The prestigious German think-tank Korber-Stiftung recently raised a question regarding whether the Westphalian model can be implemented in the context of peacemaking efforts in Middle Eastern conflicts, while surveying the identities of the local, regional and international players and their roles, either in stopping the bloodletting or becoming guarantors of sustainable peace.
The question is a major one. Explaining the model in-depth is a complicated task and requires reading the foundation’s publications on the issue — concisely outlined in a Foreign Affairs article from October titled “A Westphalian Peace for the Middle East — Why an Old Framework Could Work.”
The key idea is that coexistence between religious communities requires all sides to stop attempting to define “absolute religious truth,” while collective security requires a constructive and transparent dialogue on security interests with a view to reassure other parties. The peace that could ensue can be kept by guarantors, which include regional and international players that have the right to intervene in the event agreements are breached. All this requires the parties concerned to voluntarily work together to fulfill these goals, or force them to think outside the box when their own interests necessitate it.
The Westphalian model, which established peace in central Europe after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), can be used not as a blueprint for a new treaty for the Middle East, “but rather as a guide and a toolbox of ideas and techniques for negotiating a future peace.”