Negative Peace

A state in which there is not – or not yet open conflict between state actors.  All the tensions that break out in open conflict may still exist in such a state, which many people unfortunately confuse with ‘peace,’ just as nonviolence is often confused with non-violence or the mere absence of open conflict among sub-state actors.


A classic example of negative peace was afforded by the U.S. Navy some years ago, which defined ‘peace’ as “perpetual pre-hostility.”