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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

Understanding China: Myths and Realities

Summary Report  No.186 - March, 2024 • By Hugh Miall

This is a Summary Report of discussion at an international study group hosted by Toda Peace Institute in November 2023. The meeting brought together Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian and international scholars and diplomats, to discuss the prospects for stable peace in Northeast Asia. There is a sense that the world is at an inflection point and Northeast Asia is a site where these choices are particularly stark. There are large potential gains from cooperation and very large potential losses from conflict. The Toda Peace Institute convened this meeting with the aim of exploring ways to avoid violent conflict between China and the US and its allies and to advance cooperation in the region.

Peace and Security in Northeast Asia

A New Korean War Is Not Imminent - Accidental Escalation Might Be

Policy Brief  No.185 - February, 2024 • By Chung-in Moon

This Policy Brief discusses the security situation in the Korean peninsula which is going from bad to worse. However, despite bellicose words, changes in military doctrine and posture, and harsh verbal exchanges, “war by a premeditated plan” is not imminent. What is troubling is the potential for accidental military clashes between the two Koreas and the escalation into a limited or full-blown conflict involving nuclear weapons. A sequence of accidental clashes, crisis escalation, and war might appear rational at each incremental step until the conflict spirals entirely out of control. Such a sequence must be avoided at any cost. What measures are needed?

The Many Wars of Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim

Policy Brief  No.184 - February, 2024 • By Debasish Roy Chowdhury

This Policy Brief examines the rise to power of Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim – a story of political perseverance and hope with few parallels – and how he has fared in handling the Southeast Asian country's many challenges in his first year in office. A rare intellectual-politician, his career has careened from street protests to the centre of power, back to street protests, incarceration, custodial torture, repression, then slow progression back to high politics, and eventually the apex of political power. Becoming the fifth prime minister in as many years in 2022, stability has been his priority, complicating his dual task of revving up the economy and battling the ever-lengthening shadow of Islamist conservatism over Malaysia. Anwar’s report card after a year is hence a mixed bag of some hits and many misses amid abounding constraints.

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

Ten Take-Aways on Russia’s War and Five Ideas for the Future of Ukraine and Beyond

Policy Brief  No.183 - February, 2024 • By Herbert Wulf

This Policy Brief discusses the Ukraine war which is now entering its tenth year. Two years ago, President Vladimir Putin announced the so-called “special military operation”. There is no end in sight. To end suffering and destruction it is necessary to think about pathways to peace. How to end the war or at least achieve a ceasefire? What are the most important results of this war so far? Here are the ten key results of the war and five ideas for a possible way out.

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.