House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial trip to Taiwan last week, provoking the ire of China who views the island nation as their own. While White House officials have maintained their support for the One China policy, a doctrine stating that China is the sole legitimate government over Taiwan, China has retaliated to Pelosi’s visit by halting climate change and military deals with the U.S. Meanwhile this week Israel and Gaza traded rocket fire that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians and disrupted hundreds of thousands of Israelis. And Russian troops have attacked Ukraine for over six months now.
These global squabbles all have similarities: they provide textbook examples of power-sharing in deeply divided places. China and Taiwan, Israel and Palestine, and Russia and Ukraine are geographically and culturally distinct regions that seek control, power, and resources.
On a much different scale, Children’s Peace Initiative Kenya focuses on easing conflict that arises due to power sharing in a deeply divided place. Geographically and culturally distinct tribes in Northern Kenya fight over cows and pasture land, essentially a fight over control, power, and resources.
Given this similarity, are there lessons learned from CPI that can be applied to Taiwan-China, Israel-Palestine, and/or Russia-Ukraine? At first-glance, likely not. CPI primarily works with children. Government involvement, and inherently partisan disagreements, are minimal. Most tribes have an interest in sharing power.
However, from a broader perspective, CPI’s focus on locating common interests and goals as well as relationship building provide useful lessons to impart on these three globally distinct regions. Importantly, CPI’s work on climate change also focuses on what psychologists call superordinate goals, or a goal that exceeds all other conditional goals. In the case of CPI, climate change offers a more pressing issue than warring factions do, allowing the disparate tribes to coalesce around common interests.
While a close examination of the underlying issues plaguing Taiwan-China, Israeli-Palestianian, and Ukraine-Russia relationships is far outside the scope of this blog, superordinate goals offer a glimpse into what a future for each of the two nations could look like.
Power-sharing inherently involves compromises and concessions and, in the case of superordinate goals, a focus on a broader purpose. It remains to be seen what exactly these superordinate goals could be, but CPI’s small-scale example offers a successful model in which power-sharing can be accomplished in a deeply divided place.
Posted By Daniel Gurevitch
Posted Aug 7th, 2022