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Apology and Reconciliation in International Relations.

Cohen, Raymond
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) In Yaacov Bar-Siman-Tov, ed., From conflict resolution to reconciliation. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. 177-198.

This discussion of apology begins with an analysis of the phenomenon within a framework of dispute processing. The author takes a comparative and cross-cultural approach, discussing the Japanese harmony model, Chinese hierarchy model, Arab sulha model, and Anglo-Saxon individualist model of apology. The discussion also covers three types of apology. These include apology as moral restitution for a historical injustice, and apology for acknowledged injury or breach of international law. The third, nonapology, expresses regret but actually avoids acknowledging responsibility or liability. In summary, apology between individuals operates quite differently for reconciliation from that practiced in the more abstract and representative level of the state. Nonetheless, it is a significant and practical tool of diplomacy for resuming normal relations.


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