Causes of War
Power and the Roots of Conflict
What causes war? How can military conflicts best be prevented? In this book, Stephen Van Evera frames five conditions that increase the risk of interstate war: false optimism about the likely outcome of a war, a first-strike advantage, fluctuation in the relative power of states, circumstances that allow nations to parlay one conquest into another, and circumstances that make conquest easy.
According to Van Evera, all but one of these conditions—false optimism—rarely occur today, but policymakers often erroneously believe in their existence. He argues that these misperceptions are responsible for many modern wars, and explores both World Wars, the Korean War, and the 1967 Mideast War as test cases. Finally, he assesses the possibility of nuclear war by applying all five hypotheses to its potential onset. Van Evera's book demonstrates that ideas from the Realist paradigm can offer strong explanations for international conflict and valuable prescriptions for its control.
Stephen Van Evera
Stephen Van Evera is Ford International Professor in the Political Science Department at MIT.
Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science
"Stephen Van Evera's Guide to Methods makes an important contribution toward improving the use of case studies for theory development and testing in the social sciences. His trenchant and concise views on issues ranging from epistemology to specific...