Wicked Problems are a Fact of Life

Twenty-first century life is dominated by wicked problems whose causes and consequences are so inextricably intertwined that they cannot be solved quickly, easily, or separately–if they can be solved at all. Peacebuilding is a process of confronting wicked problems. If I’ve learned anything in my time as a peacebuilder it’s that you can’t create lasting peace “simply” by signing an agreement. Truly building peace requires addressing all of the root causes of a given conflict, and usually addressing them together.

I’ve designed this site to help you come to grips with these issues, especially those that involving peacebuilding and comparative politics. These are the two areas I’ve worked on the most, but there are places where you’ll see that I’ve defined those terms quite broadly. Scroll down this page to see the kinds of problems that have preoccupied me throughout me adult life.

I Deal With Wicked Problems in My Books…

I have explored wicked problems in my recent books in comparative politics and  global security. I have also just begun work on a core text book: tentatively entitled From Conflict Resolution to Peacebuilding.

Without buying either of the published books, you can explore the issues raised in them here. You can also see my plans for the peacebuilding book and even help me write it.

I have just finished an introductory level textbook on conflict resolution and peacebuilding that explores how the field has evolved at everything from the interpersonal to the international level. I’d love for you to read it. All of my royalties will go to the Alliance for Peacebuilding and George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution.

Wicked problems are at the heart of Security 2.0This part of the site, like the book itself, explores the idea of a wicked problem from a systems or complexity perspective and then presents five broad areas in which people are already taking steps to deal with them.

Comparative Politics explores how a systems perspective helps  fourteen of the world’s most important countries deal with a variety of crises. Or don’t deal with them as the case may be.

…and in my Blog…

I write a blog post about once a week–usually on Tuesdays. Most of them cover current issues in peacebuilding, although I still cover comparative politics, especially when events in that field touch on conflict around the world.

All posts will also appear on my Linkedin, Medium, Twitter, and Facebook feeds.

You can get my blog and information about books I’ve reviewed and other interesting things that cross my desk by subscribing to my weekly newsletter, All you have to do is fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

.. and in the Books I Review

Perhaps because I don’t have a day job, I read a lot. Two or three non-fiction books a week. A couple of years ago, a friend suggested that I start writing reviews of the best of them. So, the site archives those reviews. The stack of virtual books on my Kindle waiting to be read is very tall. However, I’m always looking for interesting new books to read. Send me an email with your suggested readings.

Recent Book Reviewd

I’d like to explore them with you!

I want this site to be place where you can do a lot more than just read about my books and the ideas that cross my mind in a given week. You will also be able to dig more deeply into the issues and discuss them with me and others who use this site. You can:

I like talking to small groups, especially mentoring young people. Therefore, we are experimenting with ways of holding online “office hours.” I can also talk to larger groups using zoom.us, a full-fledged videoconferencing platform.

I’am no expert. However, I have compiled some basic material on the pandemic, written some blog posts, and opened discussion forums for people to make plans for what we could and should do afterward. Click here to learn more.

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