Externally supported Security Sector Reform (SSR) has developed into a key component of international peacebuilding agendas, but the outcomes have been mixed so far. This article examines the importance of local ownership in determining SSR results. Looking at the cases of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it argues that executive commitment to reform is the minimum requirement to accomplish satisfactory technical results. To achieve the political goals of SSR, a more comprehensive involvement of local actors is necessary. External actors should therefore carefully consider whether the political situation is ripe before committing resources to SSR processes.
Margaret MacMillan is the Xerox Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and has been the Warden of St. Antony’s College of Oxford University since 2007. She was previously Provost of Trinity College and professor of History at the University of Toronto. Her publications include History’s People (2016), The Uses and Abuses of History (2010), Peacemakers: the Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to Make Peace (2001), and Women of the Raj (1988). Peacemakers won, among other awards, the Duff Cooper Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, the Hessel-Tiltman Prize for History, and the Silver Medal for the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award. She received a BA in History from the University of Toronto and a BPhil in Politics and DPhil from Oxford University. The following interview is an edited version of a discussion between Margaret MacMillan and members of the editorial staff on March 28, 2017. Some grammatical and wording changes have been made to maintain written consistency.
Migration is one of the most contentious and relevant issues of our time, as evidenced by the increasing numbers of migrants and displaced persons and by inflammatory political discourse throughout the world. This paper discusses the underlying causes of recent migration flows and “crises,” such as the civilian-centered nature of recent conflicts, persistent underdevelopment, climate change, and political impasse that prevents conflict resolution and adequate management of migration flows. Further, the paper focuses on policy reforms to (i) tackle the root causes of migration and (ii) minimize the costs and maximize the benefits (both social and economic) associated with migration. Such policies include a pan-European approach to relocation to ease the burden on EU border countries, increasing legal avenues for migration in the US, and integration policies to preserve social cohesion. Taking a long-term view, the paper aims to present a balanced view of the challenges of migration and to summarize policy reforms anchored upon recognition of the extensive human costs – and unrealized benefits of – one of the most defining issues of our era.
Social media has traditionally been unequivocally seen as facilitating democratic transitions and challenging the power of autocratic regimes. Some most recent research, however, contradicts this established narrative, and as a result, this article first aims to show that social media does not have intrinsic political qualities of its own. Rather, they are contingent upon the offline conditions and the actors who use social media. Then, building on the contingent nature of this media, the author aims to show how social cyberspace enables a new kind of influence operations that can be carried out instantly, globally, and with the help of the victims themselves (referred to as ‘sofa warriors’). Finally, the conflict in Ukraine is presented as an example of how social media influence campaigns can be employed in hybrid warfare.
The primary focus of this case study is to try to understand what risks and uncertainties governments and other actors confront when they deploy offensive cyber weapons as part of military and intelligence operations. Under current circumstances, the implications for national and international infrastructure seem staggering. The roadmap for this case study is threefold: 1) provide a framework for analysis, 2) introduce Stuxnet and survey the history and development of the first documented cyber weapon, and 3) apply the framework in an attempt to explore the risks and uncertainties inherent in the nascent arena of cyber warfare.
Dr. Gary Sick is a captain (retired) in the U.S. Navy and served on the National Security Council in the Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations. He is a senior research scholar at the Middle East Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an adjunct professor of international and public affairs.
On November 14, 2015, the Council of Ministers announced the establishment of the state of emergency upon a country in mourning after the deadliest attacks on French territory since World War II. A few months later, France seems to be sinking into risk management as a paradigm of government, to the detriment of civil liberties. This trend, however, exposed outright by the recent attacks, finds its roots in a culture of counterterrorism - pre-existent to 9/11 - gravitating around the French legal apparatus.
This paper will explore the concept of human security from theoretical, practical, and case study perspectives. It traces the history of human security through academic discourse and practice, and develops a balance sheet of the concept, assessing the motivations, advantages, and problems inherent in pursuing it in peacebuilding. Specifically, statistical evidence of “indirect deaths” and Azar’s seminal Theory of Protracted Social Conflict provide strong support for the idea, and practice in the field has shown its value in addressing certain inconsistencies in peacebuilding—namely, the tension between Western and local views on values and priorities, and the possibility of local traditions reinforcing inequality. On the other hand, there exist potential problems of co-option, obscuring proper analysis of the drivers of conflict, and overpromising. The final section concludes that human security achieves its greatest utility when pursued by apolitical organizations, such as the United Nations, within missions that are a reasonable match for their capabilities.
Prior to the 1986 Maxi Trials, relatively little was known about the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. Its omertà, or code of honor, had held strong. But the success of the trials was only possible through the testimony of pentiti, or turncoats, at the expense of the code of honor. What caused this breakdown? As the organization became increasingly globalized, the older bonds of trust and honor that originally defined the omertà became weaker, facilitating the conditions for defection. The effects of globalization are visible in five areas: profit-making opportunities, organizational structure, the code of honor, political ties, and the anti-mafia movement. The Cosa Nostra’s continued existence today has implications for perceptions of the Italian government's legitimacy.
This article explores the rising tensions between China and Japan centered on their competing claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The uninhabited islands have been under Japanese control since 1972, and the two nations had agreed to set the controversy aside for several decades in the interest of diplomatic harmony. However, China has begun to press its claim to the islands more forcefully in recent years as Chinese national power has grown. The dispute has emerged as the focal point in the broader Sino-Japanese strategic rivalry. China’s meteoric rise has fueled rising nationalism within China and led to more assertive Chinese behavior throughout East Asia. Tensions over the islands are likely to continue to grow, and the risk of an armed confrontation in the East China Sea is real. A conflict would be highly damaging to both nations’ economies, and both sides have an interest in avoiding such an outcome, but it remains unclear whether a peaceful resolution of the dispute can be achieved.
This research sheds light on the U.S. government’s efforts to petition media professionals not to report on U.S. data surveillance and military engagements. After 9/11, warrant court based U.S. surveillance practices morphed into warrantless U.S. surveillance activities, and poor journalistic working standards led to a chilling effect in government-media relations during the Obama administration. This analysis illustrates the influence of media reports on the U.S. government in times of unclear U.S. policies. The findings of this paper underline the fact that journalistic non-compliance with governmental secrecy requests prevents our societies from becoming distopic democracies.
According to the UNHCR, 75,000 people attempted to cross the Mediterranean in the first six months of 2014 with 800 dying before reaching land. Yet people still insist on making the journey. On the other side of the Mediterranean is the European Union, which persecutes some who have survived the journey while providing sanctuary to others. It is high time for European Union member states to work together to find a durable and sustainable solution to the situation in the Mediterranean. This paper briefly discusses the main reasons migrants embark on such a perilous journey and suggests elements of a strategy to address this issue.
A consideration of NASA's asteroid observation mission highlights the possibility that for rare events observation is not unambiguously positive. Although measurement is beneficial in the long run, and is required for eventual risk management or mitigation, it may at first actually increase the expected value of the risk. In the case of the asteroid mission, observation created a substantial risk of false positives that greatly outweighed the initial potential risk reduction from early warning or asteroid diversion, such that the total risk increased. These dynamics are explored with a simple model that can be extrapolated to improve the risk calculation for any rare threat.
Katy Frank was employed as a lead instructor for the Refugee Affairs Division at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She is a subject matter expert in U.S. refugee law, policy, and processing having designed and delivered curricula on topics such as refugee law, U.S. immigration law, interviewing skills and cross-cultural communication. The following is the text of a written interview with her conducted by the SAIS Europe Journal Staff.
In the fall of 2014, the United States Secret Service was the subject of much scrutiny in the wake of an embarrassing string of compromises to President Obama’s safety. This article seeks to determine if such criticism was warranted through an analysis of the flawed risk model that lead to the 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Even though there was ample evidence portending this risk model’s impotence, it was not put to good use because of the Shin Bet’s (Israel’s equivalent of the Secret Service) focus on a priori experience with little consideration for a posteriori knowledge, most likely caused by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky’s so called “conjunction fallacy.” Ultimately, I conclude that Rabin’s assassination was the result of a seriously flawed understanding of risk, one thankfully not shared with the contemporary Secret Service.
In the wake of a World War and under the control of an occupying army, the Japanese people accepted a constitution in 1947 that was unique in composition. The world’s first “Peace Constitution,” Article 9 of Japan’s founding document explicitly prohibits war and the maintenance of a standing army. Despite its imposed nature and numerous attempts by Japan’s conservative elite to alter this stricture, Article 9 has remained untouched due primarily to the efforts of the Japanese peace movement. However, with China’s rise and the popularity of Japan’s nationalist Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calls for a return to military normalcy now seem to dominate those for restraint. This paper traces the rise and fall of the Japanese peace movement, as well as the incremental process of remilitarization, which has accelerated sharply over the last decade. Finally, it investigates the nature of Japanese remilitarization under Shinzo Abe and analyzes its effect on East Asian security and US foreign policy.