In this fascinating, occasionally frustrating, book, Rosa Brooks examines the blurring of the boundaries between war and peace that has evolved over the past 25 years, especially, though not entirely, as a result of 9/11. Bringing to bear a rather unusual combination of perspectives—daughter of peacenik activists, international law professor, former DOD staffer, and special […]Continue Reading →
In the post-Westphalian world, sovereignty is the norm that simultaneously produces anarchy between states and the possibility of its opposite, order, within those states. While sovereignty ostensibly gives national authorities ultimate control over subnational actors and spaces, along with the formal ability to impose order from above, the reality is much more complicated – and much more interesting. Order is never a foregone conclusion, even within the sovereign states that form the units of the international state system. From the seminal works of scholars like Michael Mann, Stein Rokkan, and Charles Tilly, we know that the emergence of the nation-state as the dominant unit in the modern world was everywhere associated with dramatic territorial struggles between national and subnational actors over who got to do what, and with whose resources. Whether peripheral regions were incorporated into proto-states by core areas using direct or indirect forms of rule, territory was always at the heart of state building. But territorial struggles do not simply disappear once the process of state formation is complete; well after their emergence, states are constantly negotiating and renegotiating territorial arrangements between core and periphery, and between national and subnational. We see this in the wave of decentralization that swept the global south at the end of the last century, and in the set of re-centralizing changes that have occurred in the opening years of the new century.Continue Reading →
It is worthwhile at this juncture to consider the nature of the US presidency and its likely impact on the role of the US in the post-World War II and post-Cold War world order. The issues inherent in the US president’s recent statements and behavior — his fondness for autocrats, dismissal of allies and long-term partnerships, and his embrace of mercantilist approaches to trade —constitute a major break with core bipartisan traditions in US foreign policy.[i] Close advisors to the president articulate broad views of global politics that they define as standing at odds with this tradition.[ii] These developments contribute to a major increase in uncertainty for those who govern amidst disorder.Continue Reading →
Prepared for the March 2 – 3, 2017 seminar, Theorizing (Dis)Order: Governing in an Uncertain World, organized by the winners of the 2016 – 2017 WPF Student Seminar Competition.
In northern Uganda, where I have conducted field research on local security initiatives over the past three years, issues related to politics, power, and the state […]Continue Reading →
The past week has given us contrasting pictures of how the world’s top two powers are making decisions about military spending, with announcements of plans for spending increases by both Donald Trump and the Chinese leadership. The comparison is not a flattering one for the US.
China announced its annual defense budget increase for […]Continue Reading →
In its 106 years of existence, the World Peace Foundation has committed to understanding and promoting peaceful relations among and within nations, as well as analyzing the causes of war. Today, based on our expertise and given the statements and actions of the current President of the United States, we are obliged to take a step without precedent, which is to name U.S. President Donald Trump as a major threat to global peace.Continue Reading →
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