Internal Conflict, the International Community and the Promotion of Principled Compromise


  • Peter Jones,

  • Ian O'Flynn


The international community has many reasons to promote compromise between the parties to internal conflicts. Yet to do so effectively, the international community ought to treat principled rather than strategic compromise as its default position. To make this case, we begin by defining ‘compromise’ and by distinguishing principled from strategic compromise. We then defend the idea of principled compromise against the realist who thinks that that idea is implausible. We conclude by offering a number of practical reasons why principled compromise ought to be preferred. Our argument does not deny that strategic compromise will sometimes be the only option. But, unlike principled compromise, strategic compromise does not provide the parties with any particular reason to look beyond their own particular concerns or to give any ground beyond what is absolutely necessary.