As anyone can plainly reason, when anyone gets violent, the conflict in question tends to degenerate toward more violence, with a natural human vengeance for any violent attack driving that series of responses steadily downward toward the worst in human nature. One side gets violent, the other side responds in kind, and the race to the bottom is underway. We can all name any number of examples.

What happens when, at some point, a strategist gains the ear of a sector of the conflict parties and mentions that continuing this response is maladaptive, costly, and ineffective? Is there any hope that a violent conflict can somehow right itself increasingly toward nonviolence?

Of course. We saw that in the Philippines, in South Africa, in the Balkans and elsewhere. Violence begins to lose its luster when logic begins to replace the limbic system response. That is when nonviolence can save the day.

Many of us are hoping for that in Syria. 

Read the rest of the Blog Post on Hastings on Nonviolence.