What books captured some of the broad trends in peace and security in 2012? Here is a selection of the books IPI staff members recommend reading for a deeper understanding of the peace and security landscape at the start of 2013.Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence by Charles T. Call (Georgetown University Press, 2012)
Looking at fifteen cases in Africa, Call explores why some countries slip back into armed conflict but others don’t. He argues that political exclusion is a key factor in explaining why peace fails and strongly recommends that international actors remain engaged with governments after war ends. Suggested by Francesco Mancini, Senior Director of Research. Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present by Max Boot (Liveright, 2013)
A fascinating analysis of guerrilla warfare, insurgencies, and terrorism throughout history, with many lessons for policymakers. Suggested by Francois Carrel-Billiard, Managing Director. The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan (Random House, 2012)
Kaplan provides a holistic interpretation of the next cycle of conflict throughout Eurasia and a brilliant rebuttal to thinkers who suggest that globalism will trump geography. He argues that natural facts can help prevent this century’s looming cataclysms. Suggested by Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations. Governing the World: The History of an Idea by Mark Mazower (Penguin, 2012)
Mazower explores the tension between ideas and power in this compelling history of global governance. Suggested by Warren Hoge, Senior Adviser for External Relations. Massacres and Morality: Mass Atrocity in an Age of Civilian Immunity by Alex Bellamy (Oxford University Press, 2012)
This book provides much needed historical context to contemporary debates about mass atrocities and the responsibility to protect. It examines the development of norms against the killing of civilians over the course of more than 200 hundred years, and it argues that while progress has been made, the norm of civilian immunity remains continuously challenged by counter-norms. Suggested by Adam Lupel, Editor and Senior Fellow. Globalization and Sovereignty: Rethinking Legality, Legitimacy, and Constitutionalism by Jean L. Cohen (Cambridge University Press, 2012)
Globalization and Sovereignty presents a systematic legal defense of the sovereign equality of states, while at the same time arguing for the constitution of global-governance institutions dedicated to universal human rights. While these two elements are often placed in opposition, this book presents a rigorous theory of constitutional pluralism that shows how advancing globalization and protecting state sovereignty can be made legally compatible in the 21st century. Suggested by Adam Lupel, Editor and Senior Fellow. No One’s World: The West the Rising Rest, and the Coming Global Turn by Charles A. Kupchan (Oxford University Press, 2012)
As the Western powerhouse wanes and emerging powers rise, Kupchan’s challenge to the dominant predictions about the coming global turn makes for interesting reading. Western ideas will not continue to spread, outlasting the West’s primacy, he maintains. Nor will a new great power or political model replace the old. Instead, he argues, the world in the 21st century will be one without a center of gravity or global guardian. Suggested by John Hirsch, Senior Adviser. Understanding Global Conflict and Cooperation by Joseph S. Nye Jr. and David A. Welch (Pearson, 2013)
The newly-released ninth edition of this classic textbook introduces readers to the theory and history of global conflict and cooperation in a thoughtful and accessible manner. The last chapter is particularly valuable, sketching various visions for the future. Suggested by John Hirsch, Senior Adviser.
The Verdict of the Battle: The Law of Victory and the Making of Modern War by James Q. Whitman (Harvard University Press, 2012)
Whitman addresses the paradox of humanitarianism: wars fought before the 21st century were more devastating on the battlefield, but far easier to contain. Modern wars, in contrast, are highly regulated through international humanitarian law and the UN charter, but ironically, longer lasting and more difficult to conclude. Suggested by Kristen Boon, Visiting Senior Adviser. Security and Development in Global Politics: A Critical Comparison edited by Joanna Spear and Paul D. Williams (Georgetown University Press, 2012)
Is there really a link between security and development? Here, development experts and security analysts have teamed up to try to answer this question. They make the case for strengthening or resisting the link between the two fields in seven core areas: aid, humanitarian assistance, governance, health, poverty, trade and resources, and demography. Suggested by Adam Smith, Research Fellow and Head of the Peace Operations Program. The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action edited by Antonio Donini (Kumarian Press, 2012)
The Golden Fleece looks at the history of the modern humanitarian system since the late 19th century to date, and explores several case studies from Somalia to Afghanistan to Darfur. Based on empirical and historical evidence, it argues that there is no such thing as a “golden age” of independent and neutral humanitarianism where the humanitarian undertaking went unhindered. A timely reading for those lamenting the limitations of aid in countries like Syria and Mali. Suggested by Jérémie Labbé, Senior Policy Analyst. Adaptable Autocrats by Joshua Stacher (Stanford University Press, 2012)
Stacher’s work is an important addition on Arab Spring literature because of its attempt to understand the failed political mechanisms of the Assad and Mubarak regimes, particularly through the relationship between autocracy and “neopatriarchy,” a process in which the regime injects patrimonial cultural sensitivities into its institutions for political ends. This is obviously best epitomized in Syria’s successful—and Egypt’s failed—attempt at transferring power from father to son. Suggested by Omar El. Okdah, Middle East Program. After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World by Magdi Amin, et al (Oxford University Press, 2012)
This publication is a forward-looking, policy-oriented study that emphasizes the need for a participatory approach when dealing with the effects of the Arab uprisings. The book captures the polyphonic conversation taking place in the region while outlining what the best way forward is in terms of socioeconomic reform, particularly the need for economic restructuring and regional cooperation in a much-shaken political environment. Suggested by Omar El. Okdah, Middle East Program. Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds by the National Intelligence Council (2012)
This book-length report provides a useful framework for thinking about the future. While its predictive value may be hit or miss, it offers some interesting medium- and long-term analysis. Suggested by Alberto Cutillo, Visiting Senior Fellow.