Welcome to the War Studies podcast. We bring you world-leading research from the School of Security Studies at King’s College London, the largest community of scholars in the world dedicated to the study of all aspects of security, defence and international relations. We aim to explore the complex realm of conflict and uncover the challenges at the heart of navigating world affairs and diplomatic relations, because we believe the study of war is fundamental to understanding the world we live in and the world we want to live in. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please rate and review us on your preferred podcast provider – it really helps us reach more listeners. The School of Security Studies harnesses the depth and breadth of expertise across War Studies and Defence Studies to produce world-leading research and teaching on issues of global security that develops new empirical knowledge, employs innovative theory, and addresses vital policy issues. Visit our website: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/security-studies Sign up to our mailing list: https://kcl.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=cc0521a63c9b286223dea9d18&id=730233761d DISCLAIMER: Any information, statements or opinions contained in these podcasts are those of the individual speakers. They do not represent the opinions of the Department of War Studies or King's College London.
Government responses to climate change and national security
29:16Throughout October and November we're bringing you the special podcast mini-series ‘Climate Change and National Security’, in the run up to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted by the Environmental and Security Research Group in the School of the Security Studies. How do different states view the relationship between climate and security? Is there a best practice for climate security and a sense of momentum as we move into COP26? Should we be worried about the securitisation of the climate agenda? In the first of this five part mini-series Climate Change and National Security, Professor Matt McDonald from the University of Queensland and Dr Duraid Jalili from the King's Environmental Security Research Group consider different governmental responses to climate change and national security from '50,000 feet’.
American Grand Strategy and China's hegemonic challenge with Dr Zeno Leoni
41:14There is widespread agreement that world order is in transition. The Liberal International Order (LIO), established in the aftermath of World War II, is in decline. In the summer of 2008, just 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, China’s lavish opening ceremony at the Olympic Games in Beijing showed the world a ‘glorious civilisation’ with a desire to reconquer what was lost. Just a few weeks later, on 15 September, Lehman Brothers crashed, and the West was thrown into a deep financial crisis. With American hegemony and its interventionist strategy of spreading liberalism around the globe on the back foot, so too is the LIO. But what’s causing these major global shifts and how might they shape global politics going forward? In this episode of the podcast, Dr Zeno Leoni, Teaching Fellow in the Defence Studies Department at King’s, joins us to discuss his new publication, American Grand Strategy from Obama to Trump: Imperialism After Bush and China's Hegemonic Challenge. He shares what it says about the rise of China and the decline of the US, how recent US governments have attempted to stem the tide of change, and why he’s approached all of this through a Marxist reading of imperialism and foreign policy.
Women in the War: The Last Heroines of Britain’s Greatest Generation with Lucy Fisher
37:39Women’s efforts were indispensable in the Second World War effort, yet their stories are often missing from the general narratives. The nature of the job they did, the unabating dangers they faced and how they experienced the ups and downs of professional and personal war life, is still under-researched and under-reported. In this special episode we’re joined by Lucy Fisher, the Deputy Political Editor of the Daily Telegraph and author of a new book 'Women in the War: The Last Heroines of Britain’s Greatest Generation'. Interviewed by War Studies PhD Candidate Sarah-Louise Miller, Lucy shares the poignant and inspiring first-hand stories of ten of the last surviving heroines of the era, who dedicated their young adulthood to the war effort. Whether flying Spitfires to the frontline, aiding code breaking at Bletchley Park, plotting the Battle of the Atlantic or working with Churchill in the Cabinet War Rooms, Lucy recounts their remarkable experiences, shaped by danger and trauma. She explores how the insight that comes with age enables them to contemplate how the conflict helped women prove their worth, transformed society and sparked the later battles for equal rights. You can find out more and purchase a copy of the book via the Harper Collins website: harpercollins.co.uk/products/women-in-the-war-lucy-fisher
A New Approach to Peacebuilding with Severine Autesserre
43:52Billions of dollars are spent every year on pacifying conflict zones by international organisations and NGOs. However, the past five years have seen the worst refugee crisis in the world since World War II, and conflicts continue to erupt despite unabated these massive peacekeeping missions. So why is the aid industry failing to deliver lasting peace and what can we instead? In a special episode of the podcast we talk to Professor Séverine Autesserre, professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University. An award-winning researcher and author, writing on conflict, peacebuilding and international aid, her research has helped shape the intervention strategies of several United Nations departments, foreign affairs ministries, and non-governmental organisations. Interviewed by guest host, MA student Gizem Yurtseven, Séverine discussed her latest book The Frontlines of Peace: An Insider’s Guide to Changing the World, which across 12 different conflict zones, shares her discovery that pockets of peace can be found everywhere, from Congo to Colombia to Afghanistan. Her inspiring accounts turn on its head traditional notions of peacebuilding, revealing success stories of grassroots initiatives led by local people which have led to long-lasting peace in some of the worst conflict zones around the world.
Child Soldiers: From Civil Wars to Violent Extremism with Dr Sukanya Podder
35:49There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today in at least 20 countries. “At times I would cry while on the frontline, especially when I thought about my family. When I cried, my friends in the group would lock me up and tell me that I am no longer a child. I should not cry, when I see people dying.” These are the words of Timothy Sunday, a child forcibly recruited into armed conflict in the Liberian civil war in 2002. In this episode of the podcast we chat to Dr Sukanya Podder, Senior Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department, to explore the world-wide issue of children affected by armed groups, including in civil wars to violent extremism. She shares case studies of personal experience with affected youths and describes the evolving global recruitment methods including social media, the violence children are subjected to and the complexities involved in rehabilitating them back into society post-conflict. We’re also joined by Rocco Blume from NGO War Child, who shares how the problem has evolved over the past decade and their dedication and Professor Funmi Olonisakin, Vice-President and Vice-Principal (International), King’s College London, who shares insights from her time in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, including the vital role the UN played in drawing international attention to and combatting the issue of child recruitment into armed groups.
Global Nuclear Disarmament: Could blockchain be the solution? with Dr Lyndon Burford
42:29We’re only ever one hour away from full scale nuclear war, a war that would be absolutely catastrophic to human welfare, the economy and the environment. With the world’s nine nuclear-armed states and their allies continuing to spend over 70 billion US dollars a year on their nuclear arsenal, where to from here for nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world? In this episode of the podcast we talk to Dr Lyndon Burford who believes the technology blockchain may have the answers. A data storage method which stores data in a highly secure, cryptographic way, blockchain has the the potential to revolutionise the world in the same way that the internet has – changing the way in which we think about society and solving global issues, from cryptocurrency to charity donations to nuclear disarmament. Dr Burford, a Visiting Research Associate at the Centre for Science and Security Studies, King’s College London, explores the political, legal and ethical challenges of nuclear weapons, the truth behind growing nuclear stockpiles and explains how blockchain technology might work to increase trust and confidence in nuclear disarmament programmes, as well as the role new technologies in general can enable us to work towards a more peaceful future. He also talks about his fascinating career changes, from a native New Zealander landing himself a role on the set of the Lord of the Rings films as an Armour Weapons Technician to pursuing a career researching nuclear disarmament and now researching the role of new technologies for peace for Pope Francis.
Naval figures of WWII: The good and the bad with Professor Malcolm Murfett
38:43The unsung heroes of World War Two risked everything to ensure naval manoeuvres were fulfilled and convoys, sending vital food and supplies to Britain, were safe. Much is left untold of the incredible logistics that were at play - crossing the inhospitable North Sea, escaping under fire and extricating hundreds of thousands of troops from Dunkirk beaches in just a few days. In this episode, Professor Malcolm Murfett, a visiting professor at the Department of War Studies, shares insights into naval operations that have gone down in history for the infamy, tragedy or glory associated with them and the naval figures that led such missions. Offering narrative on First Sea Lords, such as Sir Dudley Pound, Malcolm highlights the scale of naval tasks, the challenges at sea and how crucial mistakes led to some of history’s biggest naval disasters. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography exists as almost magisterial volumes in refereeing notable figures from British History. As an Associate Editor, Malcolm reveals the personal endeavours of individuals he’s come across - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Russian Imperialism Revisited with Dr Domitilla Sagramoso
43:47The UK government's 2021 Integrated Review of security and defence outlines Russia as the "most acute threat to our security". This follows the rise of an increasingly resurgent and highly unpredictable Russia under Putin, with many in the West raising the spectre that Russia’s military actions are leading to a restoration of the former Soviet Union in a new shape and form. But how credible is this interpretation of Russian foreign policy over the last 30 years and how careful should we be before jumping to conclusions about what lies behind the Russian state’s actions? In this episode, Dr Domitilla Sagramoso, Lecturer in Security and Development at the Department of War Studies, shares insights from her recently published book 'Russian Imperialism Revisited: From Disengagement to Hegemony'. Offering rigorous and objective analysis of Russia’s policies in its closest neighbourhood over a 30 year period up to 2017, she hopes to provide a closer look at the drivers and motivations behind foreign-policy formulation and provide accurate analysis of Russian actions in the former Soviet space. An invaluable resource to anyone grappling with the increasing tensions in Western-Russian relations, her findings highlight the missed opportunities for building bridges between Russia and the West, and underline how and why Russian foreign policy took a different, more assertive tack under Putin.
Revolutionary thought after the Paris Commune with Julia Nicholls
41:18Marx called it the 'glorious harbinger of a new society’, the Bolsheviks shrouded Lenin’s body in a Communard flag, and Mao Zedong claimed the events partly inspired the Cultural Revolution. The Paris Commune 1871 was one of the most significant revolutionary uprisings of the 19th century and after, and has captured imaginations for the last 150 years, inspiring communist leaders to the recent Gilet Jaune protests in France to a French fashion brand. In this special episode marking 150 years since the Paris Commune, guest presenter and War Studies historian, Dr Mark Condos, speaks to Dr Julia Nicholls, Lecturer in French & European Studies at King’s, about the events of the Commune, its aftermath and its enduring legacy. Julia discusses her book 'Revolutionary Thought after the Paris Commune, 1871 – 1885', exploring what happened to the revolutionaries exiled from France post-Commune, how they kept their revolutionary ideas alive, once scattered around the globe, and what this means for understanding French politics during this period and beyond. This podcast is part of our activities marking 150 years since the Franco-Prussian War. We’ll also be hosting a two-day conference, 6-7 May 2021, to interrogate the significance of some of the key political, social, cultural, and military transformations brought about by this crucial turning point in both European and world history. Sign up online - www.kcl.ac.uk/events/reassessing-the-franco-prussian-war-150-years-on-1
Disinformation and Epidemics: The Next Phase of Biowarfare with Rose Bernard
45:37Are we entering a fifth era of biological warfare? One that does not depend on the existence of a manufactured biological weapon, but rather seeks to weaponise fake news and disinformation to undermine public health efforts? As we move beyond the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, we talk to Rose Bernard, doctoral researcher in global health security, in the Conflict and Health Research Group in the Department of War Studies. She believes the deluge of fake news that accompanied the coronavirus, along with the rapid rise of the anti-vax movement in the last 10 years, and misinformation during the Ebola outbreaks, reveal how damaging disinformation can be to public health efforts. We discuss how this new type of biowarfare could incorporate the use of cyber capabilities to undermine sociopolitical systems by virtually escalating natural outbreaks. Such a campaign could have a catastrophic impact – potentially diverting the course of an epidemic by preventing people from accessing treatment, increasing civil conflict, and provoking attacks on health workers.