In this issue of the Peace Science Digest, you will find research highlighting the negative effects of military spending on a country’s long-term economic growth—contrary to many beliefs, war is not good for the economy. Next, we look at how ad-hoc military intervention increases the likelihood of retaliatory terror attacks, showing how current military strategies are actually making us less secure. We then turn to the role of social media in violent conflict, and how this new age of communication is changing how conflicts are conducted and how conflict actors communicate. In the fourth analysis, we look at how political leaders consider initiating conflicts abroad to distract from domestic problems. Finally, we look at Peace Journalism at a contribution aimed at making Peace Journalism more relevant.
Inside this issue, we analyze research on the negligent dismissal of environmental and health considerations during the world’s race to develop nuclear weapons. The second analysis examines how the perceived legitimacy, power, and language of certain people can influence thinking and policy on nuclear disarmament efforts. The third analysis examines how gender and Western domination of knowledge shape nuclear discourse. In the fourth analysis, we highlight the importance of devaluing nuclear weapons not only as material, but as social objects. Finally, we examine empirical research that considers U.S. proximity and power as the main contributor to North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Inside this issue, we examine research that explores the mixed human rights implications of U.S. military bases abroad. Next, by looking at a sample of popular U.S. history textbooks, we learn about how nonviolence during the Abolition Movement has been “silenced” in our classrooms. Through the examination of 1990s peace talks in the Korean Peninsula, we learn about the convening power of religious civil society and the positive role the community can play in peacebuilding. Next, we consider the need for multicultural societies to ensure more inclusive engagement across deep divides, and what this engagement means when confronting violent extremism. Finally, we look at four different examples of “zones of peace” in El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Colombia, and the Philippines, and what these examples can teach us about why peacebuilding practices should support local agency instead of international priorities.
In this issue, we examine research on the impact of violent flanks on nonviolent campaigns. We take this opportunity to provide an inward reflection on the current resistance to white supremacist groups and ideologies in the U.S. Next, we discuss health effects of the Syrian War on internally displaced persons and refugees, which is highly relevant for international humanitarian organizations and campaigning. Finally, the last three entries of the Digest focus on the crucial question of how to influence armed actors—particularly non-state armed actors—in the context of civil war such that violence is prevented or terminated. The three studies examined take very different approaches to this question. While the first investigates local civil resistance and the creation of peace territories as means of resisting violence, the latter two examine the efficacy/inefficacy of more traditional tools of international politics: external support to rebel groups and sanctions against them.
In this issue, we examine research that helps us rethink our assumptions about security, violence, and development, urging us to look at these notions from the perspectives of those being “secured.” Next, by looking at a study on levels of short- and long-term quality of life after military intervention, we highlight additional perspectives on how war harms civilians—and offer viable nonviolent alternatives to military intervention. Through the examination of local entrepreneurship and peacebuilding in post-war Sri Lanka, we learn about effective economic development programs that empower business owners and provide sustainable, local avenues to economic security. In the next analysis, we consider two different studies—one on Nigerian responses to Boko Haram and MEND in Nigeria and one on Kenya's responses to Al-Shabaab. The studies underscore the counterproductive effects of military counterterrorism strategies in sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, we look at college-level experiential learning activities and their utility in helping students internalize abstract theoretical concepts related to global complexity and conflict, helping them become more effective conflict resolution practitioners.
In this Special Issue, we culled through recent scholarship on nonviolent resistance (also called civil resistance or nonviolent struggle) to find research that would be most useful for thinking through strategic questions, research with the clearest implications for organizing. From Standing Rock to Sweden, from Ferguson to the West Bank, join us in exploring how to employ humor in nonviolent movements, recognize diversity and privilege in transnational anti-occupation activism, sustain a broad-based struggle against racism and police violence, leverage Indigenous treaty rights to struggle against environmental exploitation, and withstand “smart” repression.
Inside this issue, you will find analysis of research highlighting the use of preventive diplomacy in Southeast Asia and how regional and international organizations can contribute to conflict resolution. We provide insights on the factors that influence public opinion on war and defense spending. We discuss key motivations behind domestic right-wing terrorism as well as a fascinating study on reasons why people leave terrorist organizations. Finally, we look at the evolution of armed United Nations peacekeeping missions.
In this issue, we offer analysis on mediation techniques for intergroup conflicts with specific implications on the tensions surrounding the refugee/immigrant populations. By looking at a study re-visiting military draft and inequality, we offer contemporary perspectives on war support. The examination of religious peacebuilding in Sierra Leone offers insights into how religious actors can leverage their role in societies to constructively transform conflict. In a further study, we look at peace journalism and media ethics. In a time when the term “fake news” is used for almost anything that challenges the administration, peace journalism can play a radical role in speaking up against the status quo. Finally, we look at alliances and their role in multiparty wars. This is of relevance, given the controversial role NATO plays in the current tensions between the U.S. and Russia.
This issue’s articles illustrate the necessity of highlighting the alternatives to war and violence, and proving that these alternatives are indeed available. However, we are not naïve—we are facing challenging political times. Given the uncertainties of U.S. foreign and domestic policy ahead of us, it becomes even more important to pro-actively challenge war and violence prone rhetoric and action by pointing to demonstrable more effective and less costly alternatives. Peace Science tells us that we certainly do not need a new (nuclear) arms race.
Inside this issue, we provide relevant research examining multiple lenses of war prevention and the viable nonviolent alternatives: how domestic protests influence coups; oil, terrorism and insurgency in the Middle East and North Africa; democracy, human rights and terrorism as possible motives for U.S. military intervention; the uneven distribution of civilian casualties, politics, and public support for Israel; and how nonviolent resistance contributes to strong democracies.
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Under the purview of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, Mauritania is now free of landmines for the first time in four decades. Committing to weapons treaties like these can also influence nonstate actors to do the same.
A bipartisan group of top military analysts has written to Congress and the Trump administration calling for the closure of U.S. military bases overseas, claiming the move would be an important step toward making the U.S. and the world more secure.
Recent U.S. elections saw a steep rise in female political representation. This is a vital step towards greater gender equality and inclusion, but Juliana Restrepo Sanín points out a challenge: "in a political landscape increasingly marred by violence and bigotry, how can violence against politically-active women be prevented? Ensuring that elected women have the chance to represent their constituents and advance their political agenda in equal conditions as men is imperative if the principles of democracy are to be sustained."
This week, the U.S. Senate voted to consider ending America’s role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Such a move would mark an end to the United States participation in a civil war that has led to the death of thousands and suffering of millions. Though, peace science warns of the lasting effects of foreign military support.
A new report from Brown University's Cost of War project provides updated estimates on the devastating human and economic costs of the United State's post 9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
A new report from Pace University calls for more assistance for nuclear weapons test survivors from the states that conducted the tests. Peace Science has shown the devastating and lasting effects of nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific.
Inside this issue, we examine research analyzing hundreds of civil war peace agreements that concludes that “complex” agreements are not necessarily better at keeping the peace than simpler ones. Next, we take a critical look at research on public support for military interventions and the motivations behind support for interventions conducted for “humanitarian” reasons. Third, through examining civics textbooks in Sri Lanka in the context of global peace education efforts, we consider how specific omissions and emphases in these textbooks have served the government’s goals, while failing to address the injustice and inequality still plaguing post-war Sri Lanka. Next, we discuss research finding that the primary peacekeeping tasks associated with preventing violence and protecting civilians can be effectively undertaken by unarmed peacekeepers, who are, furthermore, often able to address some of the shortcomings of their armed counterparts. Finally, the last analysis reflects on possible reasons for why past attempts at peace in South Sudan have failed, calling for more psycho-sociologically informed conflict interventions in the future.
Context: Women are underrepresented in peace talks. Peace Science shows how women’s inclusion in peacebuilding is crucial to the success and longevity of peace agreements and insight from Foreign Policy shows how the United Nations can work on inclusion. In the News:
Citation: Ateng, M.A. (2018). Fragments of peace in South Sudan: A critical look at the intervention strategies of the South Sudan ethnopolitical conflict. Peace Studies Journal, 11(1), 25-43. Multiple conflict intervention strategies have been attempted by the international community to
Citation: Julian, R. & Gasser, R. (2018). Soldiers, civilians and peacekeeping—Evidence and false assumptions. International Peacekeeping, forthcoming (available online). Think of the word “peacekeeping”—what image comes to mind? Most likely blue-helmeted soldiers carrying weapons and outfitted with the UN logo.