1st Edition

Stealth Conflicts How the World's Worst Violence Is Ignored

By Virgil Hawkins Copyright 2008

    Many of the world's deadliest conflicts are largely ignored - becoming off-the-radar 'stealth conflicts'. How can this be possible in a world with unprecedented levels of access to information, and unprecedented levels of attention and resources being devoted to foreign affairs? Virgil Hawkins reveals and explains the highly distorted and assimilated responses to foreign conflicts by major actors in the world. He examines the agenda-setting processes of policy makers, the media, the public and academics in relation to foreign conflicts. Using a vast array of detailed examples, he systematically unravels the internal dynamics and external influences experienced by these actors, and in so doing he brings the academic agenda into the loop of the conflict response agenda-setting process for the first time. With agenda-setting research tending to focus on the question of why a response to a particular event or issue occurred, this book furthers research by focusing equally on why a response did not occur. The volume is critically important in understanding why actors do and do not respond to foreign conflicts.

    Contents: Introduction; The state of world conflict; Conflict consciousness and stealth conflicts; Policymakers; The media; The public; Academia; Conclusions: what makes stealth conflicts?; Bibliography; Index.


    Virgil Hawkins is Assistant Professor at the Global Collaboration Center (GLOCOL), Osaka University, Japan.

    'Take off your rose-coloured glasses before you start reading. This book is a powerful and disturbing indictment of our inability to see, think or act in ways that might seriously curtail the true inhumanity of war.' Ian Smillie, Partnership Africa, Canada 'This disturbing book shows that our view of modern war is wrong. We may think that in a media-dominated age, the face of battle and its horrors can be seen in every living room. Far from it. The author shows that most major wars are hidden from us and that we have no idea of how deadly they are because no one knows the true death toll. He shows that the number of non-violent deaths in war - from hunger, disease and the collapse of infrastructure - almost invariably exceeds the number of violent deaths. If every leader and every media magnate could be forced to read this seminal book we might make some progress towards a conflict-free world.' Phillip Knightley, author of The First Casualty, a history of war reporting and propaganda 'Stealth Conflicts is a provocative and well-informed examination of why the world actively ignores many of the deadliest conflicts of the last half-century. The book is less of an indictment and more of a necessary critical investigation into why policy-makers, as well as the media, the general public, NGOs, and academia marginalize most of the world's worst wars. A must-read for anyone concerned with conflict and peace-making in the 21st century.' Kevin C. Dunn, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA