Posts by: Alex DeWaal

The era of the West’s enthusiasm for military intervention is over. Two reports on Iraq and Libya—written from the heart of the British establishment and published recently—have delivered its obituary. Each is damning; together, they dismember the case for intervention in both its neocon and liberal-hawk variants. Although their focus is almost exclusively on decision-making within Whitehall—the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Ministry of Defence, and, above all, No. 10 Downing Street—Americans will recognize many of the same ills afflicting their own government.

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Kleptocracies are bad. A kleptocracy going bankrupt is dangerous. The Enough Project should know better than to advocate it.

One of the causes of the genocide in Rwanda was that the kleptocratic government of President Juvenal Habyarimana lost the resources it needed to maintain its centralized patronage system. In the disordered competitive politics that […]

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The South Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations, Akuei Bona Malwal, described the violence as part of his country’s ‘learning curve.’ It’s his job to put a brave face on disaster. But the learning curve surely needs to be that South Sudanese citizens can no longer afford a political elite whose greed, ambition and bellicosity have driven their country to ruin. The long-suffering people of South Sudan need to have their own voices heard directly in the next peace process, so that they can find ways to bend that curve towards peace.

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Published by The Boston Review, June 29, 2016.

Brexit is bad news for world peace.

Four years ago the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel committee said that the EU has “contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” The award was justified. Because of […]

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But perhaps the biggest blow to Africa from the Brexit comes in the least tangible sphere of international political culture. As the weakest continent, Africa has the most to gain from the principles of multilateralism — collective security, international cooperation, and respect for international law. The continent achieves its best outcomes for democracy and human rights, and for peace and security, when its governments collaborate in the African Union and regional economic communities, and when they work in partnership with the United Nations and the European Union.

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Fifty-three years ago today, on June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave the Commencement address to the American University in Washington DC. He began by explaining his choice of subject: “a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is to rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic […]

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