The finding that violent conflict has declined, especially after the Cold War, has generated a great deal of interest. Much of the initial debate focused on whether the claim itself is correct, but the finding itself seems robust in the sense that that the number and severity of violent conflicts has declined in most data sources. However, there has been less attention to why violent conflict has declined. This is unfortunate, since the confidence in stability and the expected future outlook ultimately depends on understanding the possible causes of the decline.
Mediation Perspectives is a periodic blog entry that’s provided by the CSS’ Mediation Support Team and occasional guest authors. Each entry is designed to highlight the utility of mediation approaches in dealing with violent political conflicts. To keep up to date with the Mediation Support Team, you can sign up to their newsletter here.
In 2017, Simon Mason and Jean-Nicolas Bitter commenced a series of blog posts on the role religion can play in mediation and negotiation. Simon continued the series with an example from work in Zimbabwe with a Biblical text at the center. Posts followed with Susan Hayward writing about dispute resolution and the centrality of peace within Buddhism and Abbas Aroua placing a framework of peace at the center of Islam – engaging and thought-provoking pieces.
Welcome to North Korean Negotiations 101. North Korea’s reaction to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Pyongyang was expected and does not signal the end of the diplomatic process; it just shows us it will be a long and difficult one. On top of dealing with North Korean-style negotiations, President Donald Trump already made important concessions too soon before concrete North Korean denuclearization steps while Kim is playing a long game, looking 40 to 50 years down the road. Trump, on the other hand, seems to be focused on the next 2.5 years, until the next US presidential election in 2020.
This graphic depicts 1) the adaptive cycles that take place within complex systems, such as national and international security systems; and 2) how national security systems interact with international security systems. For more on this subject as well as the concept of resilience, see Tim Prior’s chapter for Strategic Trends 2018 here. For more CSS charts, maps and graphics click here.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres rightly prioritizes performance by including it as one of the five pillars of his Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) reform initiative. Peacekeeping operations are a principal tool, and one of the most expensive and visible ways, that the UN intervenes to prevent and mitigate conflict. Improving peacekeeping performance is thus essential, but it will not be easy.