What Is the Breaking Point for Nonviolent Resistance?

Global Thinkers Erica Chenoweth and David Scheffer debate when — if ever — social and political movements should turn to armed insurgency.

FP_podcast_article_artwork-1-globalthinkers
FP_podcast_article_artwork-1-globalthinkers

In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, David Scheffer, former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, and political scientist Erica Chenoweth explore the merits and drawbacks of taking up weapons against an oppressive regime.

About the participants:

David Scheffer is a 2011 Global Thinker. He’s a professor and the director of the Center for International Human Rights at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; he’s also the U.N. secretary-general’s special expert on U.N. assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials. Previously, from 1997 to 2001, Scheffer served as the first ever U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes and led the U.S. delegation in talks to establish the International Criminal Court. He’s the author of All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals.

In this week’s Global Thinkers podcast, David Scheffer, former U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes, and political scientist Erica Chenoweth explore the merits and drawbacks of taking up weapons against an oppressive regime.

About the participants:

David Scheffer is a 2011 Global Thinker. He’s a professor and the director of the Center for International Human Rights at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; he’s also the U.N. secretary-general’s special expert on U.N. assistance to the Khmer Rouge trials. Previously, from 1997 to 2001, Scheffer served as the first ever U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes and led the U.S. delegation in talks to establish the International Criminal Court. He’s the author of All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals.

Erica Chenweoth is a 2013 Global Thinker. She’s a political scientist, professor, and associate dean for research at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School for International Studies. She has extensively researched political violence, and she has co-authored a book, Why Civil Resistance Works, showing that between 1900 and 2006, nonviolent movements were two times more effective than their violent counterparts in effecting regime change, the expulsion of foreign occupation, or political succession. Follow her on Twitter: @ericachenoweth.

Seyward Darby is the deputy editor for print at FP. Follow her on Twitter: @seywarddarby.

Subscribe to the Global Thinkers podcast and other FP podcasts on iTunes here.

More from Foreign Policy

Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.
Oleg Salyukov salutes to soldiers during Russia’s Victory Day parade.

Stop Falling for Russia’s Delusions of Perpetual Victory

The best sources on the war are the Ukrainians on the ground.

A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia
A fire rages at the Central Research Institute of the Aerospace Defense Forces in Tver, Russia

Could Sabotage Stop Putin From Using the Nuclear Option?

If the West is behind mysterious fires in Russia, the ongoing—but deniable—threat could deter Putin from escalating.

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is received by his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo, in Mombasa, Kenya.

While America Slept, China Became Indispensable

Washington has long ignored much of the world. Beijing hasn’t.

A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation
A bulldozer demolishes an illegal structure during a joint anti-encroachment drive conducted by North Delhi Municipal Corporation

The World Ignored Russia’s Delusions. It Shouldn’t Make the Same Mistake With India.

Hindu nationalist ideologues in New Delhi are flirting with a dangerous revisionist history of South Asia.