The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is engaged in a variety of peacebuilding and conflict management efforts in many of the countries where these lesser-known risks are emerging. In a series of articles, the Institute examines some of these “sleeper risks” through the analytical lens of USIP experts.

Many of the clearest risks of conflict, violence and instability around the world have received widespread media attention. But a variety of other risks and threats have been smoldering quietly. They stem from long-developing trends or underappreciated political, economic or diplomatic factors, and some are spinning off from wider, existing conflicts or disputes.

The exploration of rising conflicts presented throughout this series isn’t meant to be definitive; nor does it represent an official USIP list. But the risks and threats being spotlighted suggest that there will be no shortage of attention-grabbing conflicts in 2013.

Read Features in This Series

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Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Myanmar: China, the Coup and the Future

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

By: Jason Tower; Priscilla A. Clapp

In making major deals with Myanmar’s military rulers, China seems to be violating its official guidance for investment abroad: Avoid conflict zones. Although Myanmar is in a state of collapse and widening rebellion, China continues to advance plans for a complex economic corridor in the country with the military unveiling steps to move ahead with big joint-venture projects. The generals’ bid to appear in control of things is obvious. China, on the other hand, seems to have fallen into a trap. Cozying up to the junta puts its investments at immediate and long-term risk and erodes its standing in regional organizations. To protect its interests, Beijing should press the junta to curb its rampant violence against the population and to restore the elected government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Washington’s Allies and Partners Weigh in on U.S.-China Competition

Thursday, June 3, 2021

By: Patricia M. Kim

The Biden administration has adopted an overarching strategy of renewing relations with allies and partners to counter China where necessary, while also cooperating with Beijing when it is in the United States’ interest to so. As competition between Washington and Beijing heats up, however, avenues to resolve conflicts peacefully between the two major powers remain limited. A recent USIP report brought together U.S. and Chinese authors to offer recommendations on how the two powers can enhance strategic stability. But how do U.S. allies and partners factor in and what steps would they like Washington and Beijing to take to prevent conflict and manage crises? 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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Understanding Organized Crime and Violence in Central Asia

Understanding Organized Crime and Violence in Central Asia

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

By: Lawrence P. Markowitz; Mariya Y. Omelicheva

The influence of organized crime on governance and the rule of law in Central Asia has long been recognized, but its role in violence is less broadly understood. Looking at conflicts in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, this report examines the ways that organized criminal actors exploit popular mobilization (such as protests) and weaken state controls in episodes of violence. Recommendations for governments, international agencies, and civil society groups draw from expert interviews and research to address the range of organized criminal motives and circumstances.

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