Peace Science Talking Points

  • People assume the use of military force is the last resort.
  • When aware of nonviolent alternatives to war, people believe the price of war is to high.
  • When aware of nonviolent alternatives to war, people are less likely to tolerate casualties and to support war.
  • When political leaders unanimously support war, the public is less sensitive to the number of casualties.
  • In high life-opportunity societies, people are more accepting of socially tolerant values:
    • Divorce-3x higher
    • Abortion-5x higher
    • Homosexuality-10x higher
  • When people experience higher life opportunity, they become less willing to give their lives in service to their countries’ wars.
  • Oil importing countries are 100 times more likely to intervene in civil wars of oil exporting countries.
  • The more oil produced or owned by a country, the higher the likelihood of third-party interventions.
  • Oil is a motivating factor for military interventions in civil wars
  • The pressures of reelection force democratic leaders to avoid difficult wars.
  • Democratic leaders spend more on war than autocratic leaders, leading to a greater percentage of democratic victories.
  • Increasing the number of democracies in the world does not affect the number of wars until democracies reach 60% of the global governments
  • The introduction of mobile phones only benefit groups organizing in areas with middle to high standards of living.
  • Access to mobile phones only provides measurable assistance to organize for violence in groups under 600,000 people.
  • Violent conflict is much more common in areas with low-tech communication capabilities (characterized by fewer than 34 landlines per 100 people).
  • Violence is likely to occur when a regime fails to address the economic grievances of a unified, ideologically motivated opposition movement.
  • The conflict-oil link can be partly explained by three main triggers: motive, opportunity & vulnerability.
  • The economic advantage of controlling the access and supply of a state or region’s natural resources has been proven to cause conflict.
  • In oil-rich nations, governments have the upper hand when opposition groups use violent forms of protest.
  • In oil-rich states, opposition groups have the upper hand when they use nonviolent forms of protest.
  • Violent conflict can be avoided through negotiating with opposition groups; who often don’t act with the goal of regime change but rather to encourage some sort of policy change or larger political representation.
  • Participation in some opposition groups can be non-ideological. In many developing countries joining an opposition group is the best or only economic opportunity, especially when the group has access to oil revenue.
  • In resource-scarce countries, agricultural dependence and poverty contribute to violent conflict.
  • In resource-scarce countries, agricultural independence decreases the likelihood of violent conflict.
  • In resource-scarce countries, low attendance levels in higher education contributes to violent conflict.
  • In resource-scarce countries, high attendance levels in higher education decreases the likelihood of violent conflict.
  • There is more evidence to suggest that an excess of resources can lead to conflict, than too little resources.
  • Armed conflict is likely to increase resource dependence since political leaders can use the profit from the resources to fund their militaries or continue oppression.
  • Every conflict needs to be examined within its own dynamic social context in order to understand the role natural resources play.
  • Peace agreements mediated with credibility leverage last over twice as long as agreements without credibility leverage.
  • Capability leverage is most effective to facilitate the signing of a peace agreement.
  • Credibility leverage is most effective at generating durable and longer lasting peace after the agreement.
  • Direct participation of community leadership in civil resistance increases the likelihood of success.
  • National and local peace initiatives are mutually influential. The success of one increases the chances of success in the other.
  • Groups seeking to develop peace zones must understand the important role of local participation, the ties to local resistance forces, and the role played by external actors.
  • Knowledge of successful resistance movements increases the effectiveness and strength of new peace movements.
  • Manufacturing enables the creation of interconnected social networks by bringing together groups of people with diverse backgrounds.
  • An increase in manufacturing increases the likelihood of nonviolent resistance campaigns.
  • As countries continue to modernize, social conflict is more likely to become nonviolent.
  • Countries with a larger percentage of their GDP from the manufacturing industry are more likely to experience nonviolent conflict than violent conflict.
  • Organized labor bridges social divides, allowing for mass mobilization and nonviolent collective action utilizing economically derived leverage as a means of social resistance
  • Peacekeepers with the ability to enforce peace agreements are better able to build norms of trust and cooperation compared to the absence of peacekeepers or peacekeepers with only monitoring capabilities.
  • Peacekeeping can enhance pro-social norms by deterring spoilers to the peace process.
  • Once peacekeepers are pulled out of a recovering conflict area, opportunists and spoilers are very likely to undermine collective gains achieved during the peace process.
  • Countries with geographically concentrated ethnic communities are more likely to experience terrorism.
  • The likelihood of terrorism increases when a country’s ethnic communities have close family ties in other countries.
  • Diaspora communities can play a large role in the financial and logistical support of terrorist groups.
  • Technology-based programs, as simple as text message reporting, have been proven to aid in conflict monitoring and prevention.
  • The costs required to collect conflict data via crowd seeding projects is significantly less than traditional methods of information gathering.
  • Development aid provided though the crowd seeding project reduced the occurrence of violent conflict.
  • Individuals are more likely to turn to violence when they believe they are responding to aggressive governments.
  • Individuals are more likely to choose nonviolent methods as a means to improve living conditions.
  • Individuals are more likely to choose nonviolent methods in response to unacceptable consequences of violence.
  • Individuals use nonviolent methods with the knowledge that violence would make reaching their goals impossible.
  • Religion is not a significant motivating factor behind violent activity against a government.
  • Shifting focus from post-conflict protection to pre-conflict prevention is more effective and less costly.
  • Once violent conflict is underway, political barriers and high social and economic costs limit constructive options of violence prevention.
  • Political exclusion on the basis of ethnicity fuels domestic terrorism
  • A country’s proportion of the politically excluded ethnic populations is a more important predictor to domestic terrorism than the level of political participation or of economic discrimination.
  • When people are excluded from government power or representation, they are more likely to resort to acts of terror to address or avenge their grievances.
  • Deployment of troops to another country increases the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country.
  • Weapons exports to another country increases the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country.
  • 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist’s home country.
  • By highlighting civilian casualties and breaches of international law, international organizations can directly influence U.S. public opinion on drone policy.
  • U.S. public opinion on the drone program is more influenced by international organizations citing legal principles, than by their own government claiming drones are legal and effective.
  • The great nonviolent success stories all displayed clear levels of nonviolent conflict escalation.
  • Nonviolent conflict escalation is achieved quantitatively or through innovation, dilemma creation, provocation, and persistence.
  • Nonviolent conflict escalation can contribute to social change.
  • U.S. militarism led to the creation of police SWAT teams that disproportionally affect minority communities.
  • In 2013, half a billion worth of military weapons and equipment was given to U.S. police departments.
  • SWAT team usage has risen from 3,000 deployments in the 1980s, to presently 80,000
  • Nearly 70% of drug raids are conducted against minorities even though drug use and sales are similar across racial groups.
  • In the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, leaders held beliefs and made decisions that went against the information available
  • In Iraq, areas with cell phone coverage were less violent because of the ease of pro-government informants to provide information on insurgents.
  • In Iraq, access to anti-United States news coverage emboldened the insurgency by convincing uncommitted civilians the counterinsurgency was failing.
  • During mediation, perspective-taking techniques may lead to more positive feelings towards the other party present, due to both increased empathy and the feeling of being heard.
  • During mediation, perspective-taking techniques do not necessarily lead to more positive attitudes towards the broader ‘out-group’.
  • People may be unlikely to generalize improved attitudes towards one individual to the broader group to which s/he belongs. Instead, it might be easy to pass off an interpersonal connection that defies one’s broader stereotypes of a particular ‘out-group’ as due to the distinction or difference of this particular ‘other’—precluding the need to dismantle these negative stereotypes.
  • Instituting a draft would decrease support for war, as it would leave fewer people insulated from the costs of war.
  • Democrats are more sensitive than Republicans to a change to the draft, as well as to information about whether the draft (and/or the AVF) makes military sacrifice more or less equal.
  • Partisan lenses matter to the public’s interpretation of questions of war and peace, specifically whether they will support a war in light of the institution (or non-institution) of the draft and concerns about inequality.
  • Religious actors can draw on their respected positions in society and assert their neutrality in order to build personal relationships with and influence multiple conflict parties during war and during peace negotiations.
  • Religious actors can also mobilize tools/resources particular to their religious traditions—prayer, sacred texts, religious values, etc.—to persuade conflict parties and the broader public to abstain from violence and/or to participate in peacemaking and reconciliation efforts.
  • Peace Journalism has been shown to have specific effects on individuals and whole societies, demonstrating the widespread impact of journalistic methods and ethics and the conscious choice available to news outlets.
  • Audiences exposed to Peace Journalism have been found to demonstrate the following:
    • Increased conflict sensitivity
    • Lower likelihood to view conflicts in polarized good vs. bad, black/white, terms
    • Increased levels of hope and empathy
    • Decreased levels of anger and fear
  • Alliances are a necessary condition for multiparty wars.
  • The larger the war, the more likely alliances are a necessary condition.
    • 95% of WWI participants and 100% of WWII participants held prior alliances.
  •  Prior rivalries and shared borders are not necessary conditions for multiparty war.