The central theme of the book is the changing paradigms of conflict and conflict resolution after the events of September 11. It also considers options for the South Asian countries to respond to challenges which they face in the dichotomy of US-led war against terrorism, the relevance of peace process and confidence-building measures in order to resolve inter- and intra-state conflicts in the region.
Paradigms of conflict resolution are passing through a transitory phase but it is a temporary phenomenon. Once the world overcomes the implications of September 11 events, the emergence of new trends in global order may help stabilise the situation. But, one can also expect a situation in which neither the international system, nor the state, or group, society, and individuals will be able to cope with the issue of terrorism or other destabilising factors in global order. In the debate between the relevance of traditional and non-traditional paradigms of conflict and conflict resolution, the fundamental question arises about awareness and a sense of understanding among people on issues that cause conflict and strategies which can help unleash the process of conflict resolution.
The predicament we face today is the futility of diplomacy and negotiations to avert or manage a conflict. The recent US-led attacks and occupation of Iraq point to the inability of conflict resolution managers to play their role in restraining the use of force. If an alternate paradigm of conflict resolution is evolved by the non-Western thinkers and analysts, the foremost question which will be raised is about the ability and capacity of alternate paradigms to establish a viable influence on global power structure. But since injustices tend to heavily influence existing paradigms of conflict and conflict resolution, one can ponder if viable alternate paradigms could be formulated.
Moonis Ahmar is Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Karachi, Pakistan and Director, Programme on Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution. His field of specialisation is conflict resolution and confidence-building neasures in the South, Central Asian and Middle Eastern regions. Dr. Ahmar is presently working on preventing and combating terrorism in South Asia. He has recently published Bangladesh and Pakistan: From Conflict to Cooperation, BISIS, Dhaka, 2003.