Analytic Reflections from Conflict Zones: A Cautionary Tale for a Polarizing America and World
This book details the compelling story of the author’s life-journey through conflict zones and his return home with innovative conflict assessment and transformation frameworks and models to help people better see their conflict circumstances and peacebuilding possibilities—analytic reflections aimed directly at academics, professionals, and citizens. This engaging approach contains a blend of on-the-ground stories, mix of professional and personalized writing styles, astute historical and policy contextualization, and accessible field-tested analytic tools with community, societal, and international intervention implications.
It is also a cautionary tale for increasingly conflicted societies. Political polarization, caustic commentary, and societal discord in America and elsewhere remind the author, an informed eyewitness, of dangerous conflict patterns and consequences that he has seen before in various conflict zones.
Dr James R. Adams, a Vietnam veteran and professional field officer, has extensive on-the-ground experience in peace and stabilization operation roles with the United Nations and other international organizations in Africa, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. In pursuit of a better understanding of conflict and peacebuilding, he acquired an MS and a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, USA, specializing in Peace and Stabilization Operations. He has presented resulting observations, and innovative frameworks and models, field-tested in Bosnia, to civilian and military audiences in Kosovo and at the US National Defense University. His publications include an Alliance for Peacebuilding article “Bosnia—Stabilization Stalled in Negative Peace”.
“In a timely treatise for those who care about the future of America, if not our world, James Adams does a masterful job of helping us understand how the same dynamics of national self-destruction over there present an existential threat to our own experiment in self-governance over here. Also, this richly researched and thought-provoking work offers a navigational guide on how the methodologies of experienced, scholarly practitioners like Jim, based on lessons learned from conflicts all over the world, can help put us back on the road to positive peace right here at home. Read this before it’s too late!”
Colonel, US Army Civil Affairs (Ret.); Senior Civil-Military Director, Narrative Strategies LLC; Author of Travels with Harley - Journeys in Search of Personal and National Identity
“Adams combines a lifetime of experience in some of the world’s most troubled spots with academic rigor and a passion for peace to share this remarkable narrative. From Air Force jet mechanic in Vietnam to UN peacebuilder in Kosovo, and now as a concerned citizen in a divided and troubled USA, he provides informed perspective with astute analysis, and he puts the current complex challenges in context and offers pathways to resolution. I highly recommend it to my peacebuilding colleagues and to anyone who seeks solutions to the conflicts in a troubled world.”
Charles F. “Chic” Dambach
Former President and CEO, Alliance for Peacebuilding; Author of Exhaust the Limits: The Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder.
“After arriving in Haiti in 1995 to research the UN Mission in Haiti, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenges confronting the mission: predatory elites, a ruthless praetorian guard supplemented by a secretive paramilitary gang, unremitting poverty, and environmental devastation. Where to begin? How will it ever end? The author of this volume has assembled a sophisticated and comprehensive framework for answering these questions derived from his many years of experience as a field officer in Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kosovo, and Afghanistan followed by extensive field research in Bosnia. He deftly weaves together three books into one. The first is a penetrating and often witty description of the origins and evolution of each of the conflicts he has grappled with. The second is a tour de force of the concepts and theoretical constructs that have been developed to describe and explain the intricacies of international intervention into internal conflicts that threaten regional and international security. [...] The third book is the leitmotif that haunts the entire discussion: Having witnessed the consequences of purposeful polarization of societies by conflict entrepreneurs in Somalia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Kosovo, he urgently implores: “…this is a cautionary tale for an increasingly polarized America—a hard-won model of democracy, now at risk.”
Adjunct Professor, George Mason University; Co-Editor of The Quest for Viable Peace: International Intervention and Strategies for Conflict Transformation
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