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.

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o time is a good time for a banking or financial crisis. But symbolically, and possibly in practical reality, the failure of the financial institution of choice for the crown jewel of the US innovation system, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), could not have come at a worse moment for the United States, domestically or in its international relations.


he unrest in Iran, which started in September 2022, has declined. Yet, it is only a matter of time until the next outburst occurs. Based on the lessons learned from the previous round in Iran, the United States has to support the Iranian opposition.

Happy days: Evan Gershkovich (right) and Andrew Roth (left) with colleagues and family members at Christmas in Moscow


nton Chekhov, one of the greatest playwrights of the nineteenth century, explored the degeneration of the Russian intelligentsia in one of his most important plays, Uncle Vanya. The titular Ivan Voynitsky (Uncle Vanya) exists in a world of wealthy yet petty parasites, not interested in anyone but themselves. Uncle Vanya is unhappily adaptive, bending under circumstances and living aimlessly.


he theocratic regime in Iran is currently facing massive protests following the death of Mahsa Amini (22) who was violently beaten to death by the ‘morality police’ simply for wearing skinny jeans and not wearing her hijab properly. The subsequent protests have been very widespread, featuring Iranian women burning their hijabs and cutting off their hair in protest, threatening the absolute political and religious power of the current regime within Iran.


year has passed since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. When will it end? Allow me to frustrate you by predicting that nothing will be over in 2023. It might take five to eight years of slow-motion tug-of-war. Analysts were wrong in their estimates of potential support of the war inside Russia, and also in their predicted consequences to the Kremlin for mobilization measures. The first was underestimated, and the second was overestimated.

Image of Norman Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech


n January 6, 1941, in his eighth State of the Union address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt offered his interpretation of the basic liberties that should be part of any true democratic nation-state: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship. The Four Freedoms, as they became known, were FDR’s creation, but their true entry into the public consciousness came by way of another individual: Norman Rockwell. This week we recognize the 80th anniversary of the first publication of Norman Rockwell’s The Four Freedoms paintings at the height of the Second World War. Rockwell’s art sought to capture visually the concepts behind FDR’s freedoms. His paintings transcended the mere words of FDR’s speech and provided a medium through which Americans could truly understand that for which their country was fighting.

Photo of the U.S.S. Maine


At the close of the 19th century, America had run out of room. With the fever dreams of Manifest Destiny still in the country’s mind, the people realized that there was no one left to feasibly expand civilization to on the continent. If they wanted to expand their political and religious beliefs further, they would have to cross the oceans1. But this would not come cheaply.

Image for Peace, War, and Boardgames


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


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.

Image for Just War Theory


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.


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).

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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