The Crowd Who Would Be King

If there is one word that has been on everyone's lips during the political crises in Iraq, Ukraine, and Afghanistan, it is "inclusive."Heads of stateforeign secretaries, and even military chiefs like NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have made headlines in recent months with their cries for more inclusive political processes -- by which they generally mean fair elections, constitutional reforms, reduced corruption, and participation in governance by all parts of society. But repression and faltering political accountability, they say, has all but defeated efforts to produce inclusive governments in these three violent and fragile states -- not to mention in Libya, Nigeria, Egypt, and elsewhere.

The research, however, suggests that things aren't quite so grim.

Can Big Data Stop Wars Before They Happen?

It has been almost two decades exactly since conflict prevention shot to the top of the peace-building agenda, as large-scale killings shifted from interstate wars to intrastate and intergroup conflicts. What could we have done to anticipate and prevent the 100 days of genocidal killing in Rwanda that began in April 1994 or the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica just over a year later? The international community recognized that conflict prevention could no longer be limited to diplomatic and military initiatives, but that it also requires earlier intervention to address the causes of violence between nonstate actors, including tribal, religious, economic, and resource-based tensions.

Media That Moves Millions

Three years to the month since protests swept across the Middle East, the new year once again sees peaceful demonstrators facing off against hardened and sometimes violent security forces, this time in the Ukraine. And like in the Arab Spring, social media is being said to play a significant and potentially decisive role in empowering Euromaidan protesters in ways that couldn't have been imagined a decade ago.

While the world watches the Ukraine protests unfold, however, the narrative of how social media helped fuel democratic protests during the Arab Spring is undergoing a major revision. The democratic gains of early 2011 have proven largely ephemeral. Initial optimism about the future of the region's women and youth has dampened, and generalized violence plagues countries once thought to be on the cusp of a brighter future, such as Libya, Iraq, and Syria.