Posts by: Alex DeWaal

Occasionally, a senior international policymaker provides a candid, on-the-record, reflection on the question of what he or she reads, and how academics might best influence policy.

Jean-Marie Guéhenno, who was head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations from 2000-2008, is a prime example of a self-identified intellectual who took on a very senior policymaking […]

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This is a dataset of historic famines and episodes of mass intentional starvation.

It is a working dataset, to be updated as more and better sources become available.

It includes two kinds of overlapping events, which have hitherto largely been studied separately. One set of events is great and catastrophic famines. A famine is […]

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Dr. Omar was conducting an exploratory laparotomy on a female patient with a bullet wound in her abdomen when the entire hospital shook with the sound of explosions. Windows were shattering and a light and plaster fell from the ceiling. A nurse ran in to say that a missile had been fired through the wall […]

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It’s no coincidence that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir cracked down hard on dissent at precisely the same moment that he reluctantly signed the ‘Compromise Peace Agreement’ that should, ostensibly, bring an end to the last twenty months of fighting with the SPLA-in Opposition forces. This also reveals why the tools of targeted financial sanctions, […]

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Naypyitaw, the new capital of Myanmar, is built on a monumental scale. Nowhere is this truer than in the buildings of the legislature.

The hall of the House of Nationalities—one of the two chambers of the parliament—is grandiose. It is entirely public space: halls, corridors, meeting rooms, banqueting rooms, staircases. There are few […]

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The annihilation of the Japanese city of Hiroshima seventy years ago, followed by the destruction of Nagasaki three days later, still represent the most terrifying event of modern times. Nuclear weapons are the only armaments with the capacity to destroy life on earth.

There is no single cogent argument, ethical or political-practical, for any nation […]

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