I recently heard that an armed conflict can end in two ways: with one party clearly winning the war or with a stalemate. In the latter situation, both sides employed full force to win but were unable to do so because neither possessed a comparative edge over the other. The only way out of a stalemate scenario is through negotiations.
Nobody enjoys wars. There is just more to lose in war than there is to gain. But I often question whether any disagreement or conflict should be resolved by negotiation. Is anything that two opposing parties disagree on always negotiable? Are there really some things that cannot be negotiated?
For example, if you have a neighbor who is constantly encroaching on your borders, such as claiming a plot of land that you own and have lawfully acquired, would you negotiate with that person and give away a small piece of land just to keep the peace? Or are you willing to fight in order to have your territory respected? And how much fighting are you willing to put up in order for your territory to be respected?
What if your feud with your neighbor threatens the well-being of your children, whom you adore? Would you continue to pursue it?
But I still believe that some issues are worth fighting without even the slightest potential for compromise. I am the type of person who will go to any length to maintain peace and avoid conflict.
Even I have a limit. Everyone, I suppose, has. When the point of no return for accepting abuse is reached, there is no turning back. There is nothing else to do but fight. But, when I say this, this tiny voice in my head says, “But what if the cost of continuing to fight becomes too much to bear? Would you continue to fight?”
I’m not sure how to respond to that voice, but I know that when it comes to pain and suffering, we humans can be unbelievably selfish. People kill for power, and others for money. Some people kill for the sake of their health, while others abandon their children to perish when their survival is at stake. Alternatively, other people would give up everything they believed in. People of the latter category, in my opinion, are often scarce.
But one thing is certain: while we may not know the extent to which one would battle for what they deeply love and believe in, we can clearly say that many individuals would be willing to fight for it.
Not everything can be negotiated. Some things are simply worth fighting for because the cost of not fighting outweighs the benefits of fighting. Our country has devolved into a battlefield. But can every conflict be settled by negotiation? Can there be terms of bargaining for every fight?
I believe strongly in negotiations and compromise, but I also feel that not everything is negotiable. Some things are worthwhile to fight for. The crucial decision is not whether to fight or not, but rather how to fight and how efficiently to fight.