​Bellamy, Alex J (2019) World Peace (And How We Can Achieve It). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 273 pp.

​ISBN: 978-0-19-883352-9

Erik Melander

Uppsala University

Read more about this book: global.oup.com

​Peace, according to Bellamy, is ’the absence and prevention of war (international and civil) and the management of conflict through peaceful means, implying some form of legitimate civic order’. By eschewing utopian definitions, Bellamy sets the tone for a book that is quite down-to-earth. He argues that world peace can be reached as the cumulative effect of multiple ‘minor utopias’, or steps toward peace, in the spheres of lawmaking restricting war, institutions for conflict resolution, human rights, gender equality, poverty alleviation, and many more. Together with an in-depth history of peace and peacemaking, Bellamy’s invocation of the many minor utopias makes his vision of world peace seem quite achievable. Yet, Bellamy’s sensible concluding articles for world peace are not fully satisfying. For example, Bellamy proposes that ‘No one may violate the rules of international law relating to the use of force and conduct of armed conflict’, and ‘Each state shall be a capable, responsible, and legitimate ‘sovereign' (175). While these are important aspirations, the reader would like to know how, more precisely, the articles are to be translated into reality? The most interesting articles instead point to non-obvious relationships, namely that ‘Each state and society should promote and protect gender equality’ (175) and ‘No government should inhibit the capacity of individuals to opt out of war. The free reporting of war and all its effects, open debate and dissent, and the right to refuse military service should be protected’ (176). This book is very readable and stimulating, and it is highly recommended to everyone who wants to understand peace. It also shows that the big question of how world peace can be achieved needs more attention.