For decades, North Korea’s provocative behavior and pursuit of nuclear weapons have threatened peace and stability in Northeast Asia. Various strategies to address the problem—including diplomatic, financial, and security incentives and disincentives—have delayed, but not ended, North Korea’s nuclear program. In the face of international condemnation, North Korea’s insistence on keeping its nuclear weapons has led to a diplomatic stalemate and the need for creative solutions to prevent a crisis.
Afghanistan has entered a pivotal but highly uncertain time. As all parties recognize that a military solution is not achievable, increased war fatigue has shifted Afghan and international attention toward a possible political settlement to the ongoing 18-year war. Grassroots peace movements and a three-day cease-fire between the Afghan government and the Taliban in June 2018 demonstrate Afghans’ widespread desire for sustainable peace. Despite some promising developments, many issues lay ahead that must be resolved before a sustainable peace process can be undertaken, and numerous spoilers could possibly derail this process.
Our mission to prevent violent conflict is a cost effective contribution to U.S. national security that saves lives and protects military, diplomatic and development investments world-wide. USIP’s unique status gives it the flexibility to work in conflict zones with both government and civil society. No national security actor or private non-profit can perform this Congressional-mandated mission.
Pakistan continues to face multiple sources of internal and external conflict. While incidences of domestic terrorism have reduced, in part due to measures taken by the Pakistani state, extremism and intolerance of diversity has grown.
Iraq has been ravaged in recent years by cycles of warfare, an internally displaced persons (IDPs) crisis, crippling sectarianism and, most destructively, a three-year campaign to drive ISIS from the third of the country it controlled. Even after the military defeat of ISIS, Iraq continues to face severe challenges including resolving the political, sectarian, and tribal conflicts that fueled the spread of extremism and its entanglement in regional rivalries.
Scientists are making remarkable advances in understanding how the brain’s wiring affects the outlooks, predispositions, and decision-making processes of individuals and societies. More than ever before, we are learning how our life experiences and the anatomy and physiology of the brain and nervous system influence our behaviors.
Despite our success protecting America’s homeland, extremism is spreading. Since 9/11, the number of terrorist attacks worldwide per year has increased fivefold. As long as this continues, the United States will remain vulnerable to terrorism while extremism contributes to chaos, conflict, and coercion that drains U.S. resources, weakens our allies, and provides openings for our competitors.
Complementing its work to build peace internationally, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) also serves the American people directly as a core part of its founding mandate from Congress.
Every summer, the U.S. Institute of Peace hosts future military leaders for an in-residence internship with USIP regional and thematic teams. During their time at the Institute, these rising leaders work alongside a variety of experts. As a result, they broaden their perspectives, acquire new skills, learn peacebuilding techniques, and gain practical experience that informs their military careers.
U.S. military and civilian agencies frequently deploy on complex missions that require them to operate in the same environment, whether in humanitarian disasters, fragile states or violent conflicts. The success of these operations depends in part on each agency’s understanding of the objectives, resources and authorities of the others. While coordination has improved in recent years, enhanced cooperation is still needed to accomplish the primary goals of these critical missions: saving lives and stabilizing areas in turmoil.