In this issue, we examine a set of articles with a great deal of regional diversity — two articles focus on peacebuilding or peacekeeping in Africa, one looks at resistance to exclusionary nationalism in Bosnia (Europe), another explores “uncivil society” in Bougainville and Timor-Leste (Asia-Pacific), and, finally, one considers military checkpoints in Iraq (Middle East). These articles heighten our awareness of the complexities and challenges involved in peacebuilding after war. All the more reason to avoid war in the first place.
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In this issue, some of the articles focus on intractable conflicts, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or civil wars of the recent past, like Sierra Leone or Côte d’Ivoire. While conflict is persistent in these settings, there are examples of peacebuilding at the interpersonal and local levels. The choice between violence and nonviolence is highlighted in two other articles, though in quite different contexts. Research conducted in Iran finds that nonviolent resistance garners more support than violent resistance does even after the previous failure of a nonviolent movement. Other research reveals that the inclusion of armed groups in negotiations can move them away from the use of violence, while their exclusion makes a return to violence more likely. Additionally, national governments continue to play a powerful role in shaping outcomes for peace and security, from decisions about whether to participate in negotiations with armed groups to decisions about how much to allocate towards defense spending.
In this issue, each of the articles selected either takes a critical approach to its research question or incorporates a careful perspective on the various racial, ethnic, gender, or other identities at play in its analyses. The first article shows that support for military action decreases when civilian causalities increase. The second criticizes the shift from peacebuilding to stabilization and counterterrorism operations. The third reviews women's informal participation in the peace process in Myanmar, and broader implications from barriers to their formal participation. The fourth suggests a link between women's participation in government, reduced levels of corruption, and higher levels of peace. The fifth details strategies for leftist civil resistance movements to confront rightwing counter-protests. The results of this critical approach empower us to see beyond our assumptions, to be surprised by the results of our work, and to view events of the world with a dash of skepticism.
We hope the research discussed in this special issue informs a cascade of activism and policy-making to avert the worst eventualities of climate change and to create a world that is more secure and more just for all of us.
When climate change is framed as a security threat, it is often due to assumptions about how changes in the climate will cause mass migration, which will itself precipitate violent conflict.
The following analysis is from Volume 3, Special Issue “Climate Change, Security, and Conflict” of the Peace
Inside this issue, we start with an article that addresses the rationale for the existence of the Digest: the growing communication gap between practitioner and academic communities, and how addressing this gap can lead to more informed and useful research. Next, we look at research on Gender Advisors in militaries and their role in the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. The third analysis gives us a look into a new course that uses podcasts to help teach complex topics on peace and war, and how emerging technologies can be a useful tool in peace education. We then turn to a case study analysis on the 2013/14 “Kerry Initiative” in Palestine and Israel, exploring the important and delicate role of third parties during conflict negotiation processes. The last analysis addresses the European Union’s efforts to incorporate inclusive peacebuilding projects in Georgia and Yemen and highlights the important “Whole-of-Society” approach that works to include marginalized communities into the peacebuilding process.
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.
If there is a silver lining to the current political situation in the U.S., it is the way that polarization can bring latent conflict—in the form of extreme inequality and oppression—to the surface to be addressed. In 2018, one would hope that we would not still be living in a sexist, gender-unequal society (or a racist society, for that matter). But, whereas a few years ago, well-meaning people of all genders might have been able to overlook the ways in which gender (and racial) inequalities still permeate our daily existence, today it is difficult to do so any longer. The courageous revelations of hundreds of women across professions have exposed the insidious ways in which sexual assault and harassment still very much structure power dynamics in the workplace and beyond. Comparisons between world leaders about the size of their nuclear “buttons” have made evident how the desire to look more masculine assists in escalating international conflict. In other words, it is no longer possible to ignore the “work” gender does in politics—from the bedroom to the boardroom to the battlefield.
In this issue, we examine research on the successful nuclear weapon free zone treaties that helped pave the way to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and how approaching nuclear weapons prohibition through regional stepping stones may be the key to global abolition. Next, by looking at a study on levels of weapons imports, we see a direct relationship between the influx of weapons and the likelihood of a specific classification of countries engaging in civil war. In the third analysis, we learn that less than one in five nonviolent uprisings in the past 45 years has attempted mediation to resolve the conflicts they seek to address. It turns out that higher risks and costs associated with a nonviolent uprising—either the presence of radical flanks or high levels of state repression—are closely related to mediation attempts. Next, we are taken to post-war Liberia where we explore the role of trust, norms, and social networks play in the ability of former combatants to reintegrate into society. The research highlights additional perspectives on the devastating toll war plays on individuals and societies, even after the fighting ends. Our last analysis focuses on why different organizations in the same movement choose the specific nonviolent tactics they do, resulting in a consideration of resource availability, interdependence, and strategic decision-making.