2
PREREQUISITES

Rousseau's answer is really that war occurs because there is nothing to prevent it.

( Waltz 1959: 188)

The results just reported strongly support the proposition that positive expected utility is necessary--though not sufficient--for a leader to initiate a serious international dispute, including a war.

( Bueno de Mesquita 1981: 129)

THE first of our three questions regarding the causes of war concerns those conditions which must be present for war to occur. These conditions may be called 'prerequisites' or 'necessary conditions' of war--not of any particular war, but of war as such, and hence of any war, and therefore of all wars.

If such conditions do exist, we may be able to identify them, and perhaps even remove them. It is in the nature of necessary conditions of war that, if we were to have succeeded in removing any one of them, we would necessarily have eliminated all future wars. The absence of any one of them would veto the very possibility of war. It is therefore such conditions that the seekers of world peace would wish ideally to be able to identify. At the very least, it is worth considering whether or not such conditions exist.

There are, however, two main ways of identifying a 'necessary condition', which it is important to distinguish at the outset. A couple of examples will illustrate the basic distinction.

Suppose I have been invited to give a paper at a conference. Unless I have written a paper, or someone has written one for me, and, in any case, unless I am in possession of a paper, I will not be able to give one at the conference. Having my paper ready, therefore, is a necessary condition for my presenting it.

Suppose at the conference I became seriously distressed about the reception of the paper. In an exaggerated gesture of self-pity, I might decide to burn the remaining copies. Clearly, if oxygen

-43-

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On the Causes of War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Questions 11
  • 2 - Prerequisites 43
  • Conclusion 77
  • 3 - Correlates 80
  • Conclusion 112
  • 4 - Causation 114
  • Conclusion 150
  • 5 - Origins 153
  • Conclusion 195
  • Conclusion 199
  • References 211
  • Index 231
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