An Introduction to the Causes of War: Patterns of Interstate Conflict from World War I to Iraq

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Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 - Political Science - 423 pages
This pioneering book explains the causes of war through a sustained combination of theoretical insights and detailed case studies. Using the major theories of international conflict as a guide to examine contemporary examples of the outbreak of war, Cashman and Robinson find that while all wars have multiple causes, these factors typically combine in identifiable "dangerous patterns." In assessing and comparing these patterns, this is the only undergraduate text to systematically join detailed case studies to the theories and empirical research carried out by political scientists on the causes of war. Through the examples of World War I, World War II in the Pacific, the Six-Day War, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Iraq War of 2003, the authors uncover the complex multilevel processes by which disputes between countries evolve into bloody conflicts. They emphasize the importance of escalation through conflict spirals between rival countries. They also point out the links between war and territorial disputes, the underappreciated role of the domestic political environment (especially internal political instability), and the importance of crucial misperceptions by national leaders. The authors identify specific patterns in which disputes escalate: the "classic rivalry spiral," the "domestic instability spiral," and "complex spirals." They also find that wars between states of unequal power follow a starkly different pattern than wars between relative equals. Ideal for a range of courses in international relations, this focused text clearly explains theory and applies it to concrete examples in a way that allows students to fully understand the origins of war. Added Case Study: Ethiopian-Eritrean War

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World War I
World War II in the Pacific
The SixDay War
The IndoPakistani War of 1971
The IranIraq War
The Iraq War
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About the author (2007)

Greg Cashman is professor of political science at Salisbury University. Leonard C. Robinson is associate professor of political science at Salisbury University.

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