As a starting point, we must assume that there will always be tyrants and "tyrant wannabes" motivated by ruthless Machiavellian ethics who are willing to employ the most grotesque acts of violence to advance their narrow, selfish interests. These individuals are often able to assemble large, well-equipped, and well-trained military and paramilitary organizations capable of overwhelming more modest forces and challenging (in specific locales) the most advanced military forces. Efforts to prevent such violence must address a number of key contributing problems:
The Scapegoating Effect -- The exploitation of long-standing, identity-group tensions within a society to foster the image that the other side is an implacable enemy that must be fought at all costs.
The Propaganda Effect -- The use of deceptive information strategies to create inaccurate images of the situation that foster and exacerbate hostility between groups.
Power Begets More Power --- The ability to employ violence also often gives perpetrators the ability to force others to act on their behalf.
Vulnerability of Peacemakers --- Those who seek to prevent violence through peacemaking efforts are often directly targeted in ways that intimidate them into inaction or kill them directly.
Strategic Escalation --- Purveyors of violence are often able to deliberately and often deceptively drive the escalation spiral in ways that persuade “swing people” who determine the course of social policy that there is no alternative to all-out violence.
Dehumanization --- The above dynamics can all intensify a confrontation to the point where enemies become thoroughly dehumanized and taboos constraining our most inhuman impulses collapse.
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Other Governance Challenges
This is only one of the challenges facing those seeking to improve governance. The full list of challenges (including this one) with links to challenge homepages like this one include:
- Improving Security
- Promoting Cooperative Relationships
- Assuring Efficiency and Effectiveness