The Steps to War calls into question certain prevailing realist beliefs, like peace through strength, demonstrating how threatening to use force and engaging in power politics is more likely to lead to war than to peace.
The recent increase in the quantitative study of rivalry has largely identified who the rivals are, but not how they form and escalate. Questions about the escalation of rivalry are important if we are to understand the nature of conflictual interactions. This book addresses an important research gap in the field by directly tackling the question of rivalry formation. In addition to making new contributions to the literature, this book will summarize a cohesive model of how all interstate rivalries form by using both quantitative and qualitative methods and sources.
The book is divided into three parts, presenting first some recent contributions to the work on the causes of international conflict, set in the context of realist theories. The second part addresses issues relating to data, methods and cases used to analyze international conflict, while the third part presents some examples of the use of a variety of different methods to answer questions relating to issues which engage international relations scholars today. The chapters focus on a variety of pertinent topics, and include discussions of important innovations in our ability to analyze conflict, such as the introduction of the Militarized Interstate Dispute (MID) data.