The authors of this forum, Voices on Peace and War (VPW), explore domestic and global issues broadly tied to the theme of peace and war. Sponsored by the John and Mary Frances Patton Peace & War Center of Norwich University, VPW features subject matter experts and students who present their opinions and arguments on critical issues related to peace and war in the international community. As the image with many candles symbolizes, we hope that a chorus of small voices in this forum will help illuminate a world filled with a variety of complex challenges.


Co-editor: Yangmo Ku, Associate Director, Peace & War Center | Co-editor: Daniel A. Morris, Assistant Professor of Philosophy | Assistant Director – Research Centers: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Disclaimer: These opinion pieces represent the authors’ personal views, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of Norwich University or PAWC.

Submission: Please send your opinion article to the two editors: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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ensions between the United States and China increased after American bombers flew a freedom of navigation operation over contested waters in the South China Sea. Beijing responded by declaring that it would continue its island ‘reclamation’ program, sending tensions to a critical level.

Map image of Bosnia and surrounding region

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he devastating 1990s war that ravaged Bosnia also ruined its economy and infrastructure throughout almost four years of the war. Bosnia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the Western Balkans, brought on by the failed Dayton Peace Agreement signed on December 14, 1995, ending the war but putting the country under conservatorship making international community take charge of its functioning. It created two entities: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats, and Republika Srpska (RS) that was created out of genocide committed in Bosnia. The RS, under the leadership of Milorad Dodik has kept Bosnia hostage, refusing to pass reforms that would help the country join NATO and the EU.

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ust war theory is a philosophy about when it is morally permissible for states to use force/violence and then how to use force/violence in a morally proper way. There is no one way to approach just war theory, but I apply Christian realism, which combines secular and religious philosophies, and can offer explanatory power and practical guidance to cases such as the Ukrainian war.

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ince February 2022, Russian citizens have been trained around the clock by Russian authorities to be proud of the war against Ukraine. Vulgar militarism has been turned into an official aesthetic despite tens of thousands of dead people, millions of refugees, Russia’s international isolation, and Ukrainian cities being largely destroyed or deprived of heating and electricity. Nevertheless, things must be bad for Putin: he has to recruit legionnaires from prisons for his idiotic war and threaten the world with an untested nuclear missile.

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he constructivist view on international relations suggests that perceptions of how states should act shape a particular cultural environment or social arrangements (Wendt, 1992, 1999; Frederking, 2003). The violent and anarchic society where states are fighting for survival is described by English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and is thus called the Hobbesian model. Another model suggests that the states interact as reasonable opponents: they observe the rules of the game and try to compromise with one another to balance their interests. This view has its roots in the philosophy of English Enlightenment thinker John Locke (1632–1704) and is called the Lockean model. Some states may see the world as driven by fundamental norms of ethics, based on recognition of the rights of others and a genuine desire to preserve international peace, which is the Kantian model, named after German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).

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any diaspora communities care about their ancestral homelands. Diaspora engagement with an ancestral homeland also ebbs and flows, often becoming more intense during times of crisis. But history has shown that the global Ukrainian diaspora can be counted on to support Ukraine not only during the current crisis of its war with Russia, but also as it embarks on its path of reconstruction when the war ends.

A portrait of a Chechen school teacher Alavdi Sadykov who survived in the Russian torture cell in Grozny.

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n April 2022, the world was shocked by photographs of the victims of the massacre in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, which had been under Russian occupation for a month and a half. During the investigation of numerous war crimes committed by Russian forces, UN human-rights monitors in Ukraine documented and confirmed reports of nearly 5,000 extrajudicial executions and mass murders of civilians in more than 30 locations in Kiev, Kharkiv, and the Sumy and Chernihiv regions. The Russian military held people in inhumane conditions, tortured them, and killed them. In my opinion, the brutality experienced and learned by Russian soldiers and police in prior Putin-involved wars, especially in Chechnya, increased Russian society’s tolerance for governmental violations of human rights, both at home and abroad, as these personnel returned home with their sense of humanity diminished. This in turn impacted daily life within Russia, including in law enforcement, and contributed to Russian military behavior in Ukraine.

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aturally, the primary emphasis in any discussion of military support for Ukraine is that provided by NATO member states. However, one non-NATO Western country that has provided substantial assistance to Ukraine is Australia. The latter’s help and solidarity has been framed within the wider context of values, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese having stated that “This is not just about Ukraine’s sovereignty; the brave people of Ukraine are defending international law, rules and norms”.[1] Additionally, Australia’s support is also connected to issues regarding the country’s security concerns, such as in the Indo-Pacific region,[2] and it has also been noted that such aid is vital to Australia’s position as a middle power.[3]

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n October 27, 2022, President Putin reaffirmed Russia’s aggressive stance by declaring that the world faces the “most dangerous decade” since the end of World War II. The opening statement of the US National Defense Strategy (NDS) released on the same date, declares that “President Biden has stated that we are living in a ‘decisive decade,’ one stamped by dramatic changes in geopolitics, technology, economics, and our environment." Further, the NDS states that we are facing a complex world in the truest sense of the word.

Amongst this complexity, the Russian aggression in Ukraine adds a significant amount of uncertainty and chaos to a world already far from equilibrium. At the same time, it provides some certainty, clarifying ambivalent positions and confirming allegiances. We are in an "us versus them" moment: Russia against the "West".

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S House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022 was followed by a series of China’s military drills surrounding Taiwan, which led the world to worry when and how China will materialize its longing for national unification. As noted in the Economist’s “China has chilling plans for governing Taiwan,” recovering Taiwan is now on the agenda for Xi Jinping to legitimize his fourth term leading the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

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he world has never been closer to nuclear war than it is at present with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (BBC, 2022; Nichols, 2022; Lloyd, 2022). Many blame the war on NATO’s expansion following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This is said to have constituted an existential threat to Russia’s interests – and the war is the inevitable result.

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istory has shown that if a great power, upon defeat, is not integrated into the post-war order, then over time it will begin to undermine the world order itself. To understand the current Russian attitude, we must remember the Soviet Union's "loss" in the Cold War and Gorbachev's embrace of the West, which later was perceived by many in Russia as humiliating. It prompted a large number of Russians to view the West as an arrogant squanderer of a unique, hard-won opportunity for peace and security; as looking down its sophisticated nose at Russia as “unequal.” National pride was wounded; Putin’s feelings have been hurt.

The 2022 Edition of the Journal of Peace and War Studies (JPWS)

2021 cover to the peace and war journal The 2022 issue of the Journal of Peace and War Studies gives special focus to the theme, “Deciphering the Russian Riddle: National Interests and Geopolitical Competitions.” Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has frightened the international community, in this special edition, a group of prominent scholars analyze various Russia-related issues and provide unique insights.
Read online or download the 2022 JPWS Journal

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