Posts by: Aditya Sarkar

Security: the unmentionable debate

While there are genuine points of disagreement between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, the centrality of ‘security’ is not one of them. I wish this were not the case.

Both candidates seem to agree that security ought to be the basis of foreign (or even domestic) policy decision-making. They differ, […]

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As a researcher, it is easier to replicate the work of scholars who have already worked on a subject, than to come up with original research. This is, of course, self-evident, but it is a trap that is surprisingly difficult to evade. I learned this the hard way, when researching the Chinese famine of 1876-1879.

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Every assessment of an American President’s role in world peace implicitly requires us to take positions on two questions: First, what does world peace mean? Second, how do we evaluate an American president’s role in achieving it?

Perhaps a minimum definition of peace (‘negative peace’) is the absence of war. Everywhere? In most of the […]

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Excerpt from “What Went Wrong”. Full article published by  The Cipher Brief, August 3, 2016.

At the heart of South Sudan’s descent into chaos is a failed effort at security sector reform. When Sudan’s long civil war ended in 2005, the U.S. – along with other donors – poured money and expertise in trying […]

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This note briefly outlines a research agenda on mercenaries and private military companies (PMC’s)[1] in Africa’s political marketplaces. It is driven by: (a) a desire to understand mercenarism within the context of broader political, economic and social changes in global and local governance; and (b) the need to move away from simplistic analyses […]

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How legitimate and accountable are Westerners who advocate for geographically and culturally distinct issues? If the legitimacy of these Western actors is not derived from those people on whose behalf they are advocating, what gives these ‘activists’ the right to propose solutions? Who are these advocates accountable to, if they do harm? How can advocacy […]

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