OPINION: Thinkpiece - Never mind the politics, peace needs support

Most people would agree that the current state of international relations is at its worst and most dangerous since the Korean War 50 years ago.

Regional instability and a generalised fear of terrorism are driving arms proliferation and sales. Yet the need for research into conflict resolution and peacekeeping is not being addressed by the funding community.

To look forward to a more secure world, we urgently need new thinking, as opposed to what might be termed the neo-conservative, pre-emptive strike agenda.

Yet in the past six months, my charity, the British American Security Information Council (Basic), has submitted dozens of applications for new funding, with only occasional success. We conduct research into international security issues, including weapons of mass destruction, bio-terrorism and nuclear proliferation. We are a recognised NGO with offices in London and Washington. We have former US ambassadors on our board and employ as many dedicated policy analysts as our funding affords (see www.basicint.org for more details).Yet most of our rejection letters, though obliquely worded, clearly convey the message: research into international security is "too political".

I do not believe that research on nuclear proliferation, multilateral treaties, peacekeeping, or small arms/light weapons is "too political".

The funding community must recognise the dangers of a highly armed world and start to fund research beyond academic and mainstream reports.

As the international situation deteriorates, we need progressive foundations to recognise research into international security as a priority. We all want a more stable world - and we need support to investigate new ways to achieve it. Dr Ian Davis, director of Basic

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