John Braithwaite

John Braithwaite leads the Peacebuilding Compared project in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), The Australian National University.

orcid https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8538-2404

Cascades of Violence »

War, Crime and Peacebuilding Across South Asia

War and crime are cascade phenomena. War cascades across space and time to more war; crime to more crime; crime cascades to war; and war to crime. As a result, war and crime become complex phenomena. That does not mean we cannot understand how to prevent crime and war simultaneously. This book shows, for example, how a cascade analysis leads to an understanding of how refugee camps are nodes of both targeted attack and targeted recruitment into violence. Hence, humanitarian prevention also must target such nodes of risk. This book shows how nonviolence and nondomination can also be made to cascade, shunting cascades of violence into reverse. Complexity theory implies a conclusion that the pursuit of strategies for preventing crime and war is less important than understanding meta strategies. These are meta strategies for how to sequence and escalate many redundant prevention strategies. These themes were explored across seven South Asian societies during eight years of fieldwork.

Networked Governance of Freedom and Tyranny »

Peace in Timor-Leste

Authored by: John Braithwaite, Hilary Charlesworth, Adérito Soares
This book offers a new approach to the extraordinary story of Timor-Leste. The Indonesian invasion of the former Portuguese colony in 1975 was widely considered to have permanently crushed the Timorese independence movement. Initial international condemnation of the invasion was quickly replaced by widespread acceptance of Indonesian sovereignty. But inside Timor-Leste various resistance networks maintained their struggle, against all odds. Twenty-four years later, the Timorese were allowed to choose their political future and the new country of Timor-Leste came into being in 2002. This book presents freedom in Timor-Leste as an accomplishment of networked governance, arguing that weak networks are capable of controlling strong tyrannies. Yet, as events in Timor-Leste since independence show, the nodes of networks of freedom can themselves become nodes of tyranny. The authors argue that constant renewal of liberation networks is critical for peace with justice – feminist networks for the liberation of women, preventive diplomacy networks for liberation of victims of war, village development networks, civil society networks. Constant renewal of the separation of powers is also necessary. A case is made for a different way of seeing the separation of powers as constitutive of the republican ideal of freedom as non-domination. The book is also a critique of realism as a theory of international affairs and of the limits of reforming tyranny through the centralised agency of a state sovereign. Reversal of Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of Timor-Leste was an implausible accomplishment. Among the things that achieved it was principled engagement with Indonesia and its democracy movement by the Timor resistance. Unprincipled engagement by Australia and the United States in particular allowed the 1975 invasion to occur. The book argues that when the international community regulates tyranny responsively, with principled engagement, there is hope for a domestic politics of nonviolent transformation for freedom and justice.

Pillars and Shadows »

Statebuilding as peacebuilding in Solomon Islands

This volume of the Peacebuilding Compared Project examines the sources of the armed conflict and coup in the Solomon Islands before and after the turn of the millennium. The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has been an intensive peacekeeping operation, concentrating on building ‘core pillars’ of the modern state. It did not take adequate notice of a variety of shadow sources of power in the Solomon Islands, for example logging and business interests, that continue to undermine the state’s democratic foundations. At first RAMSI’s statebuilding was neither very responsive to local voices nor to root causes of the conflict, but it slowly changed tack to a more responsive form of peacebuilding. The craft of peace as learned in the Solomon Islands is about enabling spaces for dialogue that define where the mission should pull back to allow local actors to expand the horizons of their peacebuilding ambition.

Reconciliation and Architectures of Commitment »

Sequencing peace in Bougainville

Authored by: John Braithwaite, Hilary Charlesworth, Peter Reddy, Leah Dunn
Following a bloody civil war, peace consolidated slowly and sequentially in Bougainville. That sequence was of both a top-down architecture of credible commitment in a formal peace process and layer upon layer of bottom-up reconciliation. Reconciliation was based on indigenous traditions of peacemaking. It also drew on Christian traditions of reconciliation, on training in restorative justice principles and on innovation in womens’ peacebuilding. Peacekeepers opened safe spaces for reconciliation, but it was locals who shaped and owned the peace. There is much to learn from this distinctively indigenous peace architecture. It is a far cry from the norms of a ‘liberal peace’ or a ‘realist peace’. The authors describe it as a hybrid ‘restorative peace’ in which ‘mothers of the land’ and then male combatants linked arms in creative ways. A danger to Bougainville’s peace is weakness of international commitment to honour the result of a forthcoming independence referendum that is one central plank of the peace deal.  

Anomie and Violence »

Non-truth and Reconciliation in Indonesian Peacebuilding

Authored by: John Braithwaite, Valerie Braithwaite, Michael Cookson, Leah Dunn
Indonesia suffered an explosion of religious violence, ethnic violence, separatist violence, terrorism, and violence by criminal gangs, the security forces and militias in the late 1990s and early 2000s. By 2002 Indonesia had the worst terrorism problem of any nation. All these forms of violence have now fallen dramatically. How was this accomplished? What drove the rise and the fall of violence? Anomie theory is deployed to explain these developments. Sudden institutional change at the time of the Asian financial crisis and the fall of President Suharto meant the rules of the game were up for grabs. Valerie Braithwaite’s motivational postures theory is used to explain the gaming of the rules and the disengagement from authority that occurred in that era. Ultimately resistance to Suharto laid a foundation for commitment to a revised, more democratic, institutional order. The peacebuilding that occurred was not based on the high-integrity truth-seeking and reconciliation that was the normative preference of these authors. Rather it was based on non-truth, sometimes lies, and yet substantial reconciliation. This poses a challenge to restorative justice theories of peacebuilding.