…might just as well be called dominance management, because conflict usually arises when two parties can’t agree with each other. The most likely results are: (1) one party gives in rather than deal with the conflict; (2) one party forces the other to give in through greater force of some sort, physical strength, financial strength, political strength, strength of personality, sheer endurance, some combination of those, or the threat of those; (3) compromise of some sort; or (4) total disengagement, which can range from polite and cordial agreement to disagree to absolute and continued hostility, either concealed or overt.
Most people, I’ve discovered, don’t think of conflicts in that way, but from what I’ve observed that’s the spectrum of responses to ideological, political, financial, or physical conflicts.
What complicates such conflicts is usually, but not always, the assumption by one or both of the parties of some form of superiority, either moral, intellectual, or physical, which can make any form of real agreement difficult. And when one party is forced to agree to or to accept the terms of the other party, the result is almost inevitably anger and resentment, particularly when the party forced to agree believes fervently in his or her moral or intellectual superiority, which is all too often the case, or that they’ve been wronged in some fashion.
That also means when someone is coerced/forced into agreement against their will, such agreement will only last so long as the “superior” party can enforce their will.
All of which is a reason why the United States eventually “loses” wars and conflicts in places like Vietnam and the Middle East, because we don’t want to pay the price for continuing to enforce our desires on others, which is what is necessary when the belief structure of the majority of the people of a country is at odds with our belief structure. In places where we have “won,” it has taken generations of occupation to shift belief structures, and, in the case of our own southern states of the Confederacy, one could make the case that even 150 years later, those “old south” belief structures still persist in a large number of people.
That doesn’t mean the United States can always avoid using force, but if we don’t want to spend or bleed ourselves dry, most use of force should be restricted to simply stopping the worst of what we can stop, without attempting to force ideological/political change on other cultures.
On the domestic front, we’ll also end up locked in an exhausting and debilitating deadlock unless we return to the basics of the “civil society” envisioned by the Founding Fathers, that is, a society based on a compromise over what should be legal and what should not be, because with more than a fifth of the country now identifying themselves as non-religious, and with very differing core beliefs between evangelicals and other faiths, any attempt to impose religion-based strictures on the entire population will only fuel more conflict… and that’s the last thing any of us need in these troubling times.