National Security Strategies, Emergent Powers and ‘Sustaining Peace’

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Authors: Andrew Neal, Luc Wilson and Roy Gardner

Key Findings:

  • Textual analysis of national security strategy and defence white paper documents reveals different patterns of discursive investment in peace-related practices.
  • Countries ranked “partly free”, and “not free” by Freedom House use more peace terminology than countries ranked “free”.
  • Traditional UN peacekeeping has greater discursive investment from larger contributing countries.
  • More recently developed UN peacebuilding practices have greater support from smaller Western European countries.
  • Russia is not discursively invested in any UN-centred peace practice.
  • There are regional clusters of similarity in security and defence documents, with geographical proximity having more of an effect than political similarity.
  • Within substantive mentions of “peacebuilding”, there are Western/non-Western and Global North/Global South splits.
  • There is a negative correlation between ODA (Official Development Assistance) status and public security/defence document production: the poorer a country is, the less likely it is to produce a document.
  • Using Freedom House rankings, “free” counties are more likely to produce public security/defence documents than “partly free” and “not free” countries.
  • The range of peace terminology in these documents is huge, with 249 different pairings of “peace” with others terms identified.

About the Series: The Global Transitions Series looks at fragmentations in the global order and how these impact peace and transition settlements. It explores why and how different third-party actors – state, intergovernmental, and non-governmental – intervene in conflicts, and how they see themselves contributing to reduction of conflict and risks of conflict relapse. The series critically assesses the growth and diversification of global and regional responses to contemporary conflicts. It also asks how local actors are navigating this multiplicity of mediators and peacebuilders and how this is shaping conflict outcomes and post-conflict governance. Explore the full series.