Category Archives: Conflict & peace

SIPRI Yearbook 2019: Nuclear weapons and other key trends

The SIPRI Yearbook 2019 is now available on line. It registers key data in the world of peace and security in 2018 and establishes some of the basic indicators that let us track and assess the trends. It is not a comfortable picture.

You can get a quick take on it from my shorthand overview below and/or from the latest short film in our Peace Points series.

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And 2019: what could/should happen next?

2018 was another year of uncertainty and a spreading feeling of insecurity. What could turn that round in 2019? Here are some thoughts:

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2018: what just happened?

There we are, another year, full of puzzlement and uncertainty. Some things moving forward (détente on the Korean peninsula, peace talks at last about Yemen), others regressing (world hunger on the rise, arms control crumbling, impacts of climate change unfolding), and other things hard to interpret. In this short film, the closing one of 2018 in SIPRI’s Peace Points series, I give my view. in the first one of 2019, I will take a look ahead at hopes for the coming year.

For 2018, I don’t really have a total on the bottom line of the balance sheet. The question that gets put at the beginning is, are we moving towards or away from midnight on the Doomsday clock? And my answer is a cross between ‘I don’t know’ and ‘Neither’ (i.e., no movement for either good or bad).

Happy (and PEACEFUL) New Year greetings to everyone!

The crumbling architecture of arms control

At a political rally on Saturday 20 October President Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. This confirms what has steadily unfolded over the last couple of years: the architecture of US-Russian nuclear arms control is crumbling. Continue reading

The Nobel Peace Prize and Sexual Violence in War

On Friday 5 October, the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee announced the laureates for 2018: Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. These are two extraordinary people, brave, articulate and committed. Both Ms Murad and Dr Mukwege know atrocity close up. Both work to help the victims of wartime sexual crimes and, by denouncing the crime, helping to end it.

Here are my first thoughts on this, in a 3-minute film from SIPRI, part of our Peace Points series; I stress the development of awareness of the crime of sexual violence in war, growing from Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book Against Our Will,* through UN Security Council Resolution 1820 in 2008, via the campaigning work of Angelina Jolie and former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, to today:

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Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1975) – followed by many other editions, paperback, e-book etc.

The heat and its implications

Around the world, a series of new “hottest ever” local records have been set. Africa has experienced what is probably its hottest ever daily temperature. The world’s highest “daily minimum” temperature (i.e., the lowest temperature in that 24-hour period) has been recorded – over 42°C in Oman, for those of you trying to handle a modest mid-30s of an afternoon by the Med. Northern Arctic sea ice is breaking up for the first time on record. What are the trends and what are the implications for peace and security? Continue reading

Kim and Trump in Singapore: extraordinarily ordinary? – not quite

That was a surprise. The Sentosa Island summit on 12 June between President Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un produced an undramatic yet hopeful agreement. Quite a turn-up for the books, coming from two leaders famed for unpredictability. But components of the summit outside of the signed agreement showed Trump continuing to be a disruptor in world politics. Continue reading