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Coronavirus CSS Blog

Infectious Narratives: US, China, and COVID-19

Image courtesy of Morning Brew/Unsplash.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Stories exert power by constructing one way of understanding the world and by effectively communicating that “reality” to others. Conflict actors understand this when they seek to define the terms in which a conflict takes place, representing themselves as morally sound and the other side as illegitimate.

Building on the work of narrative mediator Sara Cobb, we analyze how the respective governments of the US and China have depicted the origins and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic as the fault of the other side. In recent months, COVID-19 has become central to the US and China’s creation of “master narratives”. Master narratives hugely simplify the plot and characters, contain moral judgments, and form the basis for the generation and perpetuation of a conflict tale. This serves both governments in deflecting criticism away from their domestic responsibilities. Tensions have escalated between the two world powers as a result.

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Religion Conflict CSS Blog

Church Constellations in Ukraine

While religious issues are not the primary drivers of the conflict in and around Ukraine, religion has played a significant role in it. This graphic provides an overview of church constellations in Ukraine, including autocephalous, canonical (recognized) or with debated status.

For insights on the religious dimensions of the Ukraine conflict, read Cora Alder, Palwasha Kakar and Leslie Minney’s CSS Analyses in Security Policy here.

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Nuclear Coronavirus CSS Blog

Keeping the 2020 Momentum Around Nuclear Issues Alive

Image courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson/DVIDS

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Various nuclear milestones in 2020 have provided important opportunities to raise awareness on the role of nuclear weapons in national security strategies, their impact on communities, the state of arms control treaties, and progress in nuclear disarmament. While the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference on its 50th anniversary was rescheduled due to the pandemic, the delay could enable member states to further engage in dialogue, seek compromises, and suggest new initiatives. Depending on when and how the conference will eventually take place, the coronavirus crisis might even bring much-needed change to conference proceedings.

Categories
Conflict Peace CSS Blog

Development of Yearly Homicide Rate in Colombia

Colombia was one of the most violent countries until the early 2000s, with a yearly homicide rate above 70 per 100,000 inhabitants. This stands in contrast to the global average of roughly six and the European average of one. This graphic provides a comparison of the development of homicide rates in Colombia between the national level, areas with previous FARC presence & illicit crop substitution areas, from 2010 to 2019.

For insights on the Colombian peace process, see CSS’ Enzo Nussio’s CSS Analysis in Security Policy here.

Categories
International Relations Coronavirus CSS Blog

Belarusian Integration

Belarus’ importance as an independent actor in Eastern Europe is growing – a fact that is underlined by Swiss Foreign Minister Cassis’ attendance at the opening of the Swiss embassy in Minsk and meeting with Belarusian President Lukashenko in February 2020. This graphic illustrates four different integration projects, of which Belarus is a member. For more on Belarus’ foreign policies and strategies, read Benno Zogg’s addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series ‘Belarus between East and West: The Art of the Deal‘.