Nils Petter Gleditsch

Democratic Intervention?

Donald Trump has made statements sceptical of military interventions in the Middle East. This is perhaps a rare piece of good news. Military intervention as a means of building democracy has once again become a hot topic. The Norwegian government has been criticized due to the consequences of the intervention in Libya. Hillary Clinton has… Read more »

Myths About War and Violence

‘Calculations made by a former president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, with the assistance of historians from a number of countries, show that since 3600 BC, the world has known only 292 years of peace. Since 650 BC, there have been 1,656 arms races. Sixteen of them ended in economic collapse, the… Read more »

Oh my, not another ‘Festschrift’!

Eight years ago, I wrote a short piece for a Norwegian science policy journal lampooning the Festschrift as an outmoded form of academic communication. The Festschrift, I can hear some of my non-Scandinavian readers ask: Are such volumes still being published? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Of course, it is largely a self-financing enterprise. In… Read more »

The Fire in the House of Islam

Generally speaking, the global map of conflict is increasingly shaped by armed conflicts involving Muslims on one side or the other, or on both. Are Muslim countries particularly belligerent? Is the religion to blame? Despite the numerous items of bad news delivered by the mass media on a daily basis, a global overview of armed… Read more »

Fifty Years Since the Selma March

Yesterday, at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, President Obama and over 100 members of the US Congress celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march in Selma, a turning-point in the non-violent civil rights movement. President Obama was introduced by John Lewis, who with Hosea Williams and others led the march fifty years ago… Read more »

More on the Waning of War

On 22 December I reported in this blog on an article by political science professor Øyvind Østerud 18 December in the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that attacked Steven Pinker and ‘large parts of peace research’ for using ‘relative numbers’, i.e. numbers weighted by population, to assess long-term trends in the severity of war. In my brief… Read more »

Surveillance Under Control?1

We cannot make do without surveillance, and even political actors must expect to be kept under observation if they espouse extreme positions. But we must keep surveillance under control. This article tells the story of the information about me that had lain in the files of the police security service and to which I gained…

Poor Research or What?

A Norwegian political scientist published an article in the Norwegian daily Aftenposten on 17 December where he criticized the ‘waning-of-war’ argument promoted by, among others, Steven Pinker and ‘major parts of peace research’. Curiously, the article was published in the paper’s column for ‘dårlig forskning, flau formidling, kunnskapsløse politiske forslag og ren fusk’ (‘incompetent research,… Read more »

Climate Change and War

The day after the publication of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the effects of climate change, Norwegian daily newspaper Dagsavisen was able to report that Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment now envisaged a future world with more conflicts. This is in line with claims made earlier… Read more »