.
The final shots in that momentous war died away nearly a century ago, but their legacy has lived on, echoing on down to the present day. At the time, it was called the “Great War.” Only Afterwards, when it belonged safely to history and could be viewed from a broader historical perspective did it become known as the first “world” war because it embroiled most of the nations of Europe, as well as Russia, the United States and Canada, the Middle East, and other regions. The war set the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Britain and Russia, Italy, and, from 1917, the United States. It ended with the defeat of the Central Powers, a bitter-sweet victory considering the cost. Indeed, what made the Great War so momentous, was not just its sweeping geographic breadth. Historically, it was unprecedented in the slaughter and destruction it caused. Military and civilian casualties amounted to more than 38 million. So terrible was this Great War, in fact, that the eminent British science-fiction writer and historian H.G. Wells, himself a pacifist, called it the “war to end all wars.” Modern science and technology had for the first time been harnessed to armed conflict to create an industrial war machine with devastating and deadly effect. The First World War saw the widespread use of chemical weapons, the introduction of high explosives, high-velocity, breech-loading artillery, metal warships, submarines, machine guns, aircraft, radar and wireless communications, all mobilized and marshaled over the muddy battlefields of Europe with an efficiency learned and perfected in the grey, smoky factories of a new industrial machine age. Then, during the Second World War, which many historians now argue was simply a continuation of the First World War, we saw the advent and first use of the greatest and most frightful of all weapons, the nuclear bomb. It is humankind’s most profound tragedy that we have taken some of our greatest and most noble achievements—the development of the sciences and technology—and turned them to the pursuit of mutual destruction. Writing about six months after the outbreak of the First World War, Sigmund Freud expressed his disillusionment with human nature and its primitive tendency toward violence, which he felt is akin to “a disease of the mind or spirit” that destroys our common humanity and debases its greatest gift (its capacity to reason), and over which civilization and its primary organizing institution, the state, has yet failed to triumph. In his essay “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death,” (1915) Freud writes that “we cannot but feel that no event has ever destroyed so much that is precious in the common possessions of humanity, confused so many of the clearest intelligences, or so thoroughly debased what is highest. Science herself has lost her passionless impartiality; her deeply embittered servants seek for weapons from her with which to contribute towards the struggle with the enemy. Anthropologists feel driven to declare that enemy inferior and degenerate, psychiatrists issue a diagnosis of his disease of mind or spirit. Probably, however, our sense of these immediate evils is disproportionately strong, and we are not entitled to compare them with the evils of other times, which we have not experienced.” Ever since the First World War, scientific research and the development of new technologies have gone hand-in-hand with what we like to believe is ‘defense’ planning. Defense labs have sprung up in major countries around the world with the sole purpose of ensuring that science and technology are made to contribute all they can to a nation’s capacity to wage war, ostensibly in the name of national defense and international security. And in a curious and twisted way, we have created some degree of international security, for the world’s strongest powers have developed such an awesome capacity for prosecuting war using nuclear arms that they have tried earnestly to avoid warring one another for fear of “mutually assured destruction.” Somewhere along the way, however, an obvious and intriguing question seems to have been lost: What if the power of science and technology could be harnessed to the pursuit of international peacebuilding and conflict management? Could we not gain helpful insight into the human dynamics—the very DNA—of conflict so that we could better treat it, like a disease, and create the healthy conditions necessary for the achievement and maintenance of international peace? Surely scientists and engineers could join with their colleagues in the humanities and social sciences in working to better understand the causes and prevention of war. At the very least, science and technology could no doubt be better utilized to support and improve the functioning of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, which was established with the stated goal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which…has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.” In other words, does the pursuit of peace not deserve the same rigorous, scientific approach employed in the pursuit of warfare: one that utilizes the full powers of human resourcefulness and ingenuity, together with the latest tools that technology has to offer? Humankind owes it to itself to take such a deliberate approach to peace. After all, there are an estimated 7.3 million scientists worldwide. The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) believes we should take this approach. The Institute, established and funded by the United States Congress, believes the answer lies in moving beyond ad hoc innovation towards a more deliberate model, in which “engineers and scientists from industry and academia work alongside experts in peacebuilding from government, NGOs and the conflict zones themselves. To that end it helped to create the PeaceTech Lab in 2014, the first privately funded facility of its kind, a “collaborative space” located on the National Mall, adjacent to the USIP and in close proximity to various U.S. and international agencies, “where experts in technology work with experts in conflict management and with fellows from the conflict zones themselves to imagine, develop, and deploy new tools for the field.” The lab works for peace and positive social change in conflict zones around the world. It operates on the premise that “efforts to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts must be grounded on empirical evidence and rigorously evaluated for impact.” While the lab recognizes that human conflict may be inevitable, it also believes that conflicts can be resolved without violence. Indeed, it advocates non-violent solutions not simply because they are less destructive to human lives and well-being, but also because they are less costly, and therefore more sustainable over the long run. The lab takes an approach that adapts to the dynamics of each conflict because it believes that “efforts to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts should be tailored to each issue, circumstance or conflict zone.” The Western word has already seen a proliferation of academic centers for the study of conflict resolution and peace. Peace and conflict studies is now a well-established discipline within the social sciences. It comprises many scholarly journals, college and university departments, research institutes, conferences, and it has also garnered outside recognition for the utility of its method. Peace Studies examine the causes and prevention of war, as well as the nature of violence, including social oppression, discrimination and marginalization. Through peace studies, we can also learn peace-making strategies to overcome persecution and transform society to attain a more just and equitable international community. Some will argue that the pursuit of peace is chiefly a question of incentives—and that the real or perceived incentives to wage war tend to outweigh the incentives to pursue peace. Stephen Killelea, a successful IT entrepreneur and philanthropist decided to try to change this mistaken way of thinking by bringing economics to the study of peace. Killelea founded The Institute for Economics and Peace in 2007. The Institute has dared to do something new: to find a way to measure the benefits of peace. The Institute for Economics and Peace is now the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyze peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the immense economic cost of violence, analyzing country level risk and understanding positive peace. The research is used extensively by governments, academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and by intergovernmental institutions such as the OECD, The Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank and the United Nations. The Institute was recently ranked in the top 15 most impactful think tanks in the world on the Global Go To Think Tank Index. The Institute for Economics and Peace is impacting traditional thinking on matters of security, defense, terrorism and development. In an earlier interview with Diplomatic Courier: “Studying peace was something different,” Killelea says, “a chance to see not what has gone wrong and how to fix it but what has gone right in pursuit of a perpetuation of the good. “Put another way, he asks, “how can peace be understood as something just as thrilling, as daring, as engaging, as the struggle to deny our darkest paths? Like the the poet Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Killelea believes that “Peace has its victories no less than war but it takes brave [people] to win them” Killelea initiated the first Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2006 in part to display the better business of peace critical to the 21st century. Killelea seized on two entrepreneurial opportunities in creating the GPI. The first and most obvious one was to get peace taken more seriously as a topic by applying a business and metrics mindset to the study of peace. The other, slightly less obvious, was an emphasis on marketing and outreach of peace. Killelea, speaking with Diplomatic Courier, reflected on the birth of the GPI in the context of years spent in conflict regions as part of a family foundation. “About eleven years ago…I was in the Congo, North East Kavu to be precise, which is one of the more dangerous places in the world and I started to think: what is the opposite of all these stressed out countries I’m spending time in?” He searched for an answer to the question and found no one asking the right question. “I did some searching on the internet and couldn’t find a thing,” he recalled. Even in studies that purported to examine peace, Killelea found the opposite. “I realized that most of what we study isn’t actually peace,” he said. “What we’re actually studying is conflict. And the study of peace and the study of conflict are very different things.” He draws an analogy to health: “That which keeps us healthy is very different from what we need to stop pathology when we get sick.” Recognizing the difference, the challenge was to find a new approach. “If you can’t measure something, you can’t truly understand it. If you can’t measure something, how do you know whether your actions (are) achieving your values? That was the basis of how the Global Peace Index came to be.” In the next ten years, Killelea wants to continue to evolve his concept of positive peace. “One of the things we’ll be doing over the next few years,” he says “is putting a lot more energy into the economic models that we’ve built around peacefulness, looking at the effects on industries such as tourism. Tourism, sustainable tourism, and positive peace at home are highly correlated. So we’ll be looking at how we can make these figures more relevant to various industries as well as understanding how we can look at various interventions through peace-building.” “Peace might be a hard sell but it shouldn’t be,” Killelea says. For ten years already, and hopefully for many more decades to come, the GPI can be there to make the sale that much easier.

About
Paul Nash
:
Toronto-based Correspondent Paul Nash is a frequent China commentator.
About
Ana C. Rold
:
Ana C. Rold is the Founder and Publisher of Diplomatic Courier. She teaches political science courses at Northeastern University and is the Host and Producer of Future Tense podcast. Follow her on Twitter @ACRold.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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www.diplomaticourier.com

To End All War: Science, Technology, Business and the Future of Peace

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October 7, 2016

The final shots in that momentous war died away nearly a century ago, but their legacy has lived on, echoing on down to the present day. At the time, it was called the “Great War.” Only Afterwards, when it belonged safely to history and could be viewed from a broader historical perspective did it become known as the first “world” war because it embroiled most of the nations of Europe, as well as Russia, the United States and Canada, the Middle East, and other regions. The war set the Central Powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Britain and Russia, Italy, and, from 1917, the United States. It ended with the defeat of the Central Powers, a bitter-sweet victory considering the cost. Indeed, what made the Great War so momentous, was not just its sweeping geographic breadth. Historically, it was unprecedented in the slaughter and destruction it caused. Military and civilian casualties amounted to more than 38 million. So terrible was this Great War, in fact, that the eminent British science-fiction writer and historian H.G. Wells, himself a pacifist, called it the “war to end all wars.” Modern science and technology had for the first time been harnessed to armed conflict to create an industrial war machine with devastating and deadly effect. The First World War saw the widespread use of chemical weapons, the introduction of high explosives, high-velocity, breech-loading artillery, metal warships, submarines, machine guns, aircraft, radar and wireless communications, all mobilized and marshaled over the muddy battlefields of Europe with an efficiency learned and perfected in the grey, smoky factories of a new industrial machine age. Then, during the Second World War, which many historians now argue was simply a continuation of the First World War, we saw the advent and first use of the greatest and most frightful of all weapons, the nuclear bomb. It is humankind’s most profound tragedy that we have taken some of our greatest and most noble achievements—the development of the sciences and technology—and turned them to the pursuit of mutual destruction. Writing about six months after the outbreak of the First World War, Sigmund Freud expressed his disillusionment with human nature and its primitive tendency toward violence, which he felt is akin to “a disease of the mind or spirit” that destroys our common humanity and debases its greatest gift (its capacity to reason), and over which civilization and its primary organizing institution, the state, has yet failed to triumph. In his essay “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death,” (1915) Freud writes that “we cannot but feel that no event has ever destroyed so much that is precious in the common possessions of humanity, confused so many of the clearest intelligences, or so thoroughly debased what is highest. Science herself has lost her passionless impartiality; her deeply embittered servants seek for weapons from her with which to contribute towards the struggle with the enemy. Anthropologists feel driven to declare that enemy inferior and degenerate, psychiatrists issue a diagnosis of his disease of mind or spirit. Probably, however, our sense of these immediate evils is disproportionately strong, and we are not entitled to compare them with the evils of other times, which we have not experienced.” Ever since the First World War, scientific research and the development of new technologies have gone hand-in-hand with what we like to believe is ‘defense’ planning. Defense labs have sprung up in major countries around the world with the sole purpose of ensuring that science and technology are made to contribute all they can to a nation’s capacity to wage war, ostensibly in the name of national defense and international security. And in a curious and twisted way, we have created some degree of international security, for the world’s strongest powers have developed such an awesome capacity for prosecuting war using nuclear arms that they have tried earnestly to avoid warring one another for fear of “mutually assured destruction.” Somewhere along the way, however, an obvious and intriguing question seems to have been lost: What if the power of science and technology could be harnessed to the pursuit of international peacebuilding and conflict management? Could we not gain helpful insight into the human dynamics—the very DNA—of conflict so that we could better treat it, like a disease, and create the healthy conditions necessary for the achievement and maintenance of international peace? Surely scientists and engineers could join with their colleagues in the humanities and social sciences in working to better understand the causes and prevention of war. At the very least, science and technology could no doubt be better utilized to support and improve the functioning of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, which was established with the stated goal of “saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which…has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights.” In other words, does the pursuit of peace not deserve the same rigorous, scientific approach employed in the pursuit of warfare: one that utilizes the full powers of human resourcefulness and ingenuity, together with the latest tools that technology has to offer? Humankind owes it to itself to take such a deliberate approach to peace. After all, there are an estimated 7.3 million scientists worldwide. The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) believes we should take this approach. The Institute, established and funded by the United States Congress, believes the answer lies in moving beyond ad hoc innovation towards a more deliberate model, in which “engineers and scientists from industry and academia work alongside experts in peacebuilding from government, NGOs and the conflict zones themselves. To that end it helped to create the PeaceTech Lab in 2014, the first privately funded facility of its kind, a “collaborative space” located on the National Mall, adjacent to the USIP and in close proximity to various U.S. and international agencies, “where experts in technology work with experts in conflict management and with fellows from the conflict zones themselves to imagine, develop, and deploy new tools for the field.” The lab works for peace and positive social change in conflict zones around the world. It operates on the premise that “efforts to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts must be grounded on empirical evidence and rigorously evaluated for impact.” While the lab recognizes that human conflict may be inevitable, it also believes that conflicts can be resolved without violence. Indeed, it advocates non-violent solutions not simply because they are less destructive to human lives and well-being, but also because they are less costly, and therefore more sustainable over the long run. The lab takes an approach that adapts to the dynamics of each conflict because it believes that “efforts to prevent, mitigate and resolve conflicts should be tailored to each issue, circumstance or conflict zone.” The Western word has already seen a proliferation of academic centers for the study of conflict resolution and peace. Peace and conflict studies is now a well-established discipline within the social sciences. It comprises many scholarly journals, college and university departments, research institutes, conferences, and it has also garnered outside recognition for the utility of its method. Peace Studies examine the causes and prevention of war, as well as the nature of violence, including social oppression, discrimination and marginalization. Through peace studies, we can also learn peace-making strategies to overcome persecution and transform society to attain a more just and equitable international community. Some will argue that the pursuit of peace is chiefly a question of incentives—and that the real or perceived incentives to wage war tend to outweigh the incentives to pursue peace. Stephen Killelea, a successful IT entrepreneur and philanthropist decided to try to change this mistaken way of thinking by bringing economics to the study of peace. Killelea founded The Institute for Economics and Peace in 2007. The Institute has dared to do something new: to find a way to measure the benefits of peace. The Institute for Economics and Peace is now the world’s leading think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyze peace and to quantify its economic value. It does this by developing global and national indices, calculating the immense economic cost of violence, analyzing country level risk and understanding positive peace. The research is used extensively by governments, academic institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and by intergovernmental institutions such as the OECD, The Commonwealth Secretariat, the World Bank and the United Nations. The Institute was recently ranked in the top 15 most impactful think tanks in the world on the Global Go To Think Tank Index. The Institute for Economics and Peace is impacting traditional thinking on matters of security, defense, terrorism and development. In an earlier interview with Diplomatic Courier: “Studying peace was something different,” Killelea says, “a chance to see not what has gone wrong and how to fix it but what has gone right in pursuit of a perpetuation of the good. “Put another way, he asks, “how can peace be understood as something just as thrilling, as daring, as engaging, as the struggle to deny our darkest paths? Like the the poet Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Killelea believes that “Peace has its victories no less than war but it takes brave [people] to win them” Killelea initiated the first Global Peace Index (GPI) in 2006 in part to display the better business of peace critical to the 21st century. Killelea seized on two entrepreneurial opportunities in creating the GPI. The first and most obvious one was to get peace taken more seriously as a topic by applying a business and metrics mindset to the study of peace. The other, slightly less obvious, was an emphasis on marketing and outreach of peace. Killelea, speaking with Diplomatic Courier, reflected on the birth of the GPI in the context of years spent in conflict regions as part of a family foundation. “About eleven years ago…I was in the Congo, North East Kavu to be precise, which is one of the more dangerous places in the world and I started to think: what is the opposite of all these stressed out countries I’m spending time in?” He searched for an answer to the question and found no one asking the right question. “I did some searching on the internet and couldn’t find a thing,” he recalled. Even in studies that purported to examine peace, Killelea found the opposite. “I realized that most of what we study isn’t actually peace,” he said. “What we’re actually studying is conflict. And the study of peace and the study of conflict are very different things.” He draws an analogy to health: “That which keeps us healthy is very different from what we need to stop pathology when we get sick.” Recognizing the difference, the challenge was to find a new approach. “If you can’t measure something, you can’t truly understand it. If you can’t measure something, how do you know whether your actions (are) achieving your values? That was the basis of how the Global Peace Index came to be.” In the next ten years, Killelea wants to continue to evolve his concept of positive peace. “One of the things we’ll be doing over the next few years,” he says “is putting a lot more energy into the economic models that we’ve built around peacefulness, looking at the effects on industries such as tourism. Tourism, sustainable tourism, and positive peace at home are highly correlated. So we’ll be looking at how we can make these figures more relevant to various industries as well as understanding how we can look at various interventions through peace-building.” “Peace might be a hard sell but it shouldn’t be,” Killelea says. For ten years already, and hopefully for many more decades to come, the GPI can be there to make the sale that much easier.

About
Paul Nash
:
Toronto-based Correspondent Paul Nash is a frequent China commentator.
About
Ana C. Rold
:
Ana C. Rold is the Founder and Publisher of Diplomatic Courier. She teaches political science courses at Northeastern University and is the Host and Producer of Future Tense podcast. Follow her on Twitter @ACRold.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.