Articles, publications, books, tools and multimedia features from the U.S. Institute of Peace provide the latest news, analysis, research findings, practitioner guides and reports, all related to the conflict zones and issues that are at the center of the Institute’s work to prevent and reduce violent conflict.
Three Takeaways on U.S.-China Relations After the Shangri-La Summit
Defense ministers from around the world gathered in Singapore last weekend for the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, a forum for discussing security challenges in Asia and an opportunity for high-ranking security officials to engage in bilateral talks. However, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin did not meet with his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu. Beijing suspended formal military-to-military meetings last August following then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Since then, U.S.-China tensions have only ratcheted up, particularly following revelations this February that a Chinese surveillance balloon was hovering over U.S. territory.
Challenging China’s Grip on Critical Minerals Can Be a Boon for Africa’s Future
Demand for the critical minerals powering the world’s clean-energy technologies, consumer goods and defense applications is skyrocketing. These metals are what the modern economy runs on: we need them for our phones, electric vehicles and satellites, and so much more. Forecasts estimate that in the coming decades, the world will need many times more cobalt, copper, lithium and manganese, among other minerals, than what is currently being produced. This poses a strategic challenge for the United States, as China dominates global critical mineral supply chains, accounting for 60% of world-wide production and 85% of processing capacity. To help meet demand and diversify supply, Western policymakers are increasingly looking to Africa, home to about one-third of the world’s mineral resources.
The Growing Threat of the Islamic State in Afghanistan and South Asia
When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in 2021, counterterrorism experts were alarmed at the possible resurgence of Islamist terrorist groups within the country. This Special Report lays out why those concerns, particularly about the regional Islamic State affiliate known as Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), were well-founded. The report discusses the likely trajectory of ISKP’s activities in South Asia and recommends measures to minimize potential threats to the West and build regional resilience to extremism.
How Heat Waves Are Destabilizing Asia
Unprecedented heat waves continue to ravage Asia this year. Temperatures have climbed to highs of 45 degrees Celsius in Myanmar, 44.5 degrees Celsius in India and 41.9 degrees Celsius in China, with Thailand and Laos breaking all-time high records.
Mona Yacoubian on Arab Normalization with Syria’s Assad
Many Arab countries have concluded that President Bashar al-Assad is entrenched power and that they’ll need his cooperation to address challenges like refugees and the illicit drug trade. In Washington, there is no appetite to normalize with Assad. “I think ultimately what we see is just a fundamental tension between the need for accountability and fatigue in the region,” USIP’s Mona Yacoubian says.
A Big Step Forward in U.S.-India Defense Ties
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s arrival in New Delhi on Sunday comes at a critical moment, just two weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State visit to Washington, DC. As with any ministerial visit, the secretary and his counterpart, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, will take stock of recent successes and coming opportunities. They will discuss possible deliverables for the upcoming Biden-Modi summit. But the visit will be a true success if they dig into discussions of the kind of reciprocal expectations that can take the U.S.-India defense partnership to new heights.
Understanding India’s Manipur Conflict and Its Geopolitical Implications
Since May 3, the northeastern Indian state of Manipur has witnessed repeated inter-ethnic clashes primarily between two local ethnic communities, the Meitei and Kuki. The violence has resulted in over 75 deaths and the burning of at least 1,700 buildings (including homes and religious sites). More than 35,000 people are currently displaced as well, with many now living in one of the 315 relief camps in the state. As the fighting continues, these numbers may also be rising.
U.S. Strengthens Ties with Key Pacific Island Partners
The United States notched multiple diplomatic wins in the Pacific Islands region last week, making further progress in Washington’s efforts to step up engagement in this oft-neglected part of the world. In a move closely watched by Pacific nations, the United States signed deals to renew its economic assistance to Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia for the next 20 years. Meanwhile, although President Biden had to cancel his planned visit to Papua New Guinea, Secretary of State Antony Blinken inked a defense cooperation deal with the island nation in the president’s stead. While the region has become another arena for U.S.-China competition, Washington has long-standing relationships and interests there that go well beyond its rivalry with Beijing.
What’s Next for the Blue Helmet 75 Years Later?
When the 1948 Arab-Israeli War ended in a cease-fire agreement, the international community recognized that an independent monitoring mechanism offered the best chance of maintaining the fragile peace process. And so, 75 years ago this week, the U.N. peacekeepers were deployed for the first time. Their mission in that conflict would become the template for U.N. peacekeeping operations for decades to come: Bringing stability to tenuous and uncertain post-conflict environments.
Dislodging Putin’s Foothold in the Balkans
The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the Balkans can only be understood by considering Moscow’s malign influence in the region from a broader perspective. While Russia has specific objectives related to each individual country in the region, its overall objective is clearly to target the Western Balkans through a divide and rule approach, using multiple tools of influence. While the United States and its European partners focus on the war in Ukraine, Russia is taking the opportunity to nibble away at NATO’s borders and to sow discord in countries hoping to some day present a strong case for joining the European Union.