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.