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Political Psychology
The Changing Middle East
One, Two and Multi-Track Diplomacy
Pursuing Peace

Backstory to the Backstory

Synchronicity provokes me to write these almost disparate ideas in one article. It all started when at some thrift store, I remember not which one, (Could it have been Volunteers of America, or was it Goodwill or Salvation Army?) Anyway, I bought a used book with a most pertinent and interesting title: The Changing Middle East. It was authored by a former New York University professor of history, Emil Lengyel. Since I have an interest in history in that area, especially regarding Biblical prophecy and current events, I thought its 1960 insights most fascinating.

I found out some days ago that it is signed by the author! They sell the unautographed books online when they have their dust cover (mine does) for as much as sixty-five dollars, (the average goes for more like twenty). I also recently glanced askanced at the EX LIBRIS label on the inside of the front cover, with some previous owner's name on it, but paid no attention to it, until today....but I get ahead of myself.

The Changing Middle East

The author was a Hungarian born in 1895, and after fighting in World War I, and suffering as a Russian P.O.W., he came to the United States in 1921. Somewhere during this time (or just before, thereabouts) he married Livia, who after his death in 1985, preserved in a recording at Columbia University an interview highlighting his life.

Emil Lengyel's higher education back in Hungary included much too-close-for-comfort learning and experience passed down concerning the hundred and fifty or so years of Muslim Ottoman Imperial domination of his homeland. It made his insights most precious indeed, when he boosted that with travels to the former multiferous entities that were under "The Sick Old Man of Europe" sphere of influence. The Osmans who remained of that dynasty took the wrong side in WWI with the Germans, and the Arabs and others were glad for the Brits to give them relief from the Turks. This book goes into much detail of the intrigues and balancing of power that went on in the region. Those that became Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordon, Iraq, and Iran; and not to forget Egypt and others. He eventually wrote papers and books on this Middle Eastern expertise, and taught on it in the New School for Social Research at New York University.

I Like Ike, Wassa Massa With Nassa?

Dwight D. Eisenhower was still president when Professor Emil finished his book. And one of the key players at the time and mentioned several times in this book was Gamal Abdul Nasser (Arabic, meaning God's Victory) of Egypt (and the U.A.R.). Though I remember Nassar making the cover of Time Magazine, he probably did not make Man of the Year. Nasser, although he allowed Soviet help was, ironically, anti-communist. He had a major competitor vying to unify Muslims in the area from Iraqi strong man, General Abdul Karim Kassem, who leaned politically to communism. In another irony, when Kassem first came to power, he was hailed by Nasser.

The book reiterates the facts that most countries throughout history, were mostly only concerned with the Middle East as pertaining to opportunism, travel and commerce. Some travel was strictly desired for pilgrimages, but the other concerns were accessways to and through the region. Different nations and interests did not want one or more rivals dominating it, either.

Have a Negev Ah

A homeland for the Jews was envisioned even in the United States by President John Adams as early as 1818. A petition for that same idea gathered by several famous clergymen was sent to President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. President Wilson's endorsement of the Balfour Declaration started in 1918, and Congress went on record for it in 1922 had its ideas re-affirmed by resolution in 1944. Diplomacy had to continually walk egg-shells with Muslims over this flashpoint issue.

Butter Oil Before Guns

Later the increasing need and greed over petroleum loomed gargantuan. By 1959 the Sixth Fleet was stationed in the Mediterranean. The United States, in a sort of prophetic dress rehearsal, had to deal with terrorists even in its infancy: the Barbary Pirates where the Marines got them at "...the shores of Tripoli."

A Thousand Ivy Leagues Over the Sea

Enter, or should I say, matriculate, one Joseph V. Montville into this narrative. He is the one whose name appears on a Harvard sticker in the inside front cover. There is even something in Arabic under his name. If it was not for Google, and I thank those fine folks, I would have never got to the transitional part of this historical-to-current affairs antecdote. He must have had Emil sign this book when it was new! He must have been inspired as he went to Lehigh and Columbia Universities before evidently getting a doctorate in Cambridge, Massachussetts. He is now, I believe, the director of Preventive Diplomacy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. Anyway, he turns out to be famous amongst those who promote what is known now as Multi-Track diplomacy. He co-wrote a paper for Foreign Affairs with William D. Davidson in 1981, "Foreign Policy According to Freud." They coined "Track One" and "Track Two." The former term represents in a "theater of conflict" official "actors", and the latter, attributed to him, were unofficial "actors". A specialist in this matter writes of Track Two as:

....referring to the range of unofficial contact between negotiating parties and people to enhance and move forward the peace process. Montville, then a U.S. diplomat, used the term in contrast to Track One diplomacy, which refers to diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts only through governmental channels.

Montville is one of the best political analysts; he learned the skills while associated with Political Psychology, (in 1989 he wrote an abstract for Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, "Psychoanalytic Enlightenment and the Greening of Diplomacy.")

For 23 years before coming to the CSIS, he was stationed in diplomatic stations in North Africa and the Middle East. He previously was employed in the State Department's Bureaus of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs and Intelligence and Research; he was chief of the Near East Division and director of the Office of Global Issues.

Two Trains A' Runnin'

The Portsmouth Peace Treaty, as represented by a website devoted to it, touts itself as using for a month, Two, or Multi-Track negotiations there in the turn of the 20th century between the Russians and the Japanese. After the beginning of the 1990's, those two tracks weren't sufficient enough for the escalating complexities from hot spots around the globe. Thus, Multi-Track Diplomacy expanded to more than two and is...

...broadly defined refers to nine different "tracks" that all contribute to international peace and conflict resolution:

  • Track One: Governments
  • Track Two: Business
  • Track Three: Private citizens
  • Track Four: Educators
  • Track Five: Peace activists
  • Track Six: Religion
  • Track Seven: The funding community
  • Track Eight: Media
  • Track Nine: Coordination
Each track in itself contributes to resolving the conflict however they are best used in a coordinated effort. The value of the multi-track approach to conflict resolution is that often the unofficial contacts can diffuse much of the conflict before the negotiations begin. The unofficial contacts can build bridges and relationships to develop trust and foster mutual understanding. These channels also reverse the dehumanization of conflict and put a human face on each enemy making it more easily develops personal understanding and trust. Often the de-escalation that results from such contacts is necessary, before official negotiations will be considered politically possible

All we are saying, is give peace a chance.John Lennon

He sorts out conflict resolutions in not just the Middle East, but he discerns those additionally of East Central Europe, the Baltics, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Russia, Canada, and Latin America. He works while on the advisory boards of The Institute for Victims of Trauma, and the Tannenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. He is Senior Fellow at the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution, Committee Member, Evaluating Track Two Diplomacy.

As Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."


The Changing Middle East, Lengyel, Emil, New York: The John Day Company, 1960. (& Cover notes)
http:/www.islam-democracy.orgmontvillebio.asp Bio of Joe Montville
http:/www.microneil.comivt Advisory Board, IVT - The Institute for Victims of Trauma

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