Insights, ideas and analysis on empathy in international affairs.

Eyes Half Shut – Failures of Strategic Empathy in Afghanistan

Chris Kolenda is Senior Military Fellow at King’s College London, was previously the Senior Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan to the US Department of Defense and has served four tours of duty in Afghanistan. In this Insight he argues that inadequate strategic empathy by the United States in Afghanistan undermined its own counter-insurgency goals.

Atomic Empathy – US-Iranian Diplomacy Behind the Nuclear Deal

Ellie Geranmayeh is an Iran expert and Policy Fellow in the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. In this Insight Ms Geranmayeh discusses the vital of role of empathy and leadership in helping to secure the Iran nuclear deal in April 2015.

Tectonic Tremors: The Ukraine Crisis and Multiple Failures of Empathy

This Insight, by Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, explores failures of empathy by Putin and the West in relation to the Ukraine crisis. He argues that while empathy cannot be the sole basis for foreign policy-making, it has real utility for decision-makers, especially in understanding ground-level political movements.

Applied Empathy – The Secret to System Change

Danielle Goldstone is Senior Advisor to Ashoka, a non-governmental organization that identifies and invests in leading social entrepreneurs. In this Insight she argues that empathy is a powerful tool for identifying effective, collaborative and sustainable solutions to social problems.

Witnessing in Palestinian-Israeli Peacebuilding

Nawal Musleh-Motut is in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University, Canada. In this Insight she describes her work on ‘witnessing’ between Israelis and Palestinians in relation to their respective national traumas, and argues empathy is a necessary but not sufficient element of this process.

Lack of Empathy and the Bloodshed in Iraq

Jonathan Steele is a former Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Guardian and the author of several books on international relations, including Iraq. In this Insight, he argues that if western officials had empathized with Iraqis they might have been able to anticipate many of the disastrous consequences of the 2003 intervention, govern far more effectively and avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

Malleable Emotions

Olga Klimecki is a psychologist and neuroscientist specialising in the role of emotions in conflict resolution and the effects of meditation. In this Insight she argues that empathy and compassion can be amplified by training, affecting well-being and behavior.