Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War

Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War

by Richard Ned Lebow
Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press


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Why Nations Fight: Past and Future Motives for War

Four generic motives have historically led states to initiate war: fear, interest, standing, and revenge. Using an original data set, Richard Ned Lebow examines the distribution of wars across three and a half centuries and argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, only a minority of these were motivated by security or material interest. Instead, the majority are the result of a quest for standing, and for revenge - an attempt to get even with states who had previously made successful territorial grabs. Lebow maintains that today none of these motives are effectively served by war - it is increasingly counterproductive - and that there is growing recognition of this political reality. His analysis allows for more fine-grained and persuasive forecasts about the future of war as well as highlighting areas of uncertainty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521170451
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/30/2010
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 318
Sales rank: 755,538
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Richard Ned Lebow is James O. Freedman Presidential Professor at Dartmouth College and Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Among other books, he is the author of A Cultural Theory of International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2008) which won the 2009 American Political Science Association Jervis and Schroeder Award for the Best Book on International History and Politics as well as the British International Studies Association Susan Strange Book Prize for the Best Book in International Studies, and The Tragic Vision of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2003) which won the 2005 Alexander George Book Award of the International Society for Political Psychology.

Table of Contents

List of figures viii

List of tables ix

Preface and acknowledgments xi

Part I Introduction 1

1 Introduction 3

2 Theories of war 23

Part II War in the past 63

3 Theory and propositions 65

4 Data set and findings 97

Part III War in the future 129

5 Interest and security 131

6 Standing and revenge 171

Part IV Conclusion 195

7 Conclusion 197

Appendix: Data set 227

Bibliography 248

Index 288

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