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I argue that the Chadian political marketplace is characterized by five main patterns: externally-derived rents, the gap between politico-military entrepreneurs and the cheap combatant labor force who participate in “rent-seeking” rebellions, a violent mode of governing associated with a decentralized control over the instruments of coercion, the structural weakness of the civilian opposition trapped between repression and cooptation, and the exclusion of women.

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It has been a busy and exciting summer so far for our staff at the World Peace Foundation, but we are making time for some leisurely reading beyond our assigned reading lists or classroom favorites. Read on below for what has piqued our interests and share your own reading favorites in the comments or on [...]

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But a billion here and there adds up, with the F35 program cost ballooning from $219 billion (1997) to $395 billion (2012) and counting. Even after the Pentagon finally strong-armed Lockheed into serious cost control a few years ago, and significantly cut the number of planes it will buy, the total lifetime cost of the F35 looks to be, optimistically, $1.02 trillion.

All of the figures in the previous paragraph are so enormous that they cease to have any real meaning – they’re unimaginable. To bring them down to earth, the World Peace Foundation decided to have a concrete look at what else that money could have bought:

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The New York Times this morning has an article that begs attention–not only for what it says about the mercenary  (i.e. “private security”) firm formerly known as Blackwater, then Academi, merged with Triple Canopy, and now part of a new firm, Constellis Holdings– but for what it says about the state of defense [...]

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The central lessons are well worn but nonetheless worth re-stating. First, the main effort in counter-terrorism should be social and political reform in affected countries, and second—for the United States—a national security strategy cannot substitute for a foreign policy that is aimed at finding political solutions to political problems.

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Here’s the paradox: successive governments in Khartoum have managed their peripheries on the basis of individual bargaining. It is sometimes derogatively called “Jellaba politics” with reference to the northern Sudanese traders who dominate the retail business in small provincial towns. The ruler cuts deals with members of the provincial elites—administrators, tribal chiefs, militia commanders, rebels—on [...]

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