How Conflicts Are Handled in Reality (Not in Hollywood)

By Faktorovich, Anna | Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Summer 2019 | Go to article overview

How Conflicts Are Handled in Reality (Not in Hollywood)


Faktorovich, Anna, Pennsylvania Literary Journal


How Conflicts Are Handled in Reality (Not in Hollywood) J. Michael Greig, Andrew P. Owsiak and Paul F. Diehl. International Conflict Management. 242pp. ISBN: 978-1-509-530533. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2019.

There are too many examples in popular culture of films, television shows, novels and the like to utilize characters who attempt to manage international conflicts. A thriller might feature a muscle-man who stands between different state and national agencies to broker an agreement that focuses on solving the crime at hand. In other stories, these heroes go abroad to negotiate a kidnapper's ransom request, or to talk about sanctions with a warlord. The tactics utilized in popular culture seem cartoonish, as the lone-tough-guy would hardly be effective in a realistic situation. Thus, writers who compose these fictions, literary scholars who write about such thrillers, as well as those interested in joining the actual process of dispute resolution can benefit from a study like this one. And America's politicians definitely need a refresher on these techniques, especially the chapters on sanctions and intervention, given the current clashes with China, the Middle East and Russia that have been escalating under a president without diplomatic tact advised in these pages.

"With many interstate and civil disputes experiencing no thirdparty attempts at conflict management, how can the international community mitigate the effects of and ultimately end such violence? Why, in so many cases, are early, 'golden opportunities' for conflict management missed?" This is a set of "varied approaches and factors that promote the de-escalation and the peaceful management of conflict across the globe-from negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication to peace operations, sanctions, and military or humanitarian intervention. The history, characteristics and agents of each approach are examined in depth, using a wide range of case studies to illustrate successes and failures on the ground. …

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