Author: Stein Tønnesson

Why a War with North Korea Is Unlikely

Here are three scenarios for the North Korean crisis: The recent flurry of threats between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump has caused much consternation. Threats can indeed be dangerous but only when they are followed up by hostile action. The latest important developments in this crisis have been North Korea’s July 4 and July 28… Read more »

Can the East Asian Peace Survive?

Uncertainty concerning President Donald Trump’s China and North Korea policies have instilled new fears of war in East Asia, a region that has enjoyed a surprising level of peace for almost four decades. Yet, if China treats Trump with care, the region may remain peaceful. The text in this post is a slightly modified version… Read more »

Is China helping Trump, or is Trump helping China?

When Chinese president Xi Jinping met US president Donald Trump in Florida on 6–7 April, Xi convinced his host that it is not easy to exert influence on North Korea, but apparently promised to help the United States to the best of his ability. In practice, it may be Trump who helps China. Following the summit at… Read more »

East Asian Peace: Telling Japan to be Proud

To a Tokyo audience of Japanese peace practitioners, academics, journalists and diplomats, I recently chose to address the Japanese as East Asians. I had three important messages to convey: You East Asians have a Peace to Defend The East Asian Peace is at Risk Please overcome your differences and aim for an East Asian Security Community… Read more »

Trump and Threats to Truth, Democracy and Peace

Stein Tønnesson delivered this year’s The Fjord Memorial Lecture  at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer. The lecture discusses Trump’s team of advisors, calls for fighting the increasing use of lies in political campaigning, sees Trump’s election as having weakened democracy worldwide, and perceives a major risk to world peace. Tønnesson ends the lecture… Read more »

Myanmar’s Ethnic Minorities Marginalized More

For the first time in over half a century, Myanmar has a government with a popular mandate, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Although the Myanmar armed forces still have extensive political powers under the 2008 constitution, and may seriously curtail the independent action of the new government, the inauguration of President Htin… Read more »

In Defence of the Reviled 20th century

The century of peace. The 20th century laid the foundations for what could make our century a century of peace. The 20th century is often referred to as the bloodiest in human history. Towards the end of that century, the historians Eric Hobsbawm, Gabriel Kolko and Niall Ferguson published general narratives entitled, respectively, Age of… Read more »

World War II Becomes a Chinese War

70 years ago, Japan signed an agreement of formal surrender on an American warship in Tokyo Bay. The anniversary of this event will be marked in Beijing today, September 3rd by a massive military parade in which Chinese and Russian soldiers march together. President Xi Jinping’s most important guest during the parade will be Russian… Read more »

ASEAN’s Rohingya Challenge: Can ASEAN fail to act and yet be a Community?

A human tragedy has been unfolding in the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of poor Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees and job seekers have been the victims of xenophobia, cynical smugglers and incapable governance. What has ASEAN done? So far very little. Yet this crisis is exactly the kind of non-traditional trans-national security challenge that ASEAN must… Read more »