Conflicts We Can (Not) Predict

Katharina Emschermann and Nils Metternich discuss the future and what can and cannot be predicted.

In the second episode of the “Berlin Security Beat”, the Centre for International Security's podcast, Dr. Katharina Emschermann, Deputy Director at the Centre, talks to Dr. Nils Metternich, Associate Professor in International Relations at the University College London and an expert on civil conflicts and the prediction of their dynamics. They discuss what we can and cannot predict in international security, why a Nobel Peace Prize winner went to war in Ethiopia, the role of forecasting in the policymaking process, and what conflicts to watch in 2021.

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ACLED (2019): Ten Conflicts to Worry About in 2020

ACLED (2020): Mid-Year Update: Ten Conflicts to Worry About in 2020

Cedermann, Lars-Erik, Nils B. Weidmann (2017): Predicting Armed Conflict: Time to Adjust Our Expectations? In: Science, 355(6324), 474-476

Chiba, Daina, Metternich, Nils W., & Ward, Michael D. (2015): Every Story Has a Beginning, Middle, and an End (But Not Always in That Order): Predicting Duration Dynamics in a Unified Framework, in: Political Science Research and Methods, 3(3), 515-541

Çiflikli, Gökhan, Metternich, Nils W., Weber, Sigrid, & Rickard, Kit (2019): Taking Time Seriously When Evaluating Predictions in Binary-Time-Series-Cross-Section-Data, SocArXiv

Graham, David A. (2014): Rumsfeld's Knowns and Unknowns: The Intellectual History of a Quip, in: The Atlantic (03/27/2014)

Kampf, David (2020): Why Ethiopia’s conflict could spill beyond its borders: Civil wars rarely remain purely domestic affairs, in: The Monkey Cage (12/01/2020), The Washington Post

Lilla, Mark (2020): No One Knows What’s Going to Happen: Stop asking pundits to predict the future after the coronavirus. It doesn’t exist, in: The New York Times, 05/22/2020

Metternich, Nils W., et al. (2019): Predicting the Severity of Civil Wars: An Actor-centric Approach, SocArXiv

Rose, Gideon (2020): What’s Inside: How can responsible policymakers prepare for the next crisis while grappling with current ones? In: Foreign Affairs, November/December 2020

Scoblic, J. Peter/ Tetlock, Philip E. (2020): A Better Crystal Ball: The Right Way to Think About the Future, in: Foreign Affairs, November/December 2020

Tetlock, Philip E. (2005): Expert Political Judgment: How Good is It? How can We Know? Princeton University Press.

Nils Metternich’s Choice for Best Books of 2020

Hultman, Lisa/ Kathman, Jacob D./ Shannon, Megan (2019): Peacekeeping in the Midst of War, Oxford University Press.

Pan, Jennifer (2020): Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for Its Rulers, Oxford University Press.

Weidmann, Nils B./ Rød, Espen Geelmuyden (2019): The Internet and Political Protest in Autocracies, Oxford University Press.

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