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The Notion of the Conflict

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Taking a step back again, one can see that conflict is something that is innate in nature, as has been observed over and over again in different contexts. Among animals, for instance, both of the same species and among different species, conflict is used to secure and to establish territories and boundaries of territories. Here conflict seems bad, where conflicts among members of a species result in injuries or even death, but in the larger scheme of things the literature suggests that conflict is effective at ordering animal groups and establishing the bounds and limits of the territories of individual members.

Ultimately the result is that individual members are able to secure the territories they need in order to go on with their lives. The literature suggests too that these conflicts over territories extend from the world of animals to human beings and human societies as well. The idea is that by understanding the dynamics of conflicts over territories among animals, one can better understand the dynamics of conflicts for territories among humans too. Here conflict on the surface is bad and to be condemned, but underneath the surface is revealed to be an important dynamic that needs to play itself out for a larger and more stable order to emerge.

The implication, of course, is that many conflicts over territories in the world at present, say among the members of the ASEAN, Japan, and China over the Spratly Islands, and the territorial disputes and conflicts in the Middle East, say between Israel and Palestine, can be better understood by accepting conflict as a natural reality in the world, and better understanding how conflict affects the establishment of stable world orders.

The key lies it seems in accepting conflict as inevitable, rather than viewing it as something bad and to be avoided at all costs. The preceding discussion establishes that conflict, on the other hand, is something that has a vital role in all kinds of societies, and is, therefore, to be accepted and understood rather than resisted (Toft, 2014; Barta, 2012; Sabapathy, 2013; Cook, 2011).

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