In less than a week, Joko Widodo will be sworn in as Indonesia’s seventh president; the first without ties to its authoritarian past. Mr Widodo succeeds Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, marking the country’s first exchange of power between directly elected presidents. The election was fiercely contested but peaceful, and the role of the military was singled [...]

Continue Reading

By Bridget Conley-Zilkic & Lauren Spink

While the precise details last night’s shooting of a young black man, Vonderrit Myers Jr. (18 years old), by a policeman in St. Louis, Missouri are still emerging, the events immediately triggered multiple causes for concern. This incident, like the August shooting of Michael Brown in the nearby town [...]

Continue Reading

In the late 1800s, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov famously introduced a principle that would later come to be known as “Chekhov’s gun”: “if in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.”[i] Chekhov thereby succinctly illustrated the principle [...]

Continue Reading

This is a lesson in recycling, that the United States government and defense industry have been slow to learn, and the result could look something like an arms race that the United States is waging with itself, in which it provides proxy groups or allies with arms and training. These proxy groups re-form and radicalize or the weapons fall into the hands of groups labeled as terrorists by the United States. In response, the United States invests large amounts of money in military technology to combat terrorism and provides yet more arms to groups that assist it in fighting terrorism globally.

Continue Reading

If it weren’t for the cruel stakes of the violence, U.S. policy in Iraq would form the perfect parody of the idea that militarized response to threats against civilians is a viable policy, let alone that this tactic could be mistaken for a strategy. After all, given the patterns of assaults against civilians in Iraq, the intervention should have come in 2006 – 2007, or even earlier, in March – April 2003, because these are the periods during which the spikes of violence against civilians reached their peak. Of course, the great irony is that no one, least of all anti-atrocity advocates, could have called for U.S. military intervention then. If anyone had wanted to suggest this policy – and no one did — there was one fatal logical flaw: the intervention had already occurred. The only time you can call for intervention is after the U.S. had left; but it would be folly to pretend that just because this little catch in the intervention logic had been resolved that the policy itself would have improved.

Continue Reading

The World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School invites proposals from students at the Fletcher School for a two-day seminar to be held on campus in February 2015. WPF seminars offer a rare opportunity for leading experts to engage in incisive, collegial and sustained dialogue on the pressing problems of our day. The student competition enables Fletcher School students to frame an issue and interact with leading global experts on the topic of their choosing.

Continue Reading