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  • Author: Peter Liberman
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: By showing that mass vengefulness helps democratic leaders bring their nations to war, this wonderful book significantly advances our understanding of how cultural values affect international politics. Its most important contribution is demonstrating that democracies that retain death penalty laws were significant more likely to initiate the use of force than non-death-penalty democracies in the 1945–2001 period. The finding is robust to a variety of control variables and specifications, although skeptics may wonder whether it might be inflated by ethnocentrism, beliefs about the utility of violence, or other unmeasured potential covariates. Rachel Stein attributes the belligerence of death penalty states to cross-national differences in vengeful cultures, on the grounds that citizens’ vengefulness predicts both cross-sectional support for the death penalty and cross-national differences in the penalty’s retention. Her rigorous analysis greatly strengthens the case that the unusual bellicosity of retributivists, observed by Stein and other researchers, affects actual interstate conflict.
  • Topic: War, Prisons/Penal Systems, Leadership, Book Review, Elites, Capital Punishment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent incidence of war in the Caucasus has shown that, when facing deep domestic troubles, Russia and Turkey demonstrate strikingly different patterns of international behavior. While Russia has become more cautious in responding to external challenges, Turkey has embarked on several power-projecting enterprises. Its forceful interference in the long-smoldering conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh took Russia by surprise and effectively secured a military victory for Azerbaijan. Moscow has assumed the main responsibility for terminating hostilities by deploying a peacekeeping force, but its capacity for managing the war zone and its commitment to deconflicting tensions with Turkey remain uncertain. The United States and the European Union have few levers for influencing this interplay of clashing agendas of local actors and regional powers and fewer reasons to trust Russian and Turkish leaders to put peacebuilding ahead of their ambitions.
  • Topic: Security, War, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Caucasus, Middle East
  • Author: Adam Weinstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: October 2021 will mark the 20th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The United States currently finds itself at an inflection point, as it determines whether to withdraw its remaining troops by May 1, as required by a 2020 agreement with the Taliban, or to remain militarily involved in the conflict. The Biden administration should take the following steps to best support a negotiated settlement to end the war, while also bringing U.S. troops home.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, War, Military Affairs, Taliban, Peace, Troop Deployment
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan
  • Author: Clifford F. Thies, Christopher F. Baum
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was thought that major wars had become obsolete (Mueller 1989) and perhaps regional conflicts might be brought under control (Cederman, Gleditsch, and Wucherpfennig 2017). But, while the level of violence declined, the number of wars in the world appears to have reached a new steady state. A world that was once organized by East-West rivalry is now characterized by ethno-religious conflicts, as well as by spontaneously arising transnational terrorist organizations and criminal gangs. For various reasons, economists have become interested in investigating the causes and effects of war and other armed conflict (e.g., Coyne and Mathers 2011). This article uses a consistent measurement of these forms of violence across space and time to conduct a rigorous quantitative analysis of the effect of war on economic growth.
  • Topic: Cold War, War, History, Economic Growth, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jon Bateman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Cyber insurance is a promising way to contain the havoc cyber attacks wreak, but endless lawsuits hamper its effectiveness. Reforms and new solutions are sorely needed. Insurance is one of the most promising tools for addressing pervasive cyber insecurity. A robust market for insuring cyber incidents could, among other things, financially incentivize organizations to adopt better cyber hygiene—thereby reducing cyber risk for society as a whole. But cyber insurance is not yet mature enough to fulfill its potential, partly due to uncertainty about what kinds of cyber risks are, or can be, insured. Uncertainties in cyber insurance came to a head in 2017, when the Russian government conducted a cyber attack of unprecedented scale. Data-destroying malware called NotPetya infected hundreds of organizations in dozens of countries, including major multinational companies, causing an estimated $10 billion in losses.1 NotPetya showed that cyber risk was greater than previously recognized, with higher potential for “aggregation”—the accumulation of losses across many insurance policies from a single incident or several correlated events. NotPetya also exposed a serious ambiguity in how insurance policies treat state-sponsored cyber incidents. Some property and casualty insurers declined to pay NotPetya-related claims, instead invoking their war exclusions—long-standing clauses that deny coverage for “hostile or warlike action in time of peace and war” perpetrated by states or their agents.2 War exclusions date back to the 1700s, but they had never before been applied to cyber incidents. This novel use of the war exclusion, still being litigated, has raised doubts about whether adequate or reliable coverage exists for state-sponsored cyber incidents. Some observers have asked whether such incidents are insurable at all, given the potential for aggregated cyber losses even more catastrophic than those of NotPetya.3 And while the war exclusion has attracted the most attention, another exclusion—for terrorism—presents similar challenges to cyber claims.
  • Topic: Terrorism, War, Cybersecurity, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Carly Kabot
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: History is the storyteller that holds all truth, yet when she speaks, much of mankind closes its ears. Hasan Nuhanović, a survivor of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide committed by a Bosnian Serb militia, narrates his family’s harrowing journey through Bosnia in The Last Refuge: A True Story of War, Survival, and Life under Seige in Srebrenica. Though Nuhanović’s story is tragic, it is not uncommon. He makes this clear from the beginning, writing, “I did not write this book to tell my own story” (5). Rather, his story embodies the experiences of eight thousand Bosniaks who were executed by Serb forces on July 11, 1995, and brings to mind the millions of genocide victims worldwide who have been mercilessly slaughtered in the past century.
  • Topic: Genocide, War, History, Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Serbia, Srebrenica
  • Author: Yuriy Danyk, Chad Michael Briggs, Tamara Maliarchuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine has received renewed attention in Washington D.C., and it is worth considering the relevance of this conflict to US national security interests. The open conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 has been part of a larger hybrid war, including political and information warfare, cyber warfare, assassinations, promotion of corruption, and traditional (kinetic) warfare carried out by destructive geopolitical actors (DGAs) [1]. The conventional conflict cannot be taken out of context, and it is the less visible and “dark” aspects of hybrid warfare that should particularly worry the United States. Hybrid warfare consists of a wide spectrum of attacks, from conventional to covert, carried out to destabilize one’s opponent. Rather than being isolated incidents, cyber attacks often represent part of a wide spectrum of coordinated, offensive strategies against countries like Ukraine and the United States.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Cybersecurity, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Rahma Dualeh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Five years have passed since the UN global mandate on preventing violent extremism (PVE) was launched and rapidly adopted by the Horn of Africa (HoA) countries. Since then, mostly small and medium international organizations funded by foreign, largely Western, donors have pioneered work in this space. Notably, the African Union (AU) Peace & Security Council has tried to lead the region’s path to PVE – it has championed the inclusion of youth and called for gender mainstreaming in programming. The AU has also attempted to connect East and West Africa’s lessons learned in combatting violent extremism. Yet, challenges remain with regard to implementing both regional and international PVE-related commitments.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, War, Violent Extremism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Africa, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since achieving its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has maintained warm relations with the United States. The country regards the United States both as a potential source for trade and investment and as a partner to balance the influence of Russia and China in Central Asia, a perspective which underlines the importance of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. During the visit, Pompeo was generous in his praise for Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of bilateral ties, while criticizing China’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and ethnic Kazakhs in so-called “re-education” camps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To help Ukraine find peace, the EU, NATO, and member states must seek new approaches to arms control discussions with Russia and European security as a whole. They should also consider a more flexible sanctions policy, such that progress in Ukraine may lead to incremental easing. What’s new? Russia’s Ukraine policy, including its military intervention, is driven both by Moscow’s goals in Ukraine itself and its longstanding desire to revise Europe’s security order. Western responses are similarly driven by both Ukraine-specific and Europe-wide interests. A sustainable peace plan must address both sets of factors. Why does it matter? Efforts to make peace in Ukraine by solving problems specific to Ukraine only will fail, because the causes of the conflict are both local and geostrategic. A truly sustainable peace should address European security as a whole to make Russia, its neighbours and the entire continent safer. What should be done? European states should engage Russia in discussions of European security, including regional and sub-regional arms limitations. They should also consider adjusting the current sanctions regime to allow for the lifting of some penalties if Russia contributes to real progress toward peace.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe