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On the Causes of War$
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Hidemi Suganami

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198273387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198273387.001.0001

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(p.43) 2 Prerequisites
On the Causes of War

Hidemi Suganami

Oxford University Press

The conditions that must be present for wars to occur may be called ‘prerequisites’ or ‘necessary conditions’ of war. 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. This chapter examines two main ways of identifying a ‘necessary condition’, which it is important to distinguish at the outset. Kenneth Waltz argues that international anarchy’, or the fact that there is nothing in the international system to prevent war, is ‘the permissive cause’ of war. There are also a few things about human nature that constitute necessary conditions of war.

Keywords:   war, causes of war, Kenneth Waltz, international system, international anarchy, human nature, necessary conditions, prerequisites

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