“Afghanistan Endgame, Part One: Is Sirajuddin Haqqani Ready for Peace?” by Melissa Skorka

As the Donald J. Trump administration aims to end a “‘slowly deteriorating stalemate,’ with ‘no military victory’ possible,” President Trump has supported withdrawing thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in exchange for peace with the Afghan Taliban. According to some accounts, the reduction of U.S. forces seems imminent, irrespective of the peace negotiation.

“Let’s not test the explosion of a 21st century nuclear arms race” by Kathy Crandall Robinson, WIIS Senior Fellow, J.D.

Deep inside the Pentagon, the Trump administration’s nuclear posture review is taking shape. This little known, yet highly consequential process, sets the direction of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Will this review reflect our “let it be an arms race” Twitter president or something more responsibly restrained?

“Expertise and Naïveté in Decision-Making: Theory, History, and the Trump Administration” by Lori Helene Gronich, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

Donald Trump has never claimed to be a foreign policy expert. He does not like in-depth reading, and prefers one-page policy option papers with “lots of graphics and maps.” He claims to have a “very good brain,” and promises to be a strong leader who puts “America first” and makes it “great again.” Should we believe him? His goals may well be laudable. But if my work on expertise and naïveté in foreign policy decision-making is any indication, President Trump, and his advisors, like other American and non-American leaders and their subordinates, will unconsciously follow a fundamentally biased judgment strategy

Women Preventing Violent Extremism: Broadening the Binary Lens of “Mothers and Wives” by Fauziya Abdi Ali

Violent extremist narratives and actions threaten to roll back the hard-won gains women have made in the struggle for equality. With so much at stake, women must be engaged in efforts to counter violent extremism. However, women’s engagement in the fight against violent extremism also threatens these gains if engagement remains binary, failing to take into account the diverse roles of women.

Gender, Migration, and Security: Migration Policies must Empower Women and Men and Gender and the Security Sector: Towards a More Secure Future by Julie L. Arostegui, J.D., M.A., International Human Rights, Gender and Security Advisor at JLA Consulting LLC and WIIS member

Sex is defined by biological differences between men and women. Gender refers to the roles, personality traits and behaviors that society ascribes to men and women, as well as the different power relations between them. Gender mainstreaming recognizes the role of gender integration in all aspects of peace and security, as well as the understanding of differences that policies and programs might have on men and women.

Gender and Violent Extremism: Examining the Psychology of Women Participating in Non-State Armed Groups by Rebecca Dougherty and P. Kathleen Frier, directed by Rebecca Patterson, PhD, National Security Policy. Originally published via George Washington University, Elliot School of International Affairs.

There is a presumption that women do not use violence as a means of exercising their political will, because most traditional notions of femininity emphasize motherhood, peacefulness, and stability. Like the repressive power relations between men and women in Islamic State society, the norms that dominated Western culture throughout the early 20th century mirror those affecting women under the IS regime in many ways.In Northern Ireland, these norms shaped women’s identities prior to, during, and after the conflict; analysis of female fighters in Northern Ireland provides a parallel context for understanding women participating in other violent non-state armed groups like IS. This paper seeks to understand which factors make women vulnerable or averse to radicalization, and asks: do these factors differ from those that drive men into violent extremist groups? Understanding similarities and differences between men and women with regard to radicalization will enable policymakers to develop policies that effectively prevent and disrupt violent extremism

Women Leading Peace by The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (WIIS member Dr. Patty Chang served as a co-principal investigator)

Women make important contributions to the attainment of peace, but they remain grossly underrepresented in official peacemaking processes. This study and policy brief demonstrate how women from civil society in the Philippines, Northern Ireland, Guatemala, and Kenya accessed and shaped peace processes in their countries. It illustrates that women from civil society have greatest impact on peace agreements— making them more comprehensive and durable—if they are involved in official roles during the peace process.

True Grit: The Myths and Realities of Women in Combat by Dr. Megan H. MacKenzie

By January 1, 2016, all positions in the U.S. military, including frontline combat roles, will become open to women—that is, unless the services seek exceptions before October 1. Whether they do will drastically shape the future of the U.S. military.

M17 : Who is the Most Likely Culprit? by Elizabeth Zolotukhina, M.A

The crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 (hereafter, MH17) on July 17, 2014 was pivotal to the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The Boeing 777 aircraft, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down over Snizhne, Ukraine killing all on board. Investigation into the disaster is ongoing, but allegedly has been hampered by various actors. These include, but are not limited to; the pro-Russian separatists active in the area, the Ukrainian military, and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Women, Peace and Security: Practical Guidance on Using Law to Empower Women in Post-Conflict Case Studies by Julie L. Arostegui, J.D., M.A

Uganda has had a history of civil conflict since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1962 – triggered by political instability and a series of military coups between groups of different ethnic and ideological composition that resulted in a series of dictatorships. In 1966, just four years after independence, the central government attacked the Buganda Kingdom, which had dominated during British rule, forced the King to flee, abolished traditional kingdoms and declared Uganda a republic.

Women, Peace and Security: Practical Guidance on Using Law to Empower Women in Post-Conflict Systems by Julie L. Arostegui, J.D., M.A

With the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000, the Security Council for the first time not only recognized the disproportionate impact of conflict on women, it also mandated that the UN and all member states increase women’s participation in all peace processes, establish enforceable protections and ensure justice for women. Along with its companion Resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106 and 2122, which further clarify its requirements, UNSCR 1325 provides a strong framework and mandate for advancing gender equality and empowering and protecting women.

Letter to the Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict by Missing Peace Young Scholars Network

The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence, co-hosted in London this week by British Foreign Secretary William Hague and actress and United Nations envoy Angelina Jolie, will draw on research by young scholars who have documented the causes, responses and potential solutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, El Salvador and elsewhere.

“Defense Matters 2024: Why Europe Can’t Afford Reducing Military Budgets” by Leyla Mutiu

“At the 60th Munich Security Conference in 2024, what will be the most important security challenge on the agenda, and why?”, we asked the applicants for our 2014 “MSC Junior Ambassadors” program. In the third essay published, Leyla Mutiu argues that “[a] security provision void will emerge over the course of the next decade, which will require the full attention of all the decision-makers participating in the 60th Munich Security Conference.”

“I Didn’t Know They Were Letting Girls Go to Wehrkunde” by Catherine McArdle Kelleher

Published in “Towards Mutual Security: Fifty Years of Munich Security Conference”
The Munich Security Conference, founded as “Wehrkundetagung” in 1963, has evolved into the leading independent forum for security policy. Traditionally seen as a kind of transatlantic family meeting for debating NATO strategy during the Cold War, the conference has increasingly broadened its agenda and today attracts participants from across the globe. Each year, dozens of heads of state and government, ministers, and experts from different fields of security policy gather in Munich for an open exchange of ideas and policies on the most pressing international security issues – ranging from regional conflicts, international peace operations and nuclear disarmament to cyber security and environmental challenges. On the occasion of the conference’s 50th anniversary in 2014, a number of prominent participants, including former and current foreign and defense ministers, reflect on the conference’s history and significance, some of the major issues debated, and on key security challenges facing the international community.

“The ‘War on Terrorism’: What Does it Mean to Win?” by Audrey Kurth Cronin

The war on al-Qaeda and its affiliates appears to be endless but every war must end. Winding down the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq has been difficult, but both were embedded in what was then called the ‘war on terrorism.’ What does ‘success’ in that war mean? With the death of bin Laden and the increase in drone operations, how far is the US from achieving it? Can this war end? The article analyzes the ongoing US response to the 9/11 attacks in historical context, revealing four patterns common to all prolonged wars: means become ends, tactics become strategy, boundaries are blurred, and the search for a perfect peace replaces reality. It concludes by laying out an effective strategy for ending the war.

“How Conflict Can Catalyse Positive Change for Women” by Julie Arostegui

Although modern-day armed conflict is horrific for women, recent conflict and postconflict periods have provided women with new platforms and opportunities to bring about change. The roles of women alter and expand during conflict as they participate in the struggles and take on more economic responsibilities and duties as heads of households. The trauma of the conflict experience also provides an opportunity for women to come together with a common agenda. In some contexts, these changes have led women to become activists, advocating for peace and long-term transformation in their societies

The Role of Culture in Intelligence Reform by Satgin S. Hamrah

The tragic events of September 11, 2001, demonstrated that the United States needs greater integration across the Intelligence Community, including improved information sharing to predict and respond to evolving threats. The new threat environment we face is dynamic and consists of states, non-states, traditional and non-traditional sources. Its players, their motivations and the methods they use emerge and evolve rapidly.

“Serbia Reinvents Itself” by Elizabeth Pond

Back in the 1990s, Ivica Dacic, known as ‘Little Slobo’, was the spokesman who justified strongman Slobodan Milosevic’s conquests of neighbouring non-Serbs in the Balkan wars. Aleksandar Vucic, as the information minister of Yugoslav President Milosevic, was the hatchet man for the media who defended the vast ethnic cleansing by paramilitary police of more than 60% of the 90%-majority Albanians living in the Serbian province of Kosovo. Tomislav Nikolic was the deputy leader of the Serbian Radical Party that berated Milosevic for being too soft and not seizing much more contiguous territory for a Greater Serbia; the party’s founder, Vojislav Seselj, would shortly report to The Hague for trial on war-crimes charges.

The Spaces in Between: Mitigating Threats in Undergoverned Spaces by Michael D. Rettig and Whitney Grespin

Much has been written about terrorist groups who make use of the world’s undergoverned spaces, but very little has examined the dynamics of these areas themselves. These spaces host a wide range of inhabitants and movements, which exhibit myriad behaviors both ordinary and threatening. By focusing on terrorists alone, scholars have overlooked the power-brokering strategies and coexistence methods that occur in undergoverned spaces.

Fifty-Four Durand Lines: The Importance of Persistent Security Assistance in Africa by Whitney

The US has long faced criticism about being a ‘fair weather friend’ to foreign states only as it suits current policy interests. Such inconsistent engagement results in opportunity costs that are both fiscally draining and damaging to US social and political capital. US defense, development, and diplomatic establishments can more easily realize progress and encourage positive forward movement with African states by initiating and maintaining more consistent collaboration with foreign nation representatives.

“Unfriendly States and Public Diplomacy” by Linda Staheli

When one thinks of diplomatic engagement with North Korea – officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) – what comes to mind are countless official and unofficial dialogues and negotiations regarding its nuclear capabilities peppered with various incentives, typically in the form of food, fertilizer, and energy assistance.

“UNSCR 1325—Conundrums and Opportunities” by Chantal de Jonge Oudraat

UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), adopted on October 31, 2000, recognized that women were not only inordinately affected by war, but were also an important resource for peace-building and post conflict reconstruction.

“Mostly Sunny, Partly Cloudy” by Chantal de Jonge Oudraat and Michael E. Brown

US-European relations have been fundamentally strong for many decades, but they have also had their ups and downs over the years. The last decade alone has seen substantial swings in the transatlantic relationship. What can we expect for the next four years?