Debiel and Wulf on Escalation und De-escalation in the Ukraine War

Centre Co-Director Tobias Debiel and former Senior Fellow Herbert Wulf have co-authored an entry on INEF's Development and Peace Blog offering further perspectives on the War in Ukraine.

The article engages in a nuanced way with existing literature on (de-)escalation in order to track the progression of tensions between Russia and the West. Not above scrutiny, the actions of Western nations/organizations are rather put under the microscope for their contribution towards escalation. The authors provide a detailed, step-by-step prescription for de-escalation which acknowleges a significant departure from earlier, Cold War policies and metaphors, and instead provides a tailored path toward restoring peace and stability.


'The clear attribution of current asymmetric political responsibility and “guilt” could tempt the West to feel morally superior and to consider its own actions as rationally and normatively justified. As important as one's own moral self-assurance is, it is also significant to be open to research findings on conflict escalation.'

About the Article

Prof Dr Tobias Debiel is Deputy Director of the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) at the University of Duisburg-Essen as well as Co-Director and policy field convener for the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Center for Global Cooperation Research.

Prof. Dr. Herbert Wulf joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Senior Expert Fellow from October 2012–September 2013. He is presently a Senior Fellow at BICC and an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the Institute for Development and Peace, University of Duisburg-Essen, where he was previously a Deputy Director.

The article was originally published in German on the Development and Peace Blog (INEF) through the University of Duisburg-Essen (14.03.2022). The English translation was first published by the Toda Peace Institute in a slightly modified form (15.03.2022).

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