Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues
By Paula Green | 25 January, 2021
President Biden frequently calls for “healing the soul of our country.” Lincoln wrote of “binding up the nation’s wounds.” Has the current exposure of our nation’s brokenness revealed an opportunity to give these words new meaning? Can we stop the bloodshed, diagnose symptoms, treat root causes?
By Herbert Wulf | 23 January, 2021
The attack on the Capitol in Washington was not just the result of a president out of control. The legitimate state monopoly on the use of force was never fully recognised in the United States.
"I wish we could say we couldn't see it coming," said President-elect Biden after the assault on the Capitol. "But that's not true, we could see it coming." And former President Obama added, we would be fooling ourselves, if we treated it as a total surprise.
By Lisa Schirch | 21 January, 2021
US-based right-wing extremists harnessed social media platforms to spread disinformation, to recruit new members, to plan a siege on the US Capitol building, and to fuel the flames of hate and division in the US. Even before the January 6 siege on the US Capitol, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency experts have been describing the “mass radicalisation” of Americans via social media-driven conspiracies. According to a Reuters poll, 13% of the US population supported the siege.
By Ramesh Thakur | 19 January, 2021
Critics of nuclear weapons have long pointed to two sets of risks. First, deterrence stability depends on all fail-safe mechanisms working every single time in every bomb-possessing country. That is an impossibly high bar for nuclear peace to hold indefinitely. Second, it also requires that rational decision-makers be in office in all the world’s nine nuclear-armed states.
By Alexander Kmentt | 12 January, 2021
Since the dawn of the nuclear age in 1945, perceptions and strategic positions amongst States regarding nuclear weapons have always differed. The 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) has thrust these existing divisions to centre stage. The treaty is the result of an increasing emphasis placed by non-nuclear weapon States on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons and the persisting risks posed to all humanity by these weapons.
By Dr Tanya Ogilvie-White | 10 January, 2021
I’ve spent my life studying the risks posed by nuclear weapons. I’ve always worried that one day an unhinged leader would emerge in a nuclear-armed country, with the authority to launch a nuclear attack. To me, the assumption that nuclear-armed leaders will act rationally has always seemed fundamentally flawed and dangerous. Robert McNamara, former US secretary of defence, highlighted this problem when he warned “the indefinite combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations”. Today, I worry about this more than ever and wish more people would wake up to the problem and push for change.
The views and opinions expressed in Global Outlook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toda Peace Institute.