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Tag Archives: Popular Writing

The Hard Truth About Long Wars: Why the Conflict in Ukraine Won’t End Anytime Soon

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, few observers imagined that the war would still be raging today. Russian planners did not account for the stern resistance of Ukrainian forces, the enthusiastic support Ukraine would receive from Europe and North America, or the various shortcomings of their own military. Both sides are now dug in, and the fighting could carry on for months, if not years. Why is this war dragging on? Most conflicts are brief. Over the last two centuries, most wars...

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If we elected more women would there be less war? Yes but not for the reasons you think

Liz Truss is the United Kingdom's new prime minister—that brings the number of female leaders in the G20 to two. She enters world politics at a tense moment: Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine looks unlikely to end anytime soon, and tensions in the Taiwan Strait are greater than ever. The risk of a great power war between the West and Russia or China seems greater than any point in 30 years.Maybe what we need is more women in charge, and fewer macho men. Surely that would...

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How to cut short the long slog in Ukraine

James Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, recently predicted that the Russia-Ukraine conflict would end this year. Some experts, such as Stavridis, expect a stalemate and frozen conflict. Others hope for negotiations to begin. After all, this is what usually happens. War is brutally expensive and exhausting, so most conflicts are brief. Over the last century, the average war was just 100 days long.   Unfortunately, some wars last because sustaining the...

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The terrible trade-off: Why governments must choose between more violence or stronger gangs

Nearly every neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia, has a combo, or local street gang—almost four hundred in all. They earn most of their money from local drug sales. Some also run protection rackets, while others market legal goods—arepas, eggs, and even cooking gas—to locals. All these revenues make each Medellín neighborhood a valuable prize for combos to control. That competition for prime territory should be a recipe for violence. Yet the city has an annual homicide rate far...

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Is America on brink of civil war? Such predictions are overblown and dangerous.

In 2016, democracy rating organizations began downgrading the United States, some scoring American institutions below that of El Salvador, then Nigeria, then Iraq. Then, following the Jan. 6 insurrection last year, articles and books began predicting something scarier: another civil war.The most sensational accounts foretold a national breakup, neighbor killing neighbor. The more level-headed ones warned of something still dire: a far-right insurgency waging a long campaign of bombings and...

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Eight weeks of therapy, plus some cash, can change the lives of violent men

Placeholder while article actions loadI work with violent young men, from Africa to the Americas — guys so far into lives of crime that a natural reaction is hopelessness. If, 10 years ago, you told me that eight weeks of therapy plus a little cash could turn a significant proportion of them away from that life, I’d have scoffed. But it’s true — as three colleagues and I demonstrated in a new working paper. What we learned in Monrovia, Liberia, holds the potential to change the way America...

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When will the costs of war force peace in Ukraine?

It’s easy to see the war in Ukraine as a sign of an inescapably violent world. But if the future looks bleak, perhaps that’s because we focus on the conflicts that happen and overlook the gravitational pull of peace.An example came on March 9, two weeks into the Russian invasion. Shortly after sundown, India accidentally launched a cruise missile at Pakistan. Predictably, calm ensued. Both sides strove to avoid escalation — as they have for decades.Focusing on the times peace fails is a kind...

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If Ukraine wants a settlement, the West should support them

As horror mounts over Russia’s war crimes, the clamour for Vladimir Putin to be held to account is growing. Joe Biden has accused Russia of committing genocide in Ukraine and has labelled the Russian president a 'war criminal'. Even Emmanuel Macron – who is the Western leader who has done the most to try and talk Putin around – has said he has run out of patience with Putin. Yet Russia's leader remains unfazed: the 64th motorised brigade, which has been accused of committing war crimes in...

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