkonto we Sizwe attacks that challenged surveillance and repression through the 1980s. But it also saw the constitutional changes of 1983, followed by attempts to talk with Mandela and others of the African National Congress, until finally the apartheid policy began to crumble in 1990 and negotiations began.
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