Causes of War: Systemic vs. Domestic

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The purpose of this essay is to inform on the similarities and differences between systemic and domestic causes of war. According to World Politics by Jeffry Frieden, David Lake, and Kenneth Schultz, systemic causes deal with states that are unitary actors and their interactions with one another. It can deal with a state’s position within international organizations and also their relationships with other states. In contract, domestic causes of war pertain specifically to what goes on internally and factors within a state that may lead to war. Wars that occur between two or more states due to systemic and domestic causes are referred to as interstate wars. Almost every state on Earth desires peace, so why do countries go to war so often? Between World War I and World War II alone, there were an estimated 81 million casualties (Primary Megadeaths). Each state has different values and desires and many are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure those values remain in their state as well as spread to others. War results in a failure of states to successfully bargain with one another. The most common reason for wars to occur is territorial control. Of the 155 wars in the past three centuries, 83 of them dealt with territory (Holsti). Adding more territory will often add more wealth to the state. One way it can do that is by providing goods, resources, or industries that a state needs, such as oil or minerals. Iran and Iraq fought a war from 1980-1988 partially because Iraq sought to take control of Iran’s southern oil fields, according to World Politics. Military strategy can also play a role in why states seek new territories. Finally, states can be interested in territory for ethnic, cultural, or historical reasons. A prime ex... ... middle of paper ... ...nt variables. It can deal with the interests within a country and interests out of it. It can occur due to ideological differences or religious differences. It can occur due to a power grab, and in the cases of a failed brinkmanship, can be a complete accident. Each war throughout history has its own unique set of reasoning for occurring, which makes studying the causation of war so fascinating: in every war you study, you are guaranteed to find so many unique characteristics that it possesses. Works Cited Holsti, K. J. Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order, 1648-1989. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991. Print. Frieden, Jeffry A., David A. Lake, and Kenneth A. Schultz. World Politics. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2013. Print. "Primary Megadeaths of the Twentieth Century." Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls. Necrometrics. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

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