SIPRI today released their annual data on world military expenditure, covering 2016 (along with full data for 172 countries going as far back as 1949 in some cases). This causes me a little wave of nostalgia, as up to last year this was my job, before I moved to WPF. (I was still involved […]Continue Reading →
In other words, order is the purpose of society. Disorder is therefore always a failure of society or otherwise undesirable, and the purpose of social mechanisms is to contain and process conflict. These equations whereby order = good and disorder = bad, have often been taken to be key elements of what Geertz critically called the “consensus gentium” (nuggets of cultural universals)[ii]. But there is good reason to question whether the values embedded in those equations are indeed universal/neutral.Continue Reading →
This paper examines how contests over military control were played out during peace negotiations and in the implementation of agreements (including the manipulation or violation of the terms of agreements) in Sudan between 2002 and 2011. The cases examined are the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, the Darfur peace talks which took place from 2003 to 2011, and the post-referendum arrangements talks of 2011. The central arguments presented are as follows: the principal political players consistently sought control over the military as a main component of their political strategies; senior military officers posed a threat to the power of nominally civilian leaders; security arrangements were determined by a combination of the leaders’ calculations over their internal power base along with their expectations of ongoing or anticipated armed conflicts; and external programmes and policies for security sector reform were manipulated and instrumentalised in pursuit of these power goalsContinue Reading →
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 →
Can conflict sensitive interviewing practices help promote world peace? The connection might not be immediately clear, but as Roxanne Krystalli of the Feinstein International Center argues, a conflict sensitive approach can help close the loop between research, policy, and practice.
Even in the most academic pursuits, the quest for objectivity is always influenced by the […]Continue Reading →
On September 5, 2013 we argued in The New York Times against the Obama Administration’s proposal to respond to the crossing of a red line in Syria – use of chemical weapons against civilians – by arguing that bombing for bombing’s sake was ill-conceived as punishment, failed to protect civilians and hindered peacemaking.
The question was not then, as it is not now, whether gassing civilians is acceptable. It is illegal and atrocious. The question remains one of the best strategy for protecting civilians and how use of force might play a part in service of this goal. Ending atrocities can have a military component, but ultimately it demands a political agenda and strategy.Continue Reading →
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