THE CONCEPT OF POLITICAL SETTLEMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CRISIS THAT BEGAN WHEN IRAQ INVADED KUWAIT ON 2 AUGUST 1990 IS EXAMINED IN THIS POLICY ESSAY. ITS PURPOSE IS TO REFLECT ON THE POLITICAL ALTERNATIVES TO WAR AND ON THE FOUNDATIONS FOR BUILDING PEACEFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN OUR CHANGING WORLD. IT SUGGESTS THAT WE NEED TO GIVE AT LEAST AS MUCH ATTENTION TO DEVELOPING AND HONING POLITICAL INSTURMENTS FOR BLOCKING OR TURNING BACK AGGRESSION AS WE DO TO MILITARY PLANNING.
The author believes that the prime obstacle to a political settlement in Indochina is a fundamental conflict of security priorities expressed with reference to the appropriate political identity and external affiliations of Kampuchea. The conflict in this country engaged above all the competing interests of Thailand and Vietnam, which ante-date colonial intervention in Indochina. An unprecedented condition of political polarization created within South East Asia by the Kampuchean conflict. A peace formula for this conflict would have to reconcile, at least, the conflicting interests of Thailand and Vietnam and those of Vietnam and China. (DÜI-Sen)