War & Politics
September 2, 2022, 03:00 pm - 04:15 pm
Salon South - IASS - Potsdam
Presentation Session


Chair: Götz Neuneck

Contributors: Philipp Geyer, Götz Neuneck, Wolfgang Serbser, Parto Teherani-Krönner


Presentation by Philipp Geyer: "Russian roulette with the future of our planet"

The threat of nuclear war between NATO and Russia has increased in recent months. Relations between the so-called "West" and the so-called "East" are at least as bad as in the days of the Cold War. Thus, the danger of a nuclear confrontation also increased. The triangle Russia - Ukraine - NATO members should not be underestimated in its explosive potential. Antrophological arguments in human ecosystems regarding wars and military conflicts will be considered in this page and the following talk. Commoner called in his book (1972) “The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology” diseases and wars as anthropological external influences in human ecosystems. This text sees the Russia-Ukraine conflict as an example for rising conflict readiness. This text wants to warn against the implied bad relations with Russia and especially point out possible dangers. It is about the balancing act of supporting the Ukrainian people and not forgetting the security of Europe and the world. This dilemma should be made much clearer.
An evaluation of political relations in the past could stand a teaching framework for future relations. As Egon Bahr said: There is no stability in Europe without Russia. The goal must be de-escalation and an exit from the sphere of violence. In this regard, diplomatic steps should be carefully considered.


Presentation by Götz Neuneck:

A main task of science is to contribute to the understanding of human existence in the 21st century confronting the planet with new complex challenges which can only be solved commonly. Esp. problems of war and peace are usually assigned to international relations, i.e. to the political sciences and international relations. In the view of the many future challenges, this discipline is overburdened, especially in the case of current developments. When it comes to big, complex questions of humanity's destiny such as climate change, pandemics or nuclear extinction, the disciplines should also strive to contribute to these fields, because their scientific methods and data exploration can help to understand complex problems and implications better. Interdisciplinary exchange and research is necessary to answer common research and practical but complex questions. Unfortunately, there is still a big gap between existing and increasing knowledge and the political implementation.

In Higher Education, there is a lack of understanding for peace and conflict (P&C) dynamics in real life on the individual, institutional and political level. Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) are - depending on the subject, ambition and context - political, normative, science-based and interdisciplinary oriented.  Primary concern is to prevent the onset of war and identifies ways to solve disputes peacefully by preventive means. Prevention has to be based on the understanding of the causes of organized violent conflicts. The agenda has been enlarged over time and is based on the cooperation of disciplines to create a synergism for answering PCS questions. Acting beyond this needs additional efforts, time and knowledge.

The main topics and strength at universities are organizing and implementing P&C Research, P&C Education in the form of lectures, Seminars and Study Groups.  Research groups and institute are also linked internationally forming a powerful network of contacts in other countries. International or national conferences can help to rise the awareness of students, researchers and professors between countries. Obviously, there are institutional, methodological and cultural obstacles and problems.

Nevertheless, compared with the last centuries the situation has improved due to functioning interdisciplinary research programmes, projects and groups which are available now.  There is more international cooperation, research results and knowledge then ever. It is necessary to combine, discuss these experiences and to sell it better to the public, politics and diplomacy. New alliances are between civil society, politics are urgent. The talk will give some examples how this dialogue can be strengthened.


Presentation by Wolfgang Serbser: "War and Politics"

The confrontation with war and politics has been a special topic for human ecology since its founding phase in North America. Experiences from the American Civil War, the first war fought with industrial mass products, played an essential role. Three largely forgotten articles from the years 1910 (William James) , 1929 (George Herbert Mead) and 1941 (Robert Ezra Park) document the discussion within human ecology, which in view of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, show themselves to be remarkably up-to-date.

Current study programs lack a similarly holistic approach to understanding the socio-political consequences of a war policy and the possible approaches to overcoming and preventing it when dealing with the challenges of war and its consequences. The human ecological perspective can make an important contribution here.


Presentation by Parto Teherani-Krönner: "Human Ecology with a global perspective needs new approaches"

Human Ecology with a global perspective needs new approaches - in economy, politics - and cultural visions about development in harmony with nature and peace among people. 

The dominance of economic interests with the idea of an unlimited growth casts its shadow ever more strongly on the life chances of many people on planet earth. Knowledge is available, warnings and forecasts have been known since 1972 (Club of Rome). However, not yet willing  to implement the findings in a political and economic way.

As long as weapons and the related industrial complex call the shots, we will not be able to achieve the desired peace to safeguard planet earth. There will be no winners in this war in Ukraine either. Or will there? 



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