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(p. 52) 3. Strategic Theory 

(p. 52) 3. Strategic Theory
(p. 52) 3. Strategic Theory

Thomas G. Mahnken

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date: 08 July 2020

This chapter examines a range of theories that explain why wars occur and how these various explanations of war give rise to different requirements or conditions for peace. It first considers the difficulties involved in studying war before discussing the immediate and underlying causes of war. It then explores explanations of war based on human nature and instinct, along with psychological theories that emphasize misperception and frustration as causes of aggression. It also analyses the ideas of those who find the causes of war in human collectives — states, tribes, and ethnic groups — and those who favour ‘systemic’ rather than ‘unit’ explanations. Finally, it looks at the debate between ‘greed’ and ‘grievance’ as a cause of civil wars as well as wars that occur ‘within’ and ‘beyond’ states.

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