Policy Briefs Books Journals

Policy Briefs on Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Voters Tell Modi: Keep Going, But Under Caution

Policy Brief  No.194 - June, 2024 • By Ramesh Thakur

The biggest takeaway from India’s eighteenth general election is that the death of Indian democracy has been much exaggerated. The exercise was a resounding win for the election machinery of the world’s most populous democracy. The entire exercise and the outcome affirm once again the competence, professionalism and integrity of the country’s election machinery. The truth is that Modi’s India has become more illiberal than many Indians, as well as Westerners, are comfortable with, but his mass appeal has endured because he has provided the most competent governance in decades that delivered more tangible outcomes on the ground.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Israel and Gaza: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Policy Brief  No.182 - January, 2024 • By Ramesh Thakur

This Policy Brief looks at the events of and since 7 October 2023 ‘in context’. The paper agrees with the Israeli claim that the destruction of the military threat posed by Hamas and the dismantling of the Hamas political structures are a necessary condition for re-establishing some sort of a peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, it argues that to move beyond yet another armed truce until the next incident that provokes yet another even more brutal round of fighting is unacceptable. Israelis too must rein in the ideological extremists in their midst who dehumanise and ‘Other’ all Palestinians. They must dismantle some settlements in occupied territory, and engage in good faith negotiations that will entail some painful sacrifices in order to create a substantial stake for Palestinians in preserving their own state rather than aiming to destroy the state of Israel.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

A 5-Point Peace Plan - Palestine and Israel

Policy Brief  No.176 - November, 2023 • By Lisa Schirch

This Policy Brief expands the narratives of what is necessary at this moment in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, when too many simply say “there is no other way” or “ceasefire” which both leave many questions unanswered.  A just political solution is essential. This 5-point peace plan identifies a range of strategic principles and bridgebuilding processes to protect the safety and ensure the democratic freedoms of both Israelis and Palestinians. It emphasises the shared humanity and traumas of both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis. A sustainable peace will require that journalists and political leaders use their power to focus on protecting civilians, dismantling Hamas, ending occupation, addressing trauma, and investing in democracy.

Contemporary Peace Research and Practice

Official Apology: Cementing Peace, Disavowing Injustice

Policy Brief  No.136 - August, 2022 • By Robert J. Muscat

This Policy Brief explores the history of apology and presents a definition of official apology. 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.  The Policy Brief 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 • By Herbert Wulf

This Policy Brief asks how the war in Ukraine will possibly end and how can we get out of this escalation spiral. What is a possible path to de-escalation? February 24, 2022, the day of the Russian invasion, is called a watershed, a turning point. 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.