Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Official Apology: Cementing Peace, Disavowing Injustice

Policy Brief  No.136 - August, 2022

Since World War II, governments, some church authorities and other bodies have apologised for specific injustices, including violence, which they deliberately committed against other countries, peoples, or their own citizens. This Policy Brief first explores the history of apology and presents a definition of official apology. It explains how apology can provide cement for a peace settlement. The post-World War II apologies referenced above are then categorised into seven types or purposes. This is followed by a discussion of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, and the difference between an effective apology and an inadequate apology. The question of apology and compensation is explored, along with the efficacy of enhancing apology with national commemoration and physical memorials and realising the potential of official apologies for promoting justice, post-conflict healing, and peace. Finally, the new and unprecedented situation of climate change, with multiple perpetrators and victims, is touched upon.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Escalation, De-escalation and Perhaps—Eventually—an End to the War?

Policy Brief  No.128 - April, 2022

The war is back in Europe. February 24, 2022, the day of the Russian invasion, is called a watershed, a turning point. How will this war possibly end and how can we get out of this escalation spiral? What is a possible path to de-escalation? The massive arms build-ups and mutual threats are reminiscent of the times of the Cold War. It looks like the major powers are trying the chop the globe into spheres of influence again. It seems that there can be no return to intensive economic interdependence, a cornerstone of détente. But in the medium- and long-term, a Helsinki II process is important: a political project that pursues predictability of the nuclear arsenals, arms control and the return to an adherence to international law.

Climate Change and Conflict Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Warming to a New Definition and Call for Global Action: Humanity’s Security

Policy Brief  No.117 - October, 2021

The world is in the throes of two classically defined global problems that confront humanity: climate change and a ruinous pandemic. Everyone is affected; only global solutions can solve them and a truly commonly agreed blueprint is needed not only to face ongoing threats, but to avoid the worst to come in the near future. Decisive joint action in the interests of all humanity is required. In the light of the stark losses incurred by the world economy as a consequence of both these problems, I argue that a new conceptualization of security must be embraced now: humanity’s security. This is a call for action that requires states to pool their resources, capacities and strengths for the common good of humanity to attain global public goods on a planetary scale.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

The Rule of Law: Undermined and Under Attack - Questioning the State Monopoly on the Legitimate Use of Physical Force

Policy Brief  No.105 - March, 2021

The rule of law is being undermined and attacked and the state monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force is almost universally at risk. This policy brief examines contemporary challenges to the legitimate state monopoly on the use of force and its possible future. What are the values and the shortcomings of a legitimate state monopoly on the use of physical force? What does the concept in its ideal form mean and why are these principles questioned and challenged?

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament Peace and Security in Northeast Asia Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

“They Called Us Illegal. How Is It Possible?” Dissent As A Tool For Navigating Citizenship in Democratic India

Policy Brief  No.102 - February, 2021

What does citizenship mean in contemporary democratic societies as they become increasingly multicultural? Can dissent be used constructively to redefine the terms of engagement of minority groups with the state? This paper begins by recalling the grounds for political obedience in terms of the distinction between law and legitimacy. In the context of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it then briefly sketches the assertion of Hindu primacy in the 2014–19 years before examining the seminal events of 2019 and 2020, when protestors issued a clarion call on the conscience of the state to engage in dialogue with its citizens.