PEACE GAMING ON THE SCALE OF PENTAGON WAR GAMES
The Second Generational Multinational Forces propose adapting state-of the-art war game strategies for peacekeeping.
by Sarah Lum
"People come together in temporary work teams and networks which dissolve when a problem is solved or redefined." Gibbons (1994)
Now we illustrate global-scale research strategies with a simulation/game that could involve and link researchers worldwide. A game might begin with networking to brainstorm about how to deal with one of humanity's most intractable crises: the use of violence to solve problems and disputes. It might begin by recalling, tongue in cheek, TV Star Trek episodes in which war is replaced with games, somewhat in the spirit of the story of David and Goliath in which the boy uses some new technology--his sling shot--as an alternative to a large battle.
Bremer (1977) expressed the hope that his decision-making computer model was "the first pier" for a much needed bridge in the field of international relations. Many more piers have since been constructed that increase the potential role of modeling, gaming, and simulations for resolving international crises. Gaming can explore alternatives to violence and ways to replace short-term patchwork solutions that are put together for each new global crisis.
7.1. GAMING TO DISCOVER CONSEQUENCES
Politicians often miss a whole range of possibilities because awesome complexity complicates human thought and action about war and peace. War may at times seem simpler than solving massive human problems and crises that cause conflict. It has often been easier to use violence against those who threaten war or terrorism (13.2)--when they are hungry or suffer injustice--than it is to feed them or give them justice. War games, the nations feel, must be secret and official, where the quest for peace can be a more open process. Also, peace gaming can include a wider range of issues, disciplines and complexities in an effort to understand chaos, turbulence, disorder and other symptoms of planetary anger. The enlarging capability for organizing and managing a great deal of sophisticated data (2.1) can possibly help negotiators overcome what Barbara Tuchman has called the pursuit of folly, as when political weakness leads to tragic blunders. The value of computer peace simulations will be decided by their success in helping us ask the most fundamental questions and solve the most desperate of human global problems.
Can peace games--to try out alternatives without risk--be played on the scale of Pentagon war games that use radar, battleships, and satellites? In 1997 the USA military and allies conducted the Joint Warrior Interpermeability Demonstration. Thousands of military and civilian personnel were involved in testing information systems and satellite communications under simulated warfare conditions. Previous games like that had already profoundly changed many ways of doing things, and in 1997 the project coordinated the messaging systems of the USA. Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand and Spain. If this simulation, as reported, was possible with "commercial off-the-shelf equipment" then civilians could also explore alternatives on a comparable scale.
In April, 1997, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) had a conference on `virtual diplomacy.' It began with the presupposition that new information technologies are dramatically changing how diplomats can negotiate to prevent war. Digital communications "now link diverse cultures, economies and create new relationships that disregard conventional boundaries, hierarchies, time zones and geopolitical boundaries.î (USIP 1996). New technologies also enable more people to cause conflicts, however, and the speed at which events move from potential problem to crisis. So the American government's Peace Institute in 1994 held a conference on managing chaos. It explored "the pivotal role that "new `conflict managers' can play in international conflict resolution.
It also asked how global-scale tools might be used more effectively in preventing crises through conflict resolution, peacekeeping, preventive diplomacy and humanitarian assistance in turbulent regions. A preparatory meeting examined case studies. A series of online conversations between experts in the United States and Japan on Asian policy issues used an online human rights database, a system to monitor human rights treaties, a computer-based negotiating training model, software developed at M.I.T. on patterns in regional conflicts, and a data base on the role of nongovernmental organizations in peacekeeping operations.
Tens of millions of people are trained and equipped to wage war where very few are trained to wage peace, including the peaceful resolution of disputes. Military forces are increasingly used as peacekeepers, but the art is still very primitive. Now suppose there could be (a) a large online coalition of university departments and experts in many fields, (b) supported by massive data bases of all the information needed for a war-preventing simulation, (c) software to implement the use of collective intelligence for more creative and imaginative networking about alteratives to war.
How then--in a vast World Wide Web co-laboratory--would they play a peace game on the scale of Pentagon war games? And do so with computer simulations and modeling to play out all alternatives without risk and at modest expense?
7.2. PREVIOUS ONLINE PEACE-GAMING
Online collaborative peace gaming began in 1972 when Professor Bob Nol of the University of California, Santa Barbara, planned a political game over ARPANET. the predecessor of the Internet. He assigned other schools to play the roles of diplomats of the Soviet Union, etc. When he assigned California participants to play Japan, Takeshi Utsumi protested: "No matter how much Americans study Japan they cannot understand the Japanese," he said. He proposed that the University of Tokyo should play the role of the Japanese government. This was done and then participants in London and Brussels were also enlisted.
The scenario for that 1972 game assumed a border incident between Iran and Iraq. During e-mail negotiations the Japanese team proposed, among other things, that the USA withdraw the 7th fleet from the Indian Ocean and that the United Nations act to secure Middle East oil by making the Maraca Strait an international zone. Some political scientists have since noted that when Iran and Iraq did later go to war, the plan proposed by this peace game might have been successful.
One participant in that 1972 game was Jonathan Wickenfeld. He later enlarged that first peace gaming simulation into the "International Communications in Negotiation with Simulation" (ICONS) project at the University of Maryland. ICONS engages in simulation/negotiation games to play out scenarios--some prepared by the U.S. State Department--in arms control, nuclear proliferation, human rights issues, etc. (Wickenfeld 1983.)
Leopoldo Schapira of the University of Cordoba, Argentina, used e-mail for a similar gaming simulation with colleagues around Latin America on drug trafficking. E-mail alone was found to be inadequate for such gaming and international satellites were expensive. So Utsumi began to experiment with real-time computer conferencing, using slow-scan TV over `plain old telephone lines' (POTs). Participating in some of his experimental demonstrations were Robert Muller, Honorary Chancellor of the United Nations University of Peace and Wassily Leontief, Noble Laureate in Economics.
By 1986 Utsumi was proposing a global peace game to train negotiators for dealing with environmental/economic conflicts. He felt that the game should be conducted by a global university consortium. It should "promote peace through joint research" and experimentation to create "a globally distributed decision-support system." It would explore win/win alternatives to conflict and war. Its design phase would use computer networks for planning by experts in various countries. Also, technologists would test `state of the art' systems--hardware and software--for a project as large as a Pentagon war game. Plans and technologies for synergistic convergence are described by Utsumi (1996).
7.3. A 1986 GAME EXPERIMENT
Utsumi's first major experiment with global-scale peace gaming was at the World Future Society's 1986 conference on complexity. Discussions there about scientific and technological explorations were noting new ways to deal with complexities in many fields and disciplines. There were reports, for example, about how Mandelbrot and others were implementing a new understanding of chaos, the study of turbulence and disorder in a whole range of phenomena. There was discussion of McCorduck's The Universal Machine, of the use of computers to empower human intelligence, and on modeling for use in global politics and in medical research.
Suppose, it was asked, society spent as much on peace as is spent on defense and war. That was seen to be a futile question because more hundreds of billions of dollars would not be available. However, Utsumi's panelists suggested, there was a new alternative. Computer networking and simulations could be used tp explore alternatives to war without much cost and risk. Online negotiators could: (a) create and use mutually agreed-upon data bases; (b) define and clarify areas of disagreement and agreement; (c) model historic decisions and actions such as those that have led to war and tragedy or to peace; (d) simulate alternative ways to resolve disagreements.
Instead of arguing theoretically with skeptics at the complexity conference, Utsumi and Parker Rossman conducted a demonstration of a global-scale peace game. It began with an online experiment in using collective intelligence--in advance of the complexity conference--to develop ideas, theory and procedures. The resulting demonstration involved connections between experts at several universities. American negotiators in the game--Provost William Nordhaus of Yale and Dean Lester Thurow of M.I.T--were electronically interconnected with counterparts at Japanese universities for three days of computer -assisted negotiations on a crisis scenario.
The game used the sophisticated FUGI `world computer model' at Soka University in Japan that included vast amounts of information on more than sixty-two nations. Klein (1995) reported that the FUGI global model contained a simulation of the relationship between arms reduction and growth in the global economy. In New York Utsumi brought together combinations of technology--including slow-scan TV and computer conferencing--to create a kind of co-laboratory. New York was linked with Honolulu, Tokyo and Vancouver, B.C. Participants from Asia and Canada were linked for real time participation in the peace game.
7.4. BEGIN WITH A SCENARIO
A United Nations staff member prepared a scenario for the game: The Japanese navy would be on its way to the mid-Pacific to stop by force an American company that was mining on the sea floor. The American navy was coming to stop the Japanese navy. Negotiators online would need to resolve the crisis before the navies confronted each another.
While the actual negotiations did not follow that scenario, they were so successful that they attracted the attention of the Japanese government. The game showed how the United Nations--facing an emergency that had to be resolved quickly--could make immediate use of such interconnected tools. They could be used to test and try alternative strategies for dealing with global issues; to enable more creativity and imagination in the process of global decision-making; for better political management; and, most important, to involve scholars and researchers of at least three countries, interactively, in the process.
Computer conferencing made it possible for a large numbers of participants on two continents to comment, make suggestions and ask questions. All could be read on large electronic screens by the negotiators and observers. Those in all of the locations, or on computer screens at home, could read the contributions and comments of all participants.
Interactive technology even made it possible for the negotiators to deal creatively with disruption by a protester who stormed into a conference room to demand to speak to the international online audience. The intruder was invited to type his protest onto a computer so that it could be read on computer screens everywhere in a way that would not disrupt the official negotiating process.
Now what is the possibility of a much larger peace game--on the scale of Pentagon war games--as a mega-research project? What now might be feasible and useful as research? Monitoring systems are being put in place to give advance warning of possible conflicts. What resources and technologies might be used to keep potential warring parties at the table to try out win-win methods to resolve the crisis? The world's diplomats are already sitting at the table, virtually if not in person. Can gaming, for example, help the United Nations discover new alternatives to ineffective sanctions or ways to make sanctions more effective? Other such ideas and questions were proposed at the U.S. Institute of Peace virtual diplomacy conference--and subsequent online discussion--in April, 1997. More such conferences were being planned.
7.5. EMPOWERED COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE
The first phase of a Pentagon-scale peace game--phases of which might last for years--would be conversations and planning via computer networking. Morton Kaplan in Toward Professionalism in International Theory said that although great individual minds may have been responsible for spectacular human advances at times, from now on human progress will require a community of minds in which theories are collectively developed, criticized, applied, and tested. Until that process is empowered, he said, human thought in the areas of war, peace, and international relationships will continue to be too simplistic and inadequate. As the bulldozer becomes one component in a system for empowering human hands to move mountains, so now the Internet/Web can be used to empower human minds to deal with overwhelmingly complex "mental mountains" that limit the human vision and constructive decision-making.
When we speak of `peace games,' some people visualize some small nintendo-scale game. In fact, such games exist and it is not fair to use the term small for Balance of Power (Crawford 1986). Much could be learned from what the New York Times called one of the most sophisticated strategic simulations other than Pentagon war games. It is important, Crawford said, to see the difference between a game and a simulation. A simulation seeks to represent reality so that one can understand a system and manipulate it in various ways. The word game is not used here in a frivolous way but to focus "on presenting broader, less quantifiable concepts" than most simulations have done. A game, he says, also expresses feelings and is closer to an artistic message. "A game should lift the player up to higher levels of understanding."
Millions of brains are mobilized to wage war. We here propose a game for peace research. It can mobilize brains of experts in the universities of many countries to plan skills-training for political leaders and to create computerized political models of the often unconscious processes that have led to war. Utsumi proposes gaming simulations on a very large scale to help decision makers deal with interwoven problems. He wants a "Globally Distributed Decision Support System" with autonomously managed simulation submodels at distributed locations. He wants mind-empowerment tools to help people do better thinking. He used computer networking to develop ideas for his smaller-scale peace game. Now PeaceNet, which can mobilize tens of thousands of people simultaneously for peace actions, also has shown how to use networking for large-scale planning.
7.6. SHARED AND OPEN DATA
A second phase of global-scale peace gaming would be that of providing comprehensive databases. (2.1) International conflict and poor decisions often result from complexity and inaccurate or inadequate data. Despite the vast sums spent on intelligence (Steele 1997), no president or head of government has comprehensive enough information for adequate decision-making. Legislators and citizens are less well informed. This can now change. Better managed and more comprehensive data bases can bolster the process of discovering, elaborating, and testing new alternatives for diplomatic and peace action.
If conflict often results from disagreement over fact or bad information, new research tools can now provide adequate data bases. Peace gaming can be undergirded with resources from university departments of peace studies, from peace research institutes in many countries, from the National Security Network Virtual Library and many other sources.
PeaceNet--one of the computer networks of the Institute for Global Understanding--now reaches to every continent to coordinate data bases and hundreds of peace organizations. It was established to bring online all peace data bases, such as those on arms control, international law, human rights, ecology, migration and terrorism. It has included a Peace Law cases data base, work and plans for peace research and action groups, news and conferences of the peace research and action organizations, planning mobilization for peace actions, etc. Existing data, in many places, is organized as a decentralized catalog. It is hosted at the Center for Security Studies and Conflict Research in Switzerland and is part of the World Wide Web meta-library system.
The value of building simulations upon more competent data bases was demonstrated when graduate students at M.I.T., for example, developed a computer model that made it possible for United Nations "Law of the Sea" negotiations to be more successful than otherwise might have been possible (McCorduck 1985). The M.I.T computer model made it possible for all countries, even the poorest and weakest, to participate with the major powers as equals in the negotiations. All nations had equal access to sophisticated data and to modeling which examined the probable results of various alternatives (Antrim 1986). Even if negotiations are totally secret, scholars everywhere can continue to add alternative suggestions to the data banks. Their computers can continue to cross-index and process all such information, passing on ideas for the negotiators to consider.
7.7 SIMULATING AND MODELING A GLOBAL PEACE SYSTEM
Central to a mega-research peace game would be many kinds of modeling and simulations. Models could be created in many universities and nations and gradually be linked together. Carroll (1987) left IBM to explore the use of simulations at a Catholic Peace Center. He proposed models of how human minds function--especially those of diplomats--in matters of peace and war. He also proposed modeling a control system, as an alterative to war, like the system of ground control that regulates air traffic.
A major obstacle to effective use of large-scale modeling is that even the most sophisticated computer model is not sufficient if it is disconnected from the real world. Exploration can be carried out within simulated environments, of course, but validation is impossible without real world connections. The network model can feature cooperation, sharing, meetings of minds across space and time in a context of responsive programs and readily available information. Or it can be characterized by supervision, regulation, constraint, and control. Using modeling and simulations in a global-scale game will require a long, hard process of deliberate study, experiment, analysis, and development.
A very large simulation and game might model possible ways to transform the war system itself into a more successful peace development system. Symbolic processing has been called a sleeping giant that in the future can make it possible for problems to be examined and solved on a larger and larger scale. It could it be used to discover and explore new kinds of power which can be used in defense of justice, human rights, and against aggressors.
One missing element in the 1986 peace game was software such as that for a global problem-solving program developed at Case Western Reserve University (Mesarovic 1996). Demonstrations at the United Nations showed that the system could be used to explore alternatives and the consequences of various kinds of actions that might be taken to solve a particular crisis. In time, negotiators on specific international conflicts can continue to fine tune such computer models, tailoring them for use in that particular conflict. Systems for Computer-Aided-Negotiations can include the counsel of experts with expert systems as one component is a computer-conferencing think tank. Easier-to-use software programs for peace gaming are illustrated by the UNESCO sponsored GENIe project at Case Western Reserve University and the ICONS project at the University of Maryland. Also software has been proposed for simulations of United Nations restructure and assemblies, for mock world court simulations to air grievances that may lead to conflict; for diagnosis and dramatization of potential crises through `global TV political theater' and for simulations of crisis management alternatives.
Utsumi proposes to construct a "Globally Distributed Decision Support System" for a plus sum peace game. This system will draw together many computers, in various locations, to share in the development of--and gaming with--already prepared simulation submodels. His system would include: a "meta-language" for improved communication among users of submodels; the development of distributed systems; a new scheduling algorithm--the Virtual Time concept that allows for the organization and exchange of information among dispersed, dissimilar computers--and other technological developments to make this possible.
When legislation was proposed for a U.S. Peace Academy, like West Point and Annapolis, many asked what peacemaking skills it would teach. In its 1997 conference on `virtual diplomacy' that United States Institute of Peace was exploring the use of information technology. Can it facilitate holistic peace making research? One of many small beginnings can be seen, for example, in the GaDia research group (Governance and Democracy in the Information Age). Growing out of a 1996 effort of the European Consortium for Political Research, scholars in many countries have been producing reports and were in 1998 hoping to expand research efforts with funding from the European Union's project for network/collaborative research activities. A truly global co-laboratory can come into existence if peace institutes, university peace studies departments and academies in many countries link in a global research design and strategy. A research co-lab for peace might then be central to the global virtual university itself, since true peace will require a wide range of research in areas discussed in the next chapters, such as how to secure food and justice for all.