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Policy Briefs

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Latest Policy Briefs and Reports

Cooperative Security, Arms Control and Disarmament

“Rent-a-Soldier”: War as Business

Policy Brief  No.170 - August, 2023 • By Herbert Wulf

Wars are not only fought by armed forces. Often, different non-state actors are involved. Private or non-state actors were at times more important than state-established armed forces. Armed conflicts became an attractive and profitable business for some of the participants in wars, who offered themselves for political goals for their economic profit. After the end of the Cold War, economic and personnel shortages in the military sector accelerated privatization, and several factors have contributed to a gold rush for private military companies in the 2000s. They operate in a legal grey area and undermine the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Thus, there is a need to regulate them.

What is Democratic Resilience and How Can We Strengthen It?

Policy Brief  No.169 - August, 2023 • By Wolfgang Merkel

This Policy Brief explores the concept of resilience which has risen to become a key concept in science and society. As a scientific concept, resilience is, on the one hand, an analytical category that seeks to grasp empirically "what is" (what resilience potential does a particular democratic system have?) and, on the other hand, postulates normatively "what should be" (how is a desirable resilient democracy to be established?). This Policy Brief wants to transform the simple use of the term “democratic resilience” into an analytical concept which allows us to explore the state of resilience of real existing democracies and to discuss the methods, instruments, and ways to strengthen it in times of multiple challenges

Why Parliaments?

Policy Brief  No.168 - August, 2023 • By John Keane

This Policy Brief charts the history of the parliament of representatives, born more than eight centuries ago in northern Spain. This new instrument of government was among the most precious gifts to the world of modern representative democracy. Parliaments narrowly survived the chaos, war, class conflicts, dictatorships and totalitarianisms of the early decades of the 20th century. Their survival was remarkable, yet there are today signs that the post-1945 renaissance of parliaments is losing momentum. However smart, activist parliaments are on the rise. These legislatures are functioning as watchdog parliaments and their spirit is the grit humans are going to need as we struggle to deal wisely, equitably, democratically with the rich opportunities and cascading dangers of our troubled century.

Great Power Competition, Stillborn Democracies and the Rise of Neo-Authoritarians: The Case of India

Policy Brief  No.167 - August, 2023 • By Debasish Roy Chowdhury

This Policy Brief considers the case of India, which is instructive in understanding how a state-oriented world organisation can fuel geopolitical competition, impede the goal of achieving substantive democracy, and facilitate the rise of neo-authoritarians. Over the course of the last century, important voices from around the world warned of the destructive potential of nationalism and the way nation states were being constituted. They contemplated a wholly different way of organising the world system. The prescience of their concerns is painfully evident today as we witness the world hurtling down the path of illiberalism, climate calamity, and endless wars, with global bodies seemingly helpless in moderating the capitalist imperative of growth, the rise of populist demagogues, or ruinous interstate competition.

Climate Change and Conflict

Climate Change and Health: A Security Challenge in the Pacific Islands

Policy Brief  No.166 - August, 2023 • By John Connell

This Policy Brief discusses, and provides an overview of, the impacts of climate change on health in the Pacific Island countries (PICs). Physical and mental health in PICs is particularly vulnerable to climate change, both directly, as an outcome of temperature increases and hazards, and indirectly, through increased threats to livelihoods. The health impacts of climate change constitute a slowly increasing threat to human security, but policies and practices centred on workforce development may minimise such threats and risks. The Policy Brief concludes with suggestions and recommendations for policy directions.