Why States Go to War

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Why States Go to War Scholars, psychologists and historians have studied many ideas and theories to determine why states go to war, why conflicts exist between nations. The causes of war have been broken down into three different perspectives: the international system, the nation-state, and the individual as a decision-maker. Each perspective provides a different view of why nations go to war. To have a better understanding of each view, we will examine the Vietnam War. We will also learn why Vietnam occurred, and why Americans decided to escalate the war. Conflicts exist because two states or countries feel threatened by another state. Before providing an explanation of the different views, lets grasp a better understanding of the word "state". Often states are interchanged with the word nation. Nation can have two meanings, that as a community with its own territory and government, and those people who share common characteristics, such as a common language, a common custom, and a common tradition. "It was believed that each nation should have its own state, each state should comprise one and only one nation." (Ziegler, 107) But many states today do not resemble the ideal nation-state, for they contain many nationalities. But still this does not define the word "state". States, what can be classified as a state? A state must meet three criteria. First it must be an association of people. Second the state must demonstrate organization. It must be politically stable, effective in decision-making, and have the support of the citizens of that state. A government is a prime example of states acting as a whole. Thirdly, the most important criteria, boundaries of a state must be defined. In 1952 sovereignty was invented and i... ... middle of paper ... ...ntentions and capabilities of the communists would have been known. No spies to be sent, not theories to be established or perspectives to be evaluated. The building of arms and strength of the opposing military could be monitored more easily. The horrible decision to escalate into the Vietnam War may have been avoided. As we sum up the causes of war, one can only see them as excuses for rationalizing the killing of own kind. The lack of world sovereignty, the presence of a nation-state and human nature of individuals can be studied, revised and studied again. But one situation remains clear. War sucks. The Vietnam War will be remembered by the families of the soldier who died and by the individuals who experience the war first hand. This war might have been avoided if a world government had been developed and foreign policy established. But one will never know.

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