By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Building peace can take time
Process presses patience
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
A lecture series provided by an area college continued Wednesday at Hampton Park Library in north Forsyth.

Great Decisions, a national program, is sponsored locally in conjunction with North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega.

Craig Greathouse, assistant professor of political science at NGCSU, addressed a crowd of about 40 on the topic of peace building and conflict resolution.

Greathouse, who teaches a variety of classes including security and defense issues and international politics, told the crowd that creating long-lasting stable nations isn’t an easy task.

He said the term “peace building” is relatively new since it was first used in 1992 by the United Nations.

“Peace building focuses on areas where governance has failed,” he explained.

He said the first step in the process is peacekeeping, which can be short-lived. This is where a nation or entity such as the UN sends in troops to establish a presence that encourages an end of violence.

Complete peace building, on the other hand, can take years, decades or even generations to achieve.

Greathouse explained that peace building is important to the world as a whole since “the world is getting smaller.”

“For example, if you have Iraq and Iran shooting at each other, the price of a gallon of gas is going to go up greatly,” he said.

The U.S. has attempted peace building six times since the end of the Cold War: Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo in 1990s and Afghanistan in 2002 and Iraq in 2003.

Overall, he said, the country has had some luck in the efforts.

“Somalia was a spectacular failure,” he said. “Haiti we had some success and the results are still out on Afghanistan and Iraq.”

In addition to peacekeeping to end violence, Greathouse said the process also includes humanitarian relief and establishing stable governance and economic structures.

He said U.S. success has been hampered by the American people’s unwillingness to invest the needed time and resources.

“If you have a people only wanting to spend two years on something that can take generations, you’re probably not going to have much luck,” he said.

After Greathouse’s lecture, the audience asked a variety of questions.

Most focused on the current U.S. peace-building operations in the Middle East and whether the U.S. should continue its efforts given the high costs and the large federal deficit.

Most attendees seemed to enjoy the talk.

“[Greathouse] was interesting,” said Rachel Schneider, who has attended all five of the lectures. “I’ve really enjoyed [the series]. They’ve been very good and very informative. It’s good to get different perspectives on these global issues.”

The Great Decisions series ends April 21, with the sixth and final lecture set for 6:30 p.m. at the Hampton Park Library. The topic is global crime.