How Many “Points” are Needed to Obtain Peace Today?

Was President Woodrow Wilson wrong in thinking a permanent peace was possible? Clearly the world was horrorfied by the casualties14 points path inflicted during  World War I  and President Wilson hoped to end the possibility of another global war through his 14 Points (Click 1918 Cartoon – Right).  We know now that failed but why? For starters, think of the war propaganda posters you analyzed in class.  In 1917, Wilson called for “peace without victory” so the victor’s terms are not “imposed on the vanquished” as it “would be accepted in humiliation.” Essentially he did not want to rub it in the losers face that they lost. But attitudes or stereotypes tend to linger, sometimes for generations, and war propaganda used to promote mobilization and combat pushed most people towards “vindictive peace” rather than Wilson’s noble suggestion. The propaganda often degraded rivals into sub-human species. Given their war experience, how were the French, for example, expected to accept anything  less than a vindictive peace with their neighbor Germany and Austria? This is just one reason peace did not last following WWI.

I introduced my Dad to blogdom last night and we were discussing our class posts. He raised the point that although it is interesting to predict (as we did in class) what combat may look like in 2113 and what in 2013 may appear antiquated to future human-cyborgs. Why not, he asked, predict ways that by 2113 humans would not fight wars and that Wilson’s hope for a lasting peace and end to war could be achieved? Pretty interesting take on this subject! As a society, we are so wrapped up into the idea of war (movies, Call of Duty, toys) and our history of war that it is rare to take a moment and discuss ways to end war. We have touched on this in class how Civil War monuments, for example,  glorify that war and perhaps its memory.We then compared CW monuments to the disturbing  WWI memorial that shows a very different memory of war and it attempt to dissuade future generations from fighting.

solutionsCould Wilson’s plan work today? Familiarize yourself with Wilson’s 14 Points. FIRST: Skim through the 14 Roman Numerals  (Points I-V and XIV could be most applicable) of the linked primary source document and decide which of Wilson’s points could be valid or adjusted today and used as a start for our own “Points for Peace.” (Of course, the countries and people involved have changed but the solutions expressed can relate today.)

SECOND: Decide what current issue needs to be overcome to eradicate war by 2113 and write at least one more point that resolves it just as Wilson had done in 1918. Areas of modern conflict include Nationalism, Imperialsim, Religious differences, Economic rivalry, governmental differences (Absolute leaders, Democracy, Communism), weapons of mass destruction, technology, others… You should then have at least 2 points in your post from which we will compile a list.  Some ideas may be far fetched but predicting and problem solving can often be so. At this point we will consider anything and then debate in class how feasible it may be.  An example to use: “All primary religious leaders will create a League of Faiths to meet regularly and discuss ways to resolve inter-faith disagreements,  encourage understanding and toleration, highlight commonalities and alleviate extremism.”


26 thoughts on “How Many “Points” are Needed to Obtain Peace Today?

  1. To start off, i think war will never be avoidable. As long as there are countries who have issues with each other, there will be war. Say we did outlaw war, what would we do if a country attacked the United States? Wouldn’t we be forced to fight back? An attack would force us to retaliate or immediately surrender. Also, leaders like Kim Jong Un and the Castro family who lead Dicataorships are insanely unpredictable. The missile treats from North Korea are a great example. Whether or not the actions are legal, the Dictators will do them. Laws of war are useless to me. If a country wants to win a war, they’re going to do whatever it takes to win. And if they break the rules while doing so, as long as they win, no one can punish them.

    Regarding the current issue that needs to be overcome to eliminate war by 2113, I believe that the world needs one standard government. As far-fetched as that may seem, it would solve many problems. Communist countries seem to be the biggest threat. They have been a problem since the 1920’s and the Red Scare. If those countries were to come to a more standard and equal government, I think that countries would be able to meet about issues instead of threatening war right away. Even if that meant the U.S. changing their government so that we all had one united system.
    One of the points included “It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind.” This states that no secrets should be held in order to achieve peace. One central government would prevent secret treaties and alliances. Which would ultimately end war in my opinion.

    • Althought I agree about outlawing war being impossible, I disagree with your one central government proposal. If there was ever a central power to govern the entire world, it would crumble fairly quickly. As past empires have expanded, they have spread themselves too thin and ultimately collapsed, usually after conquering additional territory to be ruled. This imperialistic approach has often lead to some sort of dictatorship and citizens that do not agree with the government.

      For example, Mr. Lese mentioned in class yesterday that France attempting to control and colonize Vietnam ultimately got the US in the war. Discounting the war, France made initial contact back in the 17th century. Relations between France and Vietnam were rocky throughout the the next 300 years, giving France little chance of success.
      Another example may be the obvious one; The US spawned from European colonies. Of course, the Atlantic may have made travel and enforcement difficult, but after too much disagreement with British rule, we fought for freedom, and achieved it.

      Although I may have digressed to the past, the future could very well hold the same. The phrase “History repeats itself” could not be truer! Gen. Patton used Carthaginian tactics to help him conquer Italy, and read Rommel’s WWI book to defeat him in the North African Campaign.

      I find one central government hardly practical. The alliance and cooperation of nations throughtout the world to combat communism, terrorism, and all unjust rule has the best record (so far).

      Perhaps in another 100 years there will be a different approach to uniting the world and allowing people to live as they choose. But until then, war will exist to settle conflicts; whether foreign or domestic.

      • With all due respect, it’s not about the practicality of the theories. But if I were to organize it, I would have every nation have their own leader, as it is now, but they would all be ruling their nations with the same form of government. No dictatorships, no revolts, no anarchy. Whether it’s plausible or not, if executed correctly, this method could unite the world peacefully.

    • Great start to what is an extremely difficult question as problems rise up almost as quickly as one presents a solution. Today, one government rule is hinted about whether it is a world body that controls the internet, has world courts or control of a world economy or currency. These are all major questions to deal with especially as independent minded Americans. Would we have to change our way of life and the foundation of our country? How much would be acceptable to Americans? At this point, you got the conversation started with ideas so great job! If anything, we already see what an uphill battle Wilson was facing.

  2. President Wilson’s idea of establishing conditions for lasting peace with Europe was a great idea. However, the first five principles address ways to eliminate the causes of the war. He proposed that there were to be free trade, free sea usage, unarmed soldiers, and no more secret agreements. Each of these ideas could lead to another dispute. Hypothetically thinking, if two nations want to trade with the same separate nation, there may be battles fought over which nation gets the bulk of the trade. This leads back to Danny’s point that if one nation attacks another, both nations will be pulled into a war. The war doesn’t stop there either. Each of the nation’s allies are going to be sucked into the everlasting trap called war.

  3. Wilson’s Points that could be adjusted or valid today
    – I
    – II
    – III
    – XIV (already has and will stay)

    Eradicate War
    I believe that there is not a way to prevent war in 2113. But if there was a chance of war being prevented in 2113, the way to start eradicating war is to end the conflict of nuclear weapons. The next step would be to end the conflict between religions, relating to your point of having a Religion League of Nations.

  4. I think that Wilson’s third point about everyone being able to navigate the seas without any restrictions would be a good one to have today. We could even take it as far as countries being able to fly over each other’s territory. Many times countries get mad about trespassing that way and conflict can start.

    The thing that I think we need to get rid of today is tyrants or single handed leaders whole countries. Tyrants can do whatever they want, including going to war for whatever reason they want, if they even want to have a reason at all. If the world can rid itself of dictators, and establish more balanced governments, we could have a lot less conflict because leaders of countries would need the approval of other people in order to go to war, and often times it might not get approved.

  5. I think that the only way that their could ever be peace is if everyone excepted each other, people could settle disputes without violence, and everyone had good living conditions. Wilson was defiantly on the right track with his first four points the problem is just getting everyone to accept them.

  6. I believe that the first step to creating peace throughout the world is to forget about the past. I do not mean this like completly disreagarding freedoms, culture, and rights but I think that we will have to put aside the bitter realtionships to focus on creating “world peace”. This is not an easy thing to do in any means because war has been a part of our world going back to the earliest years of civilization and to completly eradicate war could seem almost impossible. But, to go along with Wilson’s Fourteen Points, I think that creating independent nations is the right war to persist the idea of world peace os shown in points thirteen and fouteen. Also, to settle all disputes the views of colonial peoples and imperial nations will have to be settled, as mentioned in point five, so that all foreign and domestic issues are taken into account.

    This issue gets tricky when it comes down to whether it is eliminating an army or reducing it’s size to prevent any war. I do not think that reducing the size of a military is the best way to go necessarily because without it a country is vulnerable and with the “common” terrorist attacks in todays age a country needs to be able to defend themselves. There is no easy way to settle this dispute because some might say that to completly reach peace in society there will have to be an elimantion of all war weapons used to gain territory or become imperialistic. So, Wilson’s fourth point on reducing armed forces I would have to disagree with it because without it nations do not have any power over themselves and no way of defense in this age with terrorism.

    I personally do not think that world peace will happen soon but maybe in the next 100 years but that will be for that generation to decide. I could not agree more with Scott on how history will repeat itself and before paece is established there will need to be a lot of cooperation between nations. In this age of terrorism and constant disagreement over communism it seems like worl peace is so far away but maybe one day in the distant future war will be eliminated from this planet.

  7. I believe that Wilson’s intentions were obviously good, but the idea of achieving complete peace is simply implausible. Accomplishing this goal would take every persons initiative to make a conscious everyday effort in promoting a peaceful environment for others; and where there is competition there will never be peace.(fundamental nature of humans) Also, what I see as the root of the problem are the various differences in people’s spiritual or religious beliefs. Because not everyone is brought up with the same set of beliefs or teachings, disagreements are bound to happen. Another major point is that not all people are taught the importance of the common good for all; America’s materialistic ways make people more prone to being selfish, which makes attaining a peaceful world impossible.

  8. Points 5, and 2, which deal with county boundaries and rights to navigation, are the only way that this world we live in can stay out of war. Point 5 deals with open-mindedness of colonial claims and the governments that control the country, this point does not necessarily adjusted, just followed. Over all if we all just stayed within our own borders, there would be no fear of invasion and less declaration of war.

    Point #2 would need to be adjusted to more deal with air space instead of territorial waters. Now, we more have problems with countries entering other country’s airspace. My best example is North Korea flying its fighter jets near US airspace. I think that it will not be long before warfare is either avoided or started because of airspace disputes.

  9. The largest issue that the most countries are involved in is Isreal and Palestine. Most of these points have to do with the evacuation, the disarming of countries, or issues having to do with boundry disputes. If the League of Nations exsisted then maybe America could side with Palestine. They could openly fix boundry disputes and if need be evacuate the country. This would solve many different problems. Mostly with our relationships with other Middle Eastern Nations like Iran. It would also insure closer ties with current allies like Britian. It would end threats and less worry about nuclear weapons. Most of these points I make apply to Iran, but considering we are pretty much Isreals only friend at this point it helps relationships with all nations. The hard part is telling Isreal to back off without them gettting mad at us. So we don’t, but this in return makes these countries hate us more. Maybe we not stop the supply of weapons to Isreal, but if there were a League it would help set up borders for Palestine and Isreal seperating the two.

  10. Point #3 about freely sailing all seas could be used today and back then after WWI. Water is water and each country should be able to use God’s creation and navigate throughout it freely.

    A point today that could create world peace would be to have every country have the same amount of money. This would allow for everyone to be equal and no country could be filled with the wealthy class or have extreme poverty. Poverty is such a huge issue today and I feel that if each country has equal money, this would allow for less poverty, or none at all.

  11. I think that the last point that Wilson made would be something that could be used to create peace. If all parts of the world pitched in to decide what could be changed, great ideas come of it. Helping to decide what to do about countries like North Korea or Syria could be benificial in the race for peace. Getting everyone’s feelings out there could help resolve some problems that there are.

    Religious differences and biases need to be changed in order for peace to occur. Religon is one of the main reasons war happens today. 911 happened, because of differences of religion on different biases and judgements made of the U.S. and the Middle East. When we went to Iraq and Afganistan, we fought against religious groups. Israel is fighting against Muslim groups surrounding them. Jihadism is a religion that causes violence in America. If there was some way to nutralize all of the religions, the world could achieve peace. Different biases and beliefs about a group, or groups is another major cause of war today. If everyone dropped the derogatory terms about groups of people, hatred would not continue in the heartes of these people. These are the unliment causes of war today, but just like in 1913, there were differnet causes for war. I do not think that war can just end. There will always be a reason to fight, and the reason will keep changing. Once we find a way to stop one cause, another cause will occur. Changing religous beliefs and biases would keep us from fighting today, but in the next 20 years or so, a new cause will come about.

  12. I think that Wilson’s first point about a covenant of peace and that there should be no private international understandings is a good start to peace today. I think this because it specifically says a covenant of “peace” but also i think that the idea of no private international understandings is really important as well because i think that private international activities lead to suspicion and fear from countries which can lead into war.

    The problem with Palestine and Israel needs to be overcome by 2113. I think a point saying “Israelis and Palestinian’s must live together in the land that they want under a different country name but ruled by one jewish and one muslim leader together. basically i think that if they are going to fight over land then they should have it together and have to opposing leaders run the country so that the people will not fall subject to the opposite party. If the two groups were able to live together then this conflict would stop.

  13. Points I-V are all valid in limiting war, but only points II, III, and XIV are possible. Point I includes a similar fault of sharing total information. In point I a government could use this rule as support to validate whatever they say as true because the government would say they are following the rules. As a modern day example, the American public has very little knowledge of what is happening inside of Area 51, and there are other places unfathomable to people nonaffiliated with parts of the government. We will never understand the quantity of information we do not know. This fact will make it impossible for other governments to believe that each one is telling the complete truth.

    Point IV and V assume that domestic control is the same. Each country and colony is unique and the leaders of the countries can use these differences to give leverage to their wants. In point IV a leader could say that large artillery is needed to control his people. A country could then deem this unfair and try to intervene, which would be war provoking and counterintuitive. Uniqueness in colonies could also be used to have the government have a unique setup from different colonies and could create conflict.

    As we can see from this blog, we all come from the same country, state, metropolitan area, and school. We also share a specific South Eastern Wisconsin culture. With all these similarities we still have different opinions and plans on how to respond to a dilemma. Our opinion will change, but rarely assimilate with another’s. International differences are even greater, which is what makes war inevitable.

  14. I believe that the Wilson’s eleventh point should be modified. “Base borders…on nationality.” For patriotic men and women who want to be recognized as their own country, maybe that works. But for even more people who want to live better lives and “do whatever they want” is too difficult. Basing borders on nationality limits those who want to succeed, those who want to leave their country. Besides, it causes segregation. If one cannot stand being with someone of a different race, there will be no peace. Take the Hispanics living in the United States. There are many Mexican immigrants or descendants living in southern US, should we extend Mexico’s border to accommodate those people back into Mexican territory? The US is a “melting pot” and many of the US Americans I know are of German, Irish, British etc. descent thanks to the immigration of their ancestors. Especially for us living in the Americas, we are a mixed people, why don’t we think of seeing mixed people in Europe? Imagine a world without borders, where the term “illegal alien” did not refer to people coming into the country in hopes of better lives. Then, we will find peace.

  15. This is going to be my super long comment (10 pointer) and me answering the questions for homework.

    I want to start out by saying that I think Woodrow Wilson was almost foolish to call for world peace right after a war. If you really look into it, it was ridiculous. The war produced over 16 million deaths around the world, and tensions were high. The Germans were treated unfairly in the treaty of Versailles. The propaganda that was released and shown in various countries couldn’t have just been erased from memory. The images on the extremely stereotypical posters would be remembered by all who saw them. Obviously the propaganda worked very well, and imprinted something into the minds of american men, as almost two million american men were drafted. Wilson was trying to take incredibly long leaps and bounds. It just wouldn’t happen.

    I feel like your dad could be on to something. I couldn’t imagine war being completely erased in the next 10 or 20 years. This is because corrupt leaders (i.e Kim Jon Un) will be put in power by corrupt governments. The only possible way we can reach world peace is 1) A generation of different thinkers (not carrying on the violence of their previous generations), so basically time. It will take time. and 2) every country having a democratic government. It corrupt leaders that start rebellions, revolutions, and turmoil in third world countries that are already struggling. World Peace by 2113 is possibly, yet unlikely.

    The first five points that Wilson stated seem to be applicable to today. They are,

    1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

    2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
    3. The removal, of all economic barriers and the establishment of equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

    4. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

    5. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

    However, I feel that Woodrow Wilson is trying to simplify the process of coming to peace. He’s simply trying to force us into peace, when really its peace that we need to find. That’s hard to explain but many things need to be taken into consideration when regarding this, like religion, economy, culture, tradition, etc. People can’t completely change their state of mind in a matter of months or even years.

    My Addition to Wilson’s 14 points-

    Each country must begin to form their government into a democracy. This must be completed in the next fifty years, as the transition may take time. In addition to this, all countries may begin to dispose of any nuclear warheads, and cease production of nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons must be gone within the next fifty years.

    Every time that I see a Coexist sticker on someones bumper, I cant help but smile. They have it right. They know what it takes to become a peaceful world. We must be accepting of all religions, ethnicity, and genders. It all comes down to general acceptance and love.

  16. I would have to agree with Kellan on the Immigration and border points 5 and 2. These two points will keep the thought of war away. Point 5 deals with if we all just stayed within our own borders, there would be no fear of invasion and would be less likely to have another world war

    I think we need start controlling the space field when the technology allows us to and control less waters.
    Another point i would have to bring up again is point 5 with Immigration. The racial profiling in the US is allowing racial discrimination and profiling we do not need in our country that could easily start a rebellion not only in the US but also in South America/

  17. i believe the most prominate issue in todays world would be the israel palestine conflict. it emcompasses many conflicting issues such as; religion, race, and territory. these issues are made worse by the fact that the two nation despise eachother which makes it impossible to come to an agreement with anything. to solve some of the tension between israel and palestein i would suggest implementing less harsh border laws, limiting the countries control over air and sea. this would cause less conflict for nation because then they wouldnt get mad when other countries fly over or use their air space and ocean space.

  18. I feel that points I, III, and XIV could be implemented to obtain peace today. Each of these seem possible to achieve. If nothing is hidden from other countries (the development of nuclear weapons for example), then the chances of war will become less likely to happen. Equality in trade will also help other countries economically. I feel that Imperialism and Economic Rivalries must come to an end to further promote peace in countries. If no one is fighting to become the dominant country, then further conflict could be prevented. The US expansion seems to have become a problem to Afghanistan and the conflict with North Korea for example.

  19. First, I think that war, violence, and corruption will never be avoidable without people giving up freedom (which I don’t see anyone being O.K with). Of the points made by Wilson, I think that only I and V would be remotely possible today, but as I stated before, I never think world peace will be possible. I think these points are more realistic than the rest because in point I it states that nothing should be kept between the government and its people. This would eliminate a lot of governmental corruption, and conspiracy theories, which do not lead to peace. Point V. states that everyone should be open minded and equal. This would eliminate “power fights,” but would also take a way the freedom of many who are currently of power. As you can see the two points of Wilson’s 14 listed above could be plausible in today’s world, but incredibly unlikely, there are two many X factors in the world to create world peace.
    I think that if one point needs to be overcome today in order to create world peace, it would be the arguments over religion. I think this because people are so stubborn about their religion, and never open to any other ideas. If people were outgoing and willing to talk then there wouldn’t be wars over gods, and arguments over which cities belong to each religion. My “point” in order to solve this would be that everyone would have the same religion. Would this be fair? No. Would it be taking away the religious freedom of the people? Yes. The answers to those questions are the reason that this wouldn’t work, but if it 100% money back guarantee would, then creating a universal religion would be the only way to end arguments between/over religions.

  20. I believe that war is always going to occur. In able to make make peace by 2113 many changes would have to occur including taking away people’s freedom. Armies would have to be reduced. Wilson’s first 4 points would be a great start but I don’t think the majority of the points will come into law. Countries don’t trust each other making it nearly impossible to prevent war. The U.S. would completely have to change its government and way of life, the same with many other countries. I would rather go to war and fight for the America than change our life’s and live for a false country filled with lies and denial.

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