Causes of Conflict Analysis: War is the costliest human endeavor:
Causes of Conflict Analysis: War is the costliest human endeavor: costly in terms of money, suffering, and death; or “blood and treasure” according to a common phrase. Given the costs of wars, why do they begin? The study of the causes of war and international conflict is one of the oldest and most central concerns of international relations. Yet there is still little agreement about why wars break out. There are, however, several theories. As with most theories in IR, accounts of the causes of war and conflict can be traced back to the central paradigms of the discipline, including realism, liberalism, and economic structuralism, among others. Among the most studied of recent wars and conflicts are (1) WW1, (2) WW2, and (3) the Cold War and its various proxy-wars, including (4) the US-Korea War, (5) the US-Vietnam War, and (6) the Soviet Union-Afghanistan War; among the most studied of post-Cold War or post-Soviet era wars and conflicts are (7) the Russia-Chechnya Wars, (8) the Persian Gulf War, (9) the US-Afghanistan War, (10) the Second US-Iraq War; among the most studied of prominent regional conflicts are those between (11) India and Pakistan, (12) Israel and Palestine, (13) China and Taiwan, and (14) Russia and Ukraine, and (15) China and India. Requirements: To complete this assignment, you will need the following: Access to the internet; A word processor, such as Microsoft Word, to type-up the paper assignment; The paper should take you at least five-hours to research and write; so do not leave it until the last day! Resources: The paper assignment will make use of several resources: Academic articles: search for articles about the conflict that you have chosen in academic journals, especially IR journals. The college library may not subscribe to every IR journal, so be sure to ask a librarian if you need help. Encyclopedias: use an online-encyclopedia such as Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Encyclopedia.com, History.com and Wikipedia to start your research (note: because they are not peer-reviewed, you cannot cite History.com or Wikipedia in an academic paper; however, often the “Citations,” and/or “References,” segments of their articles contain many sources that are acceptable for an academic paper: for example, take a look at the Citations, References, and External Links segments for the Wikipedia article on the Korean War). Newspaper and Magazines: you can search through the college library’s Database for articles about your war; don’t hesitate to ask a librarian if you need help. Books: while you might not have time to read an entire book about the conflict you have chosen, you may be able to find a chapter or segment in a book that you can use; so get to know the college library’s catalog of books, and then be sure to use the book’s “Table of Contents” and
“Index” sections to narrow your search. Once again, don’t hesitate to ask a librarian if you need help. Also, you may be able to find a short book about your conflict, such a book from the Oxford University Press “Very Short Introduction” series; for example, the series features books on World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and a book on Korea, which has several chapters on the Korean War. Instructions: Choose one of the above-mentioned recent or ongoing wars or international conflicts to research and analyze (if you would like to research a
different conflict you must first get my approval). Write a five-paragraph paper (6 to 7 pages long) analyzing the causes of the war or conflict that you have chosen. Your analysis must have a literature review (paragraph 2), an account of the cause of the conflict that you find most convincing (paragraphs 3), a consideration of possible counter-arguments to the cause that you believe to be best (paragraph 4). Your paper should also include an introduction with a thesis statement (paragraph 1) and a conclusion(paragraph 5). Be sure to follow all of the paragraph-by-paragraph directions listed below: INTRODUCTION (paragraph 1): your introduction must have the following: A brief introduction of the war or conflict that you have chosen, the main belligerents, and a brief timeline of the conflict. A brief list of the competing accounts of the causes of the war or conflict. Thesis statement: a one or two sentence statement summarizing which of the accounts of the causes of the war you find most convincing and why. An outline of the paper. LITERATURE REVIEW (paragraph 2): your second paragraph must have the following: A brief
summary of the competing accounts of the causes of the war or conflict. An account of the theories in international relations used by each. An account of the paradigm in IR that each connects to, and how it does so. BEST EXPLANATION (paragraph 3): your third paragraph must have the following: A detailed description of the explanation of the cause of the war or conflict that you find most convincing. An explanation of why you find this account most convincing; provide scholarly evidence that supports your position; be sure to cite the sources. COUNTER-
ARGUMENTS (paragraph 4): your fourth paragraph must have the following: A detailed account of one or two of the alternative explanations for the war or conflict that you mentioned in the literature review. An explanation of why this or these accounts disagree with the explanation that you find most convincing. CONCLUSION (paragraph 5): your sixth paragraph must have the following: A restatement of your thesis. Some general considerations of the causes of war: what does this conflict and attempts to explain the conflict teach us about the causes of war.