The characteristics of individual states, the strategic interaction of multiple states, and the broad structure of the international system all affect the risk of war. Throughout the book Sobek draws on a wide range of examples from the rise of Japan in the 19th century to the emergence of Hamas in the 21st century to show how both domestic and international politics push states to, or pull them from, the brink of armed conflict. While civil war and terrorism are often viewed as a from of violence distinct from interstate war, Sobek examines them as simply an extreme form of asymmetric warfare. From this perspective terrorism emerges as just another tactic used by actors engaged in armed conflict.
The Causes of War will be essential reading for students of security and strategic studies as well as anyone seeking to understand the rise of violent conflict in the contemporary world.
Section I: The Behavior of States.
Chapter 1: The Power of States.
Chapter 2: Liberal Pacifism.
Section II: The Interaction of States.
Chapter 3: The Balance of Power.
Chapter 4: The Democratic Peace.
Chapter 5: Trade and Peace.
Section III: The International System.
Chapter 6: The Systemic Distribution of Power.
Chapter 7: The Rise and Fall of States.
Section IV: Changes and Conclusion.
Chapter 8: Conflict with Non–State Actors.
Chapter 9: Conclusion.