Modern International Conflicts and the Risk of Democratic Backsliding; Assistant Professor and Fellow Dani Belo, PhD

The presentation focuses on the ethical dimensions of modern international conflicts in which all aspects of society have become the battlefield. The modern format of international conflicts, called ‘gray zone’ conflicts, rarely involve direct military-to-military confrontation. Rather, contemporary conflicts can generally be characterized as low-intensity, perpetual hostilities that involve governments, civil society, and individuals. The media, cyberspace, educational institutions, and local organizations have become an inseparable part of the global great power competition. Illiberal regimes such as China and Russia have used these as platforms to proliferate their political interests into liberal democracies like the United States. This raises the question of how can the United States, and other democracies, counter these authoritarian influences without resorting to ‘democratic backsliding,’ for example through censorship.

Dani Belo is a teacher and scholar of international relations specializing in conflict management, diplomacy, and international security. He is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, USA, and a Fellow and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. Dani’s research focuses on gray zone conflict management, grand strategy and foreign policy, armed and unarmed interventions in fragile ethnically-divided societies, the impact of foreign policy crises on decision-making, causes of ethnic-based mobilization, as well an analysis of non-state actors’ role in hybrid warfare.


Unedited Video