Dialogue is typically hailed as a progressive force fostering mutual understanding and resolving conflicts. Can it really carry such a burden? Does dialogue really resolve conflicts? In this unique volume international experts critically assess the political role of dialogue, addressing its potential and limitations. Bringing fascinating insights to bear they examine the theoretical underpinnings and conceptual boundaries of dialogue as a tool for conflict resolution. Major recent crises such as the Russo-Georgian war in 2008, the conflict between Western powers and Gaddafi’s Libya, arguments over Iran’s nuclear programme, religious tensions in Egypt after the Arab Spring, the Afghan case, the Sudanese experience and the recent Russo-Ukraine conflict are all considered and the conflict resolution attempts discussed. Using these cases the contributors explore in depth the nature of the dialogue between the actors, the extent to which it worked and what determined its impact.
’Dialogue is a being-in-the-world between assimilation on the one hand, and war on the other. The authors rightly stress how it is not for the immature. It requires sang froid, self-control, patience and tenacity. It is an idea and a practice that deserves the rich and timely celebration on display here.’ Iver Neumann, London School of Economics, UK ’Today, dialogue is heralded as the main currency of statecraft, diplomacy, negotiation, mediation and peacebuilding. Yet what exactly it is and isn't, when it works, when it backfires, and how to employ it most effectively in the geopolitical context is still in question. This book provides answers. Informed by compelling case studies and analyses by renowned experts, it sharpens our understanding of the concept and practice of dialogue. It will be essential reading for diplomats, scholars and students of peace, conflict and international affairs for many years to come.’ Peter Coleman, Columbia University, USA