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Spectator-Sport War: The West and Contemporary Conflict

Colin McInnes
Spectator-Sport War: The West and Contemporary Conflict
ISBN: 978-1-62637-013-5
2002/187 pages/LC: 2001048641
"Raises important and provocative questions about the pattern of detachment in modern warfare that should stimulate lively discussion among scholars and policy makers alike."—Robert Mandel, Contemporary Securtiy Policy

"A fine work—interesting, provocative, and timely.... McInnes effectively captures the duality of concepts embodied in the decline in the likelihood of major war and the increasing likelihood of asymmetrical or what the author terms 'spectator-sport' wars.... Strongly recommended for anyone seeking to understand the future of warfare."—Choice


Following a century dominated by global conflict—and despite the unchanging nature of the human suffering it causes—the nature of war itself, argues Colin McInnes, has been transformed for the West. Spectator-Sport War considers the key developments that have led to this metamorphosis, ranging from new geopolitical relationships to new technological advances.

McInnes shows that, even in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States and the military action in Afghanistan, war has direct meaning for only a small minority in the West. It is no longer participatory for Western society as a whole; it is something removed, watched from afar. The far-reaching implications of this phenomenon, for both the military and the broader community, are explored in the final chapter of the book.


Colin McInnes is professor of international politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. His many publications on security and strategy include NATO's Changing Security Agenda and Hot War, Cold War: The British Army’s Way of Warfare.


  • Introduction.
  • Modern War and Total War.
  • The Obsolescence of Major War.
  • The Transformation of War.
  • Airpower and the Use of Force.
  • The Revolution in Military Affairs.
  • Spectator-Sport Warfare.