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About Mary Kaldor

Mary Kaldor is Professor of Global Governance at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of ‘New and Old wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era’ 3rd edition, 2012.

Articles by Mary Kaldor

This week's editor

Tom Rowley is editor of oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

BREXIT and disintegrating civilisations

It is a mistake to assume that the Brexit decision results from a democratic process. The only way to overcome the polarisation and division is through a genuinely democratic process.

If the EU didn’t exist, we would have to invent it

A serious attempt at democracy, in the sense of being able to influence the decisions that affect our lives, can only be done through solidarity with those in the European Union. Interview.

DiEM25 in London

A video of the DiEM25 breakout session at the Another Europe is Possible Event in London.

Geopolitics versus the political marketplace: the origins of the war in Ukraine

These two books on the war in Ukraine open up fresh questions into how we interpret the causes of conflict. 

From hybrid peace to human security

An effective second generation human security policy that would actually improve everyday security, both in conflict zones and in Europe, may well be critical for the very survival of the EU.

Why we should oppose British air strikes against ISIL in Syria

Britain’s Prime Minister says we should not undertake air strikes lightly – he is right: we need to think about legitimate state building, not replying to terror with terror.

Countering the logic of the war economy in Syria

The country has entered a vicious circle where Syria’s own resources are being used to destroy it, and where ordinary people have no choice but to rearrange their lives around the conflict and either join or pay armed actors to meet everyday needs.

Momentous times for democracy in Europe

The shocking behaviour of the Eurozone leaders in punishing Greece for voting against austerity has alarming implications for the future. Is it too late to put democracy and Europe together again?

The habits of the heart: substantive democracy after the European elections

Despite the dramatic spread of democratic procedures in recent decades, there is a profound and growing deficit in substantive democracy everywhere. ‘They call it democracy but it isn’t’ was one of the slogans of the Spanish indignados.

What to do in Syria?

The war in Syria is illegal. If a criminal had poisoned someone, our concern would be how to protect the public from future poisonings and how to arrest the criminal and bring him (or her) before a court of law. And civil society needs to be directly involved in the talks.

Bordering on a new World War 1

What is missing is any serious discussion about the plight of the Syrian people. If it turns out that a red line has been crossed, then any intervention will be a geo-political intervention against the Assad regime. The likely response is to arm the rebels rather than to intervene to protect ordinary people.

The new war in Europe?

The European Union was founded in reaction to what I call ‘old war’ – the wars of the twentieth century. Even though material interests ought logically to lead to increased political cooperation, contemporary European politics, or the absence of politics, suggest instead the possibility of what I call a ‘new war’.

Subterranean Politics in Europe: an introduction

In a study of Europe’s “subterranean politics,” Mary Kaldor’s team at the London School of Economics and Political Science, working with partners across Europe, has examined both new political parties and public protests, finding that all of these phenomena share not only opposition to austerity, but also extensive frustration with politics as currently practised. This week, the team reported on their findings.

Global Civil Society 2012: ten years of ‘politics from below’

The question we ask is whether today’s generation of protestors represent the harbingers of a new emancipatory agenda, or whether the opposite is the case, that social fragmentation and polarisation from above as well as from below could usher in an even more dangerous and divided world. Or both?

What to do about Syria's new war?

The key to any intervention is to combine upholding human rights inside Syria with de-escalation of the broader regional conflict. Far from being contradictory, these two goals – human rights and peace – reinforce each other.

‘Mr former Havel': the kind of politician we need

Warm memories pay tribute to Vaclav Havel who died today

Can Intervention Work? by Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus: book review

It is possible to walk the tightrope between the horrors of over-intervention and non-intervention. Mary Kaldor agrees, while insisting on distinguishing between genuine humanitarian interventions and the War on Terror.

The new road to Europe: ways out of the hydra-headed crisis

The European Union is uniquely placed to solve the problems that have been caused by the tensions and templates of national political solutions in a globalised economy. There exists a positive European reinvention of the Union for all those that are rightly indignant

Mary Kaldor


To save the euro and prevent the disintegration of the European Union, by 2013 European leaders have established a fiscal mechanism (European level taxes, borrowing and spending) which then pushes them to democratise Europe and hold elections for a President of both the Council and Commission. The new (woman) president acquires human security capabilities that have transformed the ability of the UN to stop wars and protect civilians so as to create space for democratic politics..

 

Finnish 2-euro coin commemorative of 100 years of universal suffrage, 2006, wikicommons/European Central Bank (ECB)

Libya: war or humanitarian intervention?

In the end the prospects for democracy depend on whether the rebels can mobilise support politically throughout Libya. The problem with the military approach is that it entrenches division. Our preoccupation with classic military means is undermining our capacity to address growing insecurity.

Afghanistan dreads the spring

Afghans suffer at the hands of everyone - the Taliban, the Afghan security forces, the international forces, and the warlords or drug barons - sometimes in combination. In language that is reminiscent of the way young people are talking in other parts of the Middle East, they want to reclaim their dignity.

Civil Society in 1989 and 2011

What is happening in Tunisia and Egypt is the completion of the 1989 revolutions. Giving back to us the meaning of civil society, this calls for a total rethinking of western security, foreign and economic policies

This week's theme: Human Security in practice

Mary Kaldor’s latest book is The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the New Rules of War and Peace co-authored with an American serving army officer, Shannon Beebe and published by Public Affairs. The book was primarily aimed at an American audience in the hope that the actual experience of Iraq and Afghanistan may open up an opportunity for rethinking security. It taps into what is already a wide-ranging debate in security circles. Here, our Human Security columnist introduces a special series of articles commissioned for openDemocracy on this theme

Time for the human approach

Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal for a new post-cold war security order offers a significant opportunity for the world. But both the West and Russia need to move on from conventional security logic, and think in terms of the human, argue Mary Kaldor and Javier Solana.

Documents at odds: the UK’s national security review

The narrative of the Cold War imposed a simplified vision of the world. The UK’s defence review does move towards an understanding that risks normally associated with domestic concerns now have to be dealt with on a global scale. What it does not do is to create a capability for this kind of intervention

Reconceptualising war

What if defeating the enemy was the justification for war, but not its real goal? What if its goal was a certain kind of power-brokerage?

Can Greece Lead the Way?

As the left across Europe flounders in the wake of the economic crisis, the Greek socialist party under George Papandreou could prove the exception with its dramatic election victory. His aim is nothing less than a pioneering form of progressive government that combines green development, democratic openness and international reconciliation.

Dismantling the global nuclear infrastructure

Arms control belongs to an era when an absolutist view of state sovereignty prevailed. We need the courage to move to global nuclear disarmament.

Poverty and activism: the heart of global civil society

The multiple realities of poverty in India are a key arena where the arguments about global civil society are being tested, say the editors of the new edition of the Global Civil Society Yearbook.  

Gaza: the "new war"

Izzeldin Abuelaish's tragic story opened a chink in the Israeli public conscience. To exit from a war without end will require a commitment to human - not just national - security

The paradox of Basra

A visit to Iraq's second city reveals fraught divisions of wealth and ideology

Secure Afghanistan

Human security ought to be the goal of any Obama surge in Afghanistan, not defeat of Al Qaeda.

Crisis as prelude to a new Golden Age

The financial crisis is not just a result of mis-aligned incentives and bad regulation. A neo-Schumpeterian view suggests that this epochal shift is the start of a re-shaping of institutions and power distribution to fit the world of information technology and clean energy. It will need guiding, argues Mary Kaldor.

'New thinking' needs new direction

The Pentagon could change from Terror Warrior to Human Security agent. It needs the Presidential direction to do so.
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