Day By Day

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Peace on Earth

StrategyPage surveys the world of conflict and notes that the trend toward a more peaceful world that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, continues apace.

January 1, 2009: Violence continues to decline worldwide. Oddly enough, the most bloody conflicts (like Congo) get the least media coverage. Reporting tends to be distorted by the need to attract eyeballs, and revenue. For years, Iraq was portrayed as a disaster until, suddenly, the enemy was crushed. Even that was not considered exciting enough to warrant much attention, and that story is still poorly covered by the mass media. Same pattern is playing out in Afghanistan, where the defeats of the Taliban, and triumph of the drug gangs, go unreported and distorted.

Worldwide, violence continues to decline, as it has for the last few years. Violence has also greatly diminished, or disappeared completely, in places like Iraq, Nepal, Chechnya, Congo, Indonesia and Burundi. Even Afghanistan, touted as the new war zone, was not nearly as violent this past six months as the headlines would deceive you into believing.

Read it here.

Most of the public is unaware of this long-term trend toward peace, but it is real and has been studied extensively. There is little consensus, though, on why it is happening. StrategyPage, like many others, attributes it to the end of the Soviet Union's malign influence in the world; the United Nations attributes it to the benign machinations of international organizations; neocons claim that it is the result of expanded American influence. The only point of agreement is that the end of the Cold War initiated a long term trend toward a more peaceful world.

And why doesn't the public understand this? StrategyPage points to the obvious -- the media doesn't report on it because good news is no news. There may, however, be more to it than that. In these ideologically polarized times there are plenty of people outside the media who have a vested interest in promoting the idea of continuing military crisis.