Posts by: Bridget Conley

In his final address to the American public as President, on January 17, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower famously warned of the rise of a military-industrial complex and the threat it posed to what he saw as the ultimate goal of U.S. foreign policy, peace. Eisenhower valued the goal of peace and realized that its priority as a guiding ideal for U.S. policy was undermined by a set of interests that were being cemented and expanded in the Cold War climate. He described the potentially distorting impact on U.S. policy—not only by intricate design but also “unsought” as ideology, interests and profit converged around militarization. Waste was not Eisenhower’s foremost concern when he drew attention to the military-industrial complex. Rather, he was concerned with the distortion of interests that skewed the focus of U.S. foreign policy. The “Global War on Terror” extends and expands the threat Eisenhower identified. In addition to the skewing factor of commercial and political interests in large-scale weapon systems, tilting the balance of democratic practice away from the interests of peace is the expansion of securitization and intelligence. We must now speak of a security-intelligence-military industrial complex, which ebbs away at transparent democratic practices.

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Memory is not the opposite of forgetting, these two ideas are, as many others have also noted, twins. Rather memory unravels and intervenes, it destabilizes; so its opposite is institutionalized narrative. Memory is most powerful when it makes little sense in relation to the ways we try to tame it, be that for reactionary or liberal narratives. This also means one must part ways with memory at some point, switch to another language once lesson learning and meaning extraction become the goals. This work is overtly and rightly political, and must stake its claims on those grounds.

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My edited volume, How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq (Cambridge 2016) was published recently, with case study chapters by Roddy Brett, Noel Twagiramungu, Claire Q. Smith, Alex de Waal, Fanar Haddad, and myself. To help bridge the academic research with policy audiences, we also produced a short briefing paper based […]

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We welcome all comments, whether critical or in support of our authors’ arguments. We only ask that commentators use their real name and engage in real discussion, which is to say, we will not post any ad hominem arguments. We also ask that commentators submit a real email address–which will not be publicly visible–in case […]

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Today, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Radovan Karadzić, the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs through the war (1992 – 1995), when he led them into disgrace by trading legitimate concerns about the character of political life in Bosnia’s post-Yugoslav existence for the pursuit of systematic, group targeted violence against their neighbors.

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WPF has just published an Occasional Paper, “Assessing the Anti-Atrocity Toolbox” by Bridget Conley-Zilkic, Saskia Brechenmacher and Aditya Sarkar, that asks what do we know about the effectiveness of various policy mechanisms that often  the examining scholarly literature that tests the impact of various policy measures often cited as potential measures that state or international organizations could […]

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