A prominent analyst on international relations says despite popular thinking, peace around the world is on the increase. Andrew Mack directs the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and has directed strategic planning under UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. He’s also held teaching positions at various universities, including Harvard, the London School of Economics and the University of California.
In his independent study called the Human Security Report, Mr. Mack gives reasons why the number of genocides and violent conflicts has dropped rapidly since the end of colonialism and the Cold War, saying wars today are less frequent and less deadly. Mr. Mack told Voice of America reporter Cole Mallard the first major finding in the report is that since the end of the Cold War, there’s been a major decline in global political violence around the world; the only difference is international terrorism. He says that’s an important exception, but in fact, international terrorists actually kill relatively few people every year, less than a thousand a year on average over the last 30 years. He says the second major finding is that "the best single explanation we have for this decline is the extraordinary explosion of international activism that followed the end of the Cold War.”
Mr. Mack says terrorism is on the increase because terrorists think it’s an effective way to get their message across, though it may do little to gain support for the cause. He says terrorism tends to bring out more counter-terrorism, which, in turn, has increased anti-Americanism. He also says terrorism is found in non-Muslim areas such as Sri Lanka, and Latin America.
Mr. Mack says: “Africa has been the focus of most conflicts -- is still the focus of most conflicts today -- although Iraq is now the single deadliest conflict." But he says the good news in Africa is that there's been a sharp increase in the number of wars that have stopped without settlements. "We don’t know how long that can be sustained," he says, "in some cases things are looking quite promising; in other cases they’re not looking so good …. What we have achieved so far, despite the fact that there have been UN operations with inappropriate mandates, inadequate resources … we’ve achieved quite a lot; if we had more resources, more appropriate mandates, and less awful politics in the Security Council, we could achieve a great deal more.”