Recent theory on civil wars urges people to think of the conflict as a highly fluid situation. Peacemaking efforts are often closely intertwined with preventive diplomacy , peacekeeping , and peacebuilding . Because of this, the diplomats and soldiers involved in these missions must maintain high levels of communication in order to ensure common goals and shared information. Peacemaking in the post-Cold War era occurs most often within states where battles lines are not clearly drawn and the strategic situation fluctuates frequently. Peacemaking in this context is but one tool to use in violent conflicts. By itself, it is insufficient to deal with intractable conflicts.
Most of the negotiation literature focuses on two strategies, although they call them by different names. One strategy is interest-based (or integrative, or cooperative) bargaining, while the other is positional (or distributive or competitive) bargaining. In their best-selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury argue that there are three approaches: hard, soft, and what they call "principled negotiation." Hard is essentially extremely competitive bargaining, soft extremely integrative bargaining (so integrative that one gives up one's own interests in the hopes of meeting the other person's interests) and principled negotiation is supposed to be somewhere in between, but closer to soft, certainly, than hard. All of these topics are discussed in this section.