Coastal West Africa Senior Study Group Final Report

Coastal West Africa Senior Study Group Final Report

Monday, December 12, 2022

By: Coastal West Africa Senior Study Group

The countries of Coastal West Africa are currently facing significant challenges to peace and security as extremist violence spills over from the neighboring Sahel region. Attacks in 2022 in the northern parts of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Togo illustrate the immediacy and gravity of the threat, and governments across the subregion are grappling with protecting fragile communities in the north, addressing porous borders that facilitate attacks from neighboring states, and building the capacity of security forces to address the threat.

Type: Report

Conflict Analysis & PreventionDemocracy & GovernanceFragility & ResilienceGlobal PolicyReconciliation

Armed Actors and Environmental Peacebuilding

Armed Actors and Environmental Peacebuilding

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

By: Judith Verweijen;  Peer Schouten;  Fergus O’Leary Simpson

The eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been the site of decades of conflict between the Congolese army and nonstate armed groups. The region’s conflict dynamics are profoundly affected by the combatants’ exploitation of and illegal trade in natural resources. Drawing lessons from eastern DRC, this report argues that the environmental peacebuilding field needs to do more to understand how armed actors shape resource governance and resource-related conflict, which in turn can lead to better-designed peacebuilding programs and interventions.

Type: Peaceworks

Conflict Analysis & PreventionEnvironment

Losing Facts to Fiction: Nationalism, Misinformation, and Conspiracy Theories in Pakistan

Losing Facts to Fiction: Nationalism, Misinformation, and Conspiracy Theories in Pakistan

Thursday, November 17, 2022

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.;  Niloufer Siddiqui, Ph.D.

Misinformation and conspiracy theories have become staples of mainstream politics in numerous countries around the world—democracies and autocracies alike. Pakistan is no exception. This report examines the causes of pervasive belief in misinformation in Pakistan—particularly nationalistic misinformation—and the consequences for the country’s relations with its neighbors, the risk of international or domestic conflict, and attitudes toward Pakistan’s many ethnic minority groups. The report also discusses steps that policymakers can take to counteract misinformation.

Type: Special Report

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Maintaining International Religious Freedom as a Central Tenet of U.S. National Security

Maintaining International Religious Freedom as a Central Tenet of U.S. National Security

Monday, October 17, 2022

By: Knox Thames;  Peter Mandaville, Ph.D.

In 2021–22, USIP’s Religion and Inclusive Societies Program convened a bipartisan working group of advocates, academics, and former government officials to discuss how the United States can advance global peace and stability by embracing international religious freedom as a major pillar of its diplomatic engagement. This report, written by the working group’s co-chairs, examines the history of the US commitment to international religious freedom and the challenges to ensuring that it remains a central tenet of US foreign policy and national security.

Type: Special Report

Religion

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Behavioral Science and Social Contact Peacemaking

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

By: Josh Martin;  Meghann Perez;  Ruben Grangaard

Although social contact theory — the idea that encountering someone with a different group identity can lead to greater understanding, empathy, and trust — has become a bedrock of most peacebuilding initiatives in recent decades, doubts remain about whether such initiatives prevent violence. This report provides practical insights and recommendations for improving peacebuilding efforts by more effectively factoring an understanding of human behavior into the design, implementation, and evaluation of social contact interventions.

Type: Peaceworks

Nonviolent Action

Beijing’s Strategy for Asserting Its “Party Rule by Law” Abroad

Beijing’s Strategy for Asserting Its “Party Rule by Law” Abroad

Thursday, September 29, 2022

By: Jordan Link;  Nina Palmer;  Laura Edwards

Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has taken steps to assert more influence over the international legal system and to shape the global legal environment to better serve its political and economic objectives. This report examines the potential ramifications of China’s assertive use of new legal tools for US interests and international stability, and discusses several options that the United States and its partners can pursue to bolster the rules-based order that underpins global stability and cooperation.

Type: Special Report

Justice, Security & Rule of Law

China’s Influence on the Freely Associated States of the Northern Pacific

China’s Influence on the Freely Associated States of the Northern Pacific

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

By: USIP China-Freely Associated States Senior Study Group

Around the world, Beijing is investing heavily in diplomatic, security, cultural, and economic ties in a bid to increase its global influence, strengthen its ability to protect and advance its national interests, attract support in multilateral fora and international institutions, and fracture the global consensus on key issues it views as unfavorable to its geopolitical ambitions. The Pacific Islands region—defined as the vast stretch of Pacific Ocean between Asian littoral waters in the west, Guam in the north and Hawaii in the northeast, and Australia and New Zealand in the south and southwest—has been no exception.

Type: Report

Global Policy

US-China Signaling, Action-Reaction Dynamics, and Taiwan: A Preliminary Examination

US-China Signaling, Action-Reaction Dynamics, and Taiwan: A Preliminary Examination

Monday, September 12, 2022

By: Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Shao Yuqun;  Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Wu Chunsi;  Alison McFarland;  Ji Yixin

The United States and China have found it challenging in recent years to interpret one another’s foreign policy signals vis-à-vis Taiwan. Misinterpretation of the signaling may contribute to a cycle of actions and reactions that can inadvertently elevate bilateral tensions to the point of crisis or even war in the Taiwan Strait. This report, co-authored by three USIP experts and three experts from China’s Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, examines the challenges to clear and unambiguous US-China communications over Taiwan and provides preliminary recommendations for overcoming them.

Type: Report

Global Policy

Why Was a Negotiated Peace Always Out of Reach in Afghanistan?

Why Was a Negotiated Peace Always Out of Reach in Afghanistan?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

By: Steve Brooking

August 30, 2022, marks the one-year anniversary of the last US troops leaving Afghanistan. During America’s 20-year military intervention, there were several opportunities to negotiate peace among the Taliban, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and the United States—but these opportunities were missed, went unrecognized, or were deliberately spurned by one or more of the parties. In this important history, Steve Brooking, the first British official sent into Afghanistan after 9/11, examines why the three parties were unable or unwilling to reach a negotiated settlement.

Type: Peaceworks

Peace Processes

Promoting Peace and Democracy after Nonviolent Action Campaigns

Promoting Peace and Democracy after Nonviolent Action Campaigns

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

By: Jonathan Pinckney, Ph.D.

The ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 was brought about using the tools of nonviolent action, including massive protests and nationwide strikes. Yet the transition that followed showed that initiating change through nonviolent action is no guarantee of a peaceful, smooth path to democracy. This report, based on data on 72 political transitions that occurred between 1945 and 2019, provides key insights into the kinds of mobilization, in terms of tactics and actors, that tend to be most effective in carrying transitions to a democratic outcome.

Type: Peaceworks

Democracy & GovernanceNonviolent Action