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Conflict and War

Vol. 4
War, Power, Peace

By R.J. Rummel

Beverly Hills, California:
Sage Publications, 1979


Figures and Tables

Chapter 1. Perspective And Summary
1.1 Understanding War
1.2. Previous Research
1.3. On the Organization of this volume
1.4. Summary and Overview
Chapter 2. International Relations
Chapter 3. The International Actors
Chapter 4. International Behavior Space-Time
4.1. Meaning of Behavior: Acts, Actions, Practices, and Reflexes
4.2. Theoretical Components: Familistic, Contractual, and Antagonistic
4.3. Empirical Components: Structures of Expectations and Conflict Behavior
4.4. Higher Order Structure and Process
4.5. Summary
4.6. A Terminological Note on Conflict and Cooperation
Chapter 5. International Expectations And Dispositions
5.1. Behavioral Dispositions
5.2. And Expectations
Chapter 6. International Actor And Situation
6.1. An Orientational Note
6.2. An Actor's Behavioral Situation
6.3. Situational Dispositions
6.4. The Behavioral Variation
6.5. Summary
Chapter 7. International Sociocultural Space-Time
7.1. Space-time Components
7.2. Distances and Situations
7.3. Summary
Chapter 8. Interests, Capabilities, And Wills
8.1. The Equation of Interests, Capabilities, and Will
8.2. And Behavioral Equation
8.3. Summary
Chapter 9. The Social Field Of International Relations
9.1. The Analytic Field
9.2. Empirical Field Forces and Situations
APPENDIX 9A. Empirical, Situational Disposition-Distance Linkages
9A. 1. Methods and Field Equations
9A.2. Aggregating Canonical Results
9A.3. Cooccurrence and Cosalience of Situational Distances and Dispositions
9A.4. The Most General Empirical Equations of Situational Distances and Dispositions
9A.5. The Most Commonly Shared Empirical Equations Among Groups of Actors
Chapter 10. Latent International Conflict
10. 1. Conflict Space
10.2. The Structure of Conflict
10.3. The Situation of Conflict
Chapter 11. International Conflict: Trigger, Will, And Preparations
11.1. The Trigger
11.2. The Situation of Uncertainty
11.3. Conflict Behavior Components
Chapter 12. The Balancing Of Power
12.1. Status Quo Testing
12.2. Coercion
12.3. Force
12.4. Noncoercive Balancing
12.5. Accommodations and Termination
12.6. Summary
Chapter 13. Comparative Dynamics Of International Conflict
13.1. Richard E. Barringer
13.2. F. S. Northedge and M. D. Donelan
13.3. Quincy Wright
13.4. Herman Kahn
13.5. Comparisons
Chapter 14. Introduction To Propositions And Evidence On International Conflict
14.1. Why Propositions?
14.2. The Approach
14.3. Sources of Evidence
14.4. Nature of the Evidence
14.5. The Quality of the Evidence
Chapter 15. Empirical Dynamics Of International Conflict
APPENDIX 15A. Phasing Propositions and Their Evidence on International Conflict
15A.1. Phasing Propositions
15A.2. Overall Conclusion
Chapter 16. Causes And Conditions Of International Conflict And War
16. 1. The Causes and Conditions
16.2. The Phase Map
16.3. Necessary and Sufficient Cause: Incongruent and Disrupted Expectations
16.4. Necessary Causes
16.5. Sufficient Causes: A Significant Change in the Balance of Powers
16.6. Aggravating Conditions
16.7. Inhibiting Conditions
16.8. Trigger Causes
16.9. The Causes of War

APPENDIX 16A. On Causes of International Conflict
APPENDIX 16B. Propositions and Their Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of International Conflict Behavior
16B.1. Introduction
16B.2. Propositions, Evidence, and Evaluation
16B.3. Overall Conclusions
APPENDIX 16C. Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of International Conflict Behavior
16C.1. Predicting the Quantitative Form of the Evidence
16C.2. Selection Criteria and Evidence by Proposition
16C.3. Overall Evidence and Sources of Bias

Chapter 17. Ending Conflict And War: The Balance Of Powers
APPENDIX 17A. Propositions and Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of Ending International Conflict Behavior
17A.1. The Causes and Conditions
17A.2. The Propositions
17A.3. General Conclusion
Chapter 18. The International Conflict Helix
APPENDIX 18A. Descriptive Propositions on International Conflict
18A.1. Propositions
18A.2. Overall Conclusion
Chapter 19. Theoretical And Empirical Conclusions On Conflict And War
APPENDIX 19A. Overall Evidence on 54 Social Field Propositions on International Conflict
APPENDIX 19B. Primary Propositions on Social Conflict
Chapter 20. Principles Of Peace And Conflict
20.1. Psychological Principles
20.2. Interpersonal Principles
20.3. Social Principles
20.4. International Principles

APPENDIX I. Unpublished Research and Results on International Relations
I.1. Dimensions of Foreign Conflict Behavior
I.2. Dimensions of International Behavior
I.3. Dimensions of States
I.4. Testing Different Prediction Models of International Conflict
I.5. Testing Different Prediction Models of International Behavior
I.6. The Linkage of International Behavior to National Attributes and Distances
I.7. Miscellaneous

APPENDIX II. Event Data: Bases of Empirical Conflict Analysis
II.1. Event Data
II.2. The Science of Events
II.3. Sources: The Validity of Event Data
II.4. Coder Reliability
II.5. Coding Event Data

APPENDIX III. Characteristics of Published Quantitative International Relations Studies References


Table 1.1Technical Organization of This Volume
Table 4.1International Behavior Space-Time Components
Table 4.2International Behavior Space-Time Higher Order Components
Table 4.3The Relationship Between Behavioral Terms
Table 4.4Taxonomy of Conflict and Cooperation
Table 5.1The Equations of Expectations and Dispositions
Table 6.1The Behavioral Equation of Situational Expectations and Dispositions
Table 7.1Common Components of International Sociocultural Space-Time
Table 7.2The Wealth Component
Table 7.3The Power Component
Table 7.4The Political Components
Table 8.1The Behavioral Equations of Situational Expectations, Interests and Capabilities
Table 9A.1Description of the Canonical Analyses
Table 9A.2USSR Empirical Field Equations
Table 9A.3USSR Empirical Distance and Behavior Linkages
Table 9A.4Overall Distance and Behavior Linkages
Table 9A.5Behavioral Linkages by Distance Vector: Wealth, Power, and Politics
Table 9A.6Behavioral Linkages by Distance Vector: Cultural, Demographic, and Geographic
Table 9A.7Consolidated Linkages
Table 9A.8Most General Equations Linking Distances and Behavior
Table 9A.9Groups of Actors Showing Common Situations Involving Distances and Dispositions
Table 10.1The Latent Conflict Phase of the Conflict Helix
Table 11.1The Initiation Phase of the Conflict Helix: Phase II
Table 11.2Components of Conflict Behavior
Table 13.1Comparative Dynamics of Conflict Behavior
Table 14.1Important Dimensions of the Evidence
Table 15.1Patterns (Components) of Conflict
Table 15A.1Phasing Propositions on International Conflict
Table 15A.2Evidence on the Phasing Propositions on International Conflict
Table 15A.3Conflict Subphases and Conflict Events
Table 15A.4Breakdown of Evidence for Conflict Phases and Subphases
Table 15A.5Evidence: Subtotals and Totals
Table 15A.6Summary of Conclusions on the Phasing Propositions
Table 16A.1Causes and Conditions of International Conflict Behavior
Table 16B.1Propositions on the Causes and Conditions of Conflict Behavior
Table 16B.2Summary of Conclusions on the Causal Propositions
Table 16C.1Quantitative Requirements for the Evidence on the Propositions
Table 16C.2Measurements of Conflict Behavior
Table 16C.3Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of Conflict Behavior
Table 16C.4Evidence: Subtotals and Totals
Table 17A.1Causes and Conditions of Ending Conflict Behavior
Table 17A.2Propositions on the Causes and Conditions of Ending Conflict Behavior
Table 17A.3Evidence on the Causes and Conditions of Ending Conflict Behavior
Table 17A.4Evidence: Subtotals and Totals
Table 17A.5Summary of Conclusions on the Ending Propositions
Table 18A.1Descriptive Propositions on International Conflict
Table 18A.2Evidence on the Descriptive Propositions
Table 18A.3Evidence: Subtotals and Totals
Table 18A.4Summary of Conclusions on the Descriptive Propositions
Table 19A.1Summary of Evidence on 54 Field Propositions
Table 19A.2Summary Evaluations of 54 Field Propositions
Table 19B.1Previously Stated Propositions on International Relations
Table 19B.2Previously Stated Propositions on Social Conflict
Table 19B.3Primary Propositions on Conflict
Table 20.1Principles of Peace and Conflict
Table 20.2Bases and Related Propositions for the Principles of Conflict and Peace
Table II.1Selected Event Data, July 1, 1962, to June 30, 1963
Table II.2McClelland's World Event/Interaction Survey Categories
Table III Characteristics of Published Quantitative International Relations Studies


Figure 3.1 Types of States and Spheres of Autonomy
Figure 3.2 Scope of Relations between Libertarian and Totalitarian States
Figure 5.1Space-Time Paths for the Mutual Behavioral Dispositions of China, USSR, and United States, 1950-1965
Figure 5.2Soviet Expectations and Behavioral Dispositions Toward the U.S. in 1963
Figure 5.3A Partition of the Variation in Dyadic Behavior into Common Dispositions and Expectations
Figure 5.4The Common and Unique Regions of International Behavior Space-Time
Figure 6.1The Partition of the Variation in an Actor's Dyadic Behavior into Situational Dispositions and Expectations
Figure 6.2The Vector Equation of an Actor's Common Behavior, Dispositions, and Expectations
Figure 6.3An Actor's Behavioral Region in International Behavior Space-Time
Figure 7.1U.S. Situational Perceptions of China, and Totalitarian and Power Distances in 1960
Figure 8.1The Partition of the Variation in an Actor's Dyadic Behavior into that Due to Unique and Common Interests and Capabilities and Situation
Figure 8.2The Basic Equation of Social Field Theory Conceptually Defined
Figure 8.3The ' Regions of International Sociocultural Space-Time Generated by Distances
Figure 9A.1Canonical Equations Conceptually Interpreted in Terms of Social Field Theory
Figure 9A.2The Data Matrix of Canonical Coefficients Linking Dispositions and Distances
Figure 10.1The Conflict Helix (from Figure 29.1 of Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix)
Figure 12.1Dynamics of Conflict Behavior
Figure 13.1Barringer's Model
Figure 13.2Northedge and Donelan's Development of a Dispute
Figure 13.3Wright's Equation of Conflict Escalation
Figure 13.4Kahn's Escalation Ladder
Figure 13.5Kahn's Crisis Dynamics
Figure 13.6Comparative Conflict Dynamics
Figure 15.1The Relationship of Manifest Conflict Components to the Underlying Process of Conflict
Figure 16.1A Phase Map of Conflict
Figure 16.2Causes and Conditions of War
Figure 16A.1The Theoretical Causal Model of Conflict Behavior
Figure 16B.1Variation of Power with System Polarity
Figure 16B.2Curves of Violence and War with Decreasing Polarity
Figure 16C.1Distribution of Cases Around the Mean on the Conflict Variables
Figure 18.1The Conflict Helix as a Coil Moving Upward on a Path of Learning
Figure 18.2The Conflict Helix Uncoiled through Time
Figure 18.3The Shearing of the Conflict Helix


This volume is the consummation of theoretical and empirical research that began in the late 1950s. Many people therefore have contributed in diverse ways to this product since then. Where this help has been direct I have indicated this in my preliminary and foundation publications and reports. Moreover, both the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense have supported much of the basic research on which this volume is based, and have been previously acknowledged by grant and contract number in the appropriate work. However, research specific to this volume, its preparation and writing were unfunded.

Now, I simply want to express here my debt to those whose scholarly and scientific works have had the most intellectual influence on this volume and the effort underlying it: Alfred Adler, Yrjõ Ahmavaara, Raymond Cattell, Ralf Dahrendorf, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Will Durant, F. A. Hayek, Immanuel Kant, Ludwig von Mises, Karl Popper, Pitirim Sorokin, Paul Ushenko, and Quincy Wright.

Finally, I wish to thank the Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii, particularly Betty M. Strom, for typing this manuscript and its many tables. And, as for my previous publications, I continue to be indebted to my wife Grace for her careful editing, demands for clarity, and help in overcoming scientific pretensions.


Now tell us about the war,
And what they fought each other for.
----Robert Southey, The Battle of Blenheim


There have been about 350 wars of all kinds since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, which once and for all defeated Napoleon's lust for power. If this number fairly well represents the frequency of war in history, there have been nearly 13,600 wars since 3,600 B.C.1

The toll of human misery measures around 30,000,000 direct battle deaths since Waterloo and 1,000,000,000 since 3,600 B.C.1a Then there are the uncountable deaths, the broken bodies and lives from the ravages and effects of these wars.

Nor has war abated. Not with civilization. Not with education and literacy. Not with burgeoning international organizations and communications. Not with the swelling library of peace plans and antiwar literature. Not with the mushrooming antiwar movements and demonstrations. In the 25 years after World War II, for so many the war to create and insure peace for generations, some 97 internal and international wars occurred. Total deaths about equal those killed in World War II. On any single day during these 25 years slightly more than 10 internal or international wars were being fought somewhere.1b

Nor is war increasing. Although there are ups and downs in the intensity and scope of warfare, the historical trend is level: a little more than six major international wars per decade and 2,000,000 battle deaths. Around this trend there are at least three cycles of warfare, showing different peaks around every 10, 25, and 50 years.2

As I write [around 1978] there are wars between Ethiopia and Somalia, Vietnam and Cambodia, and Rhodesia and her Black African neighbors. Major internal wars fought with international involvement in the Western Sahara, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Laos, Angola, Zaire, and Chad. Guerrilla and civil wars with international support and aid in Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Burma, Namibia. And major wars may again erupt in Korea and in the Middle East; and Africa is becoming another arena for a new and dangerous U.S.-Soviet confrontation.

To note all these wars do not aid our understanding of such international violence, of course. They are simply interesting or depressing, like information in the Guinness Book of World Records. Understanding requires digging beneath the numbers to the how and why of each war: the personality and perceptions of leaders, the decision-making process, the environmental and cultural limits and forces, the political and social context, and the historical grievances.

But seeking such understanding is most difficult. Certainly, bias and personal judgment color one's view of a war. But so can the images and models of war we carry around in our head. Any grasp of a specific war, say the Korean War in 1950-1953, is a melding of two sources of understanding. One is an intimate knowledge and feel for the peculiarities of the war. The second is an image of war's general nature, causes, and conditions.

To apply such a general image, however, one must ask what in the specific war was common to other wars. Was it the military superiority of the aggressor? Was it an expressed, initial lack of interest in defending the victim by the status quo Big Power? Was it an aggressive ideology? Or common borders? Or sociocultural disparity? Or personality?

Then any general image of war begs the question. Is not war unique? Perhaps war is a peculiar conjunction of events and forces within a particular situation? Possibly insight into a war comes only from a deep, historical familiarity with the context and events.

After all, it is through an intimate, personal experience with our close friends and relatives, with all their virtues and vices, that enables us to see them as individuals and develop reliable expectations (predictions) of their behavior. But yet, we also find that for an understanding of those close to us we must push toward common elements. Certain common needs (hunger, sex), certain common interests (status, love), certain common psychological mechanisms (frustration, ego), certain social and cultural factors (peer-group pressure, cultural norms). Even in our closest relationships, understanding seems to presuppose a mixture of intimate personal knowledge and an insight into common causes, conditions, explanations, and so on.

Similarly with war. To understand a war or a situation in which war is likely is partly to know the war or situation intimately, of course. As historians, journalists, and diplomats do. But to understand also requires knowing what this war or situation has in common with other such wars or situations.

But like Chinese puzzle boxes, each contained in another, an analysis of wars' commonness creates problem upon problem nested inside each other. How do we define commonness? How do we determine such commonness beyond subjective impression and bias? Of what--wars, international conflict, all conflict--are we determining commonness? Indeed, how do we commonly define wars? As a legal condition, level of casualties, size of armies involved, or otherwise?

These problems are just the beginning. Is answering the above a matter of philosophy, history, or science? Is an empirical (operational) definition of commonness sufficient, or must we seek some essential commonness? Is it necessary also to seek a commonness among us all? In our relations? In our societies?

The problems get deeper. What indeed is an empirical approach to war and how valid is it? Where do values come into the study? What do we mean by a common cause or condition? Actually, what is the ontological reality of this commonness we seek? And so on. This small list of problems could be extended easily to fill a volume.

My professional career has involved working through these problems. My academic search for the causes of war began as a university undergraduate in the late 1950s and continued through my MA thesis, Ph.D. dissertation, and academic career.3

I first assumed that all these problems could be resolved by scientific methods and theory, particularly through an empirically tested mathematical theory of war. This, it seemed, would precisely define what was common to war, enable exact comparison and tests, and particularly permit sound predictions. And all the philosophical--the ontological, epistemological and ethical--questions were answered, I thought, by analytic philosophy, particularly logical positivism. My approach was simple: understanding war = explaining war = predicting war = well-tested mathematical theory.

Problems and solutions, however, get their meaning and substance within a perspective.4 Because my frame of reference had always been science (I did start college with a major in physics and did complete the requirements for a degree in mathematics by the time I got my MA in political science), I first approached the problems of understanding war as a theoretical (mathematical) scientist and logical positivist. Science was my religion. But as we get older and study more widely, as our experience expands and deepens, as our consciousness enlarges, we change. Our perspective become uncomfortable, out of alignment with our mentality, and subsequently "clicks" into a new view, more consistent with our learning and experience.

Thus, my search for an understanding of war began within a scientific perspective. But after many years this perspective simply did not provide the insight and understanding I sought, and eventually underwent several shifts. My view is now that this understanding of war requires the merging of three ways of defining truth.

One is that of "metaphysics," more correctly in this context, of metasociology. This is the understanding of the social philosopher. It is intuitive, insightful, imaginative, and of course, speculative.5 It is concerned with essence, with definition, with being, with concepts and categories. It is Aristotelian, Hegalian, and Kantian. And it gets to the core problems of war and peace.

However, while philosophy may provide a fundamental insight into war, how do we know this insight is really significant or correct? How do we discriminate between any person's opinion, a philosopher's bias, an apologist's ideology, and truth? We cannot. Not by intuition alone. Insight must be joined with a second way of understanding.

This is with experience. Quite simply, profound insights on war and peace must stand the test of history and events. Philosophic insight must be disciplined by facts. Speculations must be tested in real life.

To be sure, facts and experience cannot replace philosophy. Facts, events, history must be interpreted. We see reality through a framework--a paradigm that gives identity and meaning to experience. A fact in one view may not be so in another. Simply consider what are social and historical facts to a Catholic, Marxist and Liberal. Thus, facts require a philosophy. And philosophy requires facts. They are synergistic.

But, then, the history and events of war mix two kinds of experience. One is of the unique aspects of a war. The other is of those aspects common to all wars. Then, again, how do we define what is common? What is unique? This is where I admit empirical science. Quantitative methodologies in science have been devised to uncover commonalities in events, to reduce bias and subjectivity, and to test speculations and insight. Scientific methods order our experience in a way to carve away mistaken insights and establish an empirically sound understanding of war and peace.

Or so it would seem. But there are profound epistemological problems for both the philosophical and empirical partners in this marriage. Social philosophy is seldom precise enough to provide direction to scientific methods. Intuitive insight can state profundities like (imagine this delivered with Henry Kissinger's style and intonation): "War is fundamentally caused by misperception," or "Peace is a balance of power; war, its absence." And convey meaning and cause heads to nod. But empirically, how is perception defined? Or power, or balance? Or war or peace, for that matter? And what is the proof for these insights?

Moreover, and this may be less obvious, social philosophy is mainly concerned with categories and essence. These are often untestable by empirical science. They constitute the givens, the assumptions. They carve out the reality in which the empirical methods provide comparison and tests. If social philosophy asserts, for example, that "conflict is a balancing of powers," there is no way to test this. No explicit events to say it is right or wrong. It is a definition.6 Nor is there any way to test the essential characterization that "we are individuals." Yet, this characterization is my starting point for understanding war and peace.7

This untestable nature of much social philosophy is well known and maligned among positivists or behavioralists, many of whom therefore assert the superiority of empirical science in dealing with social problems. However, what some may not appreciate is that quantitative methods also are more or less subjective and arbitrary.

Science provides rigorous methods and precise techniques. True. But it does not provide the understanding needed to decide between methods, the insight to select the proper techniques, the intuition to use the best rules of thumb in using a technique, and the imagination to put all these aspects of science together in a creative research design. Understanding, insight, intuition, and imagination must also, therefore, play a role in empirical science.

I will restrain myself with one example. The correlation coefficient (on which see my Understanding Correlation) seems precise. It gives an exact numerical measurement of the correlation between, say, a state's size and its wars. But consider. There are different ways of measuring size and wars and each could give a quite different correlation; the data, however measured, could be over months, years, or decades; or over states, pairs of states, or systems. Again possibly different results. More important than these obvious operational problems, is that of the correlation itself. Which of a dozen or more ways of calculating a correlation coefficient (product moment, phi, rank, tetrachoric, intraclass, and so on.) does one select? Does one transform data beforehand? Adjust the correlation for random error? And then, how does one evaluate the significance of whatever correlation coefficient is calculated? At what level of significance? What variance? And so on.

Behavioralists often mislead themselves and others, as I did at the beginning of my research on war. Empirical science is a rudderless ship without the command and direction given by insight and understanding. A perspective on war and peace which provides definitions, categories, and insight helps navigate empirical science.

Yet, as mentioned, although philosophy can give the command and direction it is not precise enough to draw the navigation charts. An integrative third way to truth is still needed. This is analytic theory.

A philosophy of humanity and war and peace can be given rigor through analytic theory in the sense that a beautiful landscape can be represented on canvas by a selective mixture of colors and lines, a very personal feeling can be partially captured by a word or phrase, or the essence of a complex political situation can be characterized by a cartoonist. That is, analytic (logically or mathematically rigorous)8 theory captures the structure, the main lines, of a philosophical view, and fits it into a logically articulated whole from which assertions about reality may be made.

Analytic theory adds precision, rigor, and inner consistency to a philosophical perspective, and becomes a rational framework and a precise navigational chart for empirical science. For analytic theory provides the precision to philosophy which can dictate the proper empirical methods, techniques, and operational decisions. And define what will prove or disprove the theory.

Of course, analytic theory by itself is defective, which those who push analytic models like game theory, systems theory, or mathematical communications theory may not always realize. On the philosophical side such models lose much of the richness of understanding provided by great insight and wisdom--the feel for the nature of war and peace developed by, say, Hans Morgenthau, Quincy Wright, and Raymond Aron. Well informed insight and intuition help in constructing good analytic theory, but analytic rigor by itself cannot replace such understanding.

Moreover, such theories must be tested and substantiated before they and their implications can at all be accepted. Anyone with some logical or mathematical training can construct an analytic theory (or model) during lunch. But the most intellectually difficult task is to construct an analytic theory which well represents the philosophical essence of war and peace and can be confirmed by empirical science.

In sum, then, the way of determining the common aspects of war and peace is through social philosophy, analytic theory, and empirical science. But not as separate ways heaping disparate elements together. Rather as a whole which combines them in some unified picture of ourselves, society, conflict, war, peace. In the final analysis, then, the epistemological problem is to artfully paint such a picture. One which will be a communication between our intuition, reason, and experience.

Fortunately, my growing realization of the limits of science and the need for social philosophy and traditional scholarship in understanding war did not cancel out my previous research. Its theory and results were still valuable, but their interpretation was broadened and given a different context.9 Much of this early work is integrated here, but anyone comparing something I wrote, say in 1965,10 with this book, Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace, will see that the approach and interpretation have altered radically.

At this point, therefore, a review of this research and its relationship to this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace should be useful.


In one way or another, remotely or directly, all my graduate and professional research has been on the problem of understanding war. This has been my single, superordinate passion, regardless of my change in perspective on truth or in political views.11 Thus, my research over the past 20 years has been accumulative, fitting in various pieces, testing various techniques, establishing certain propositions about war and its context. This volume is the consummation of this work, the integrative (hopefully) volume on the subject of understanding war, the conflict out of which it grows, and peace.

This research followed a number of distinct but related lines. One line involved formal work in international relations, which I discovered as an undergraduate was a field of study through which I could focus on war and peace. All my academic study through to a Ph.D. at Northwestern University (in 1963) concentrated on the foundations of international relations, and I have taught various courses on it since.

A second line of research focused on theory, especially the more analytic theories, such as systems theory, game theory, and the formal theories of Boulding (1962), Coleman (1964), Rashevsky (1947, 1951), L, Richardson (1960, and Wright (1955: Chapter 32). Although insightful and helpful in the context within which they were developed, none of these seemed adequate theories of or approaches to war. Learning from such work, however, I then tried to develop my own theoretical approach, which I published in 1965 as "A Field Theory of Social Action." This was meant to be a very general, mathematical theory of social relations, and applicable to international relations in a way to fit war and its causes into a larger social context.

I saw war theoretically as a type of behavior relative to other international behavior within a field of states, and as a consequence of diverse field forces reflected in the relative social, economic, political, culture, and geographic distances between states. The theoretical equation was simple: conflict or war between states equals (is a resolution of) the sum of their weighted vector distances (forces). This equation, much elaborated and clarified, still forms a basic equation of this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace.

I continued this theoretical effort throughout the years, trying in various ways to improve on it and incorporate into it competing theories. These efforts have been published in my Field Theory Evolving (1977).

A third line of research involved appropriate methods for operationalizing and testing a theory of war and generating empirical concepts that could be incorporated in such a theory. Multivariate methods seemed most appropriate in this regard, especially factor analysis. The fruits of this methodological research and work on factor analysis (along with empirical findings) was published in my Applied Factor Analysis (1970--summarized in "Understanding Factor Analysis"). Through this book I hoped to stimulate others to employ such systematic research to understanding war and to provide for reference a central publication elaborating the basic methodologies I was using.

A fourth line was strictly empirical. Before 1965 I carried out quantitative empirical analyses (1963, 1963a, 1966a, 1972)12 in order to generate findings and concepts that could subsequently inform my attempt to develop a theory of war.13 And after such a theory was first sketched in 1965, I then directed this empirical effort to operationalizing concepts in the theory, as published in National Attributes and Behavior (1978); and testing the theory, as published in Field Theory Evolving (1977).

A fifth line involved understanding human interaction, society, and conflict. Along with my formal work in international relations I had also studied analytic philosophy and the social sciences. But as I focused on the scientific approach, especially on operationalizing and testing field theory, I had little time to spare for indirectly related research or reading.

However, as I began to shift my perspective to one recognizing the value of social philosophy for understanding war I made such study a central part of my research. The result of this was, Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field,14 (for philosophical and psychological foundations), Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (for sociological and cultural foundations, and an understanding of conflict generally), and Vol. 3: Conflict In Perspective (for competing theories of conflict).

These five lines of research (international relations; theory; methodologies; empirical analysis; and human interaction, society, and conflict) come together in this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace. But there is a sixth line of research not reflected here, no doubt perplexing to my colleagues in peace research, and which will be part of Vol. 5: The Just Peace. That concerns the implications of all this for eliminating or controlling war generally, and particularly, the related ethics or principles of social justice.15

I am not seeking to understand war out of scientific curiosity. I am devoted to ending war. I was a pacifist in my youth and my life since has been an inner struggle between the hatred of war and the reality of contending interests and powers, aggrandizing leaders and states, and of aggressive antidemocratic and totalitarian ideologies. I simply cannot confront the reality of Hitler's cold-blooded execution of six million Jews and accept the pacifist argument that no war is justified. Nor can I similarly accept the enslavement of tens of millions by communist leaders and their wanton extermination of many more millions than even Hitler killed. Nor can I argue that the risk of war is totally unacceptable and that we should unilaterally disarm, leaving ourselves and the rest of the world vulnerable to similar enslavement. The problem as I see it in the world of 1978 is how to minimize the risk of war, especially nuclear war, and still protect what freedoms we have against aggressive totalitarianism

Accordingly, when in 1975 my empirical research for this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace was completed16 it seemed that our foreign and defense policies were the opposite of that which would preserve nuclear peace with freedom. I was convinced that the results showed the foreign policy of détente to be based on false premises about international relations and conflict; and that this policy and associated adverse military trends were in fact increasing the likelihood of war. And time then seemed critical and still does.

Rather than wait until this volume was finished, therefore, on the basis of the empirical results then available and some additional analysis of the military balance, I wrote the warning, Peace Endangered: The Reality of Détente (1976a), for the general public. The results that I have accumulated since are presented here17 even more confirm my view of our danger in the late 1970s.

Those who quantitatively study war and peace are usually quite dovish18 on questions of U.S.-Soviet relations, if not, as among many European peace researchers, downright hostile to any hint of anticommunism or militarism. This community has received my apostasy with less than open arms and to some even my more scientific writing in this area are right-wing "diatribes."19

In any case, this volume presents the premises and evidence for these applied conclusions on détente in as rigorously objective, scholarly, and scientific manner as I could make them. All evidence I could find has been included. Data and cases have been analyzed regardless of region, time, or source. The most objective methods have been used. I have searched the available systematic literature for additional evidence on one side or the other. The results have been given or referenced so that they may be tested or assessed by others, whether from the left or right.


The attempt to merge social philosophy, analytic theory, and empirical analysis in this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace has created a number of organizational problems, especially because I am writing for a diverse audience of interested laymen, concerned professionals, and quantitative analysts. This creates a dynamic tension between understandability and technical arguments, between explanations and supporting data and evidence. And this tension changes from chapter to chapter, part to part. My guiding organizational principle has been to make everything as clear as possible to the layman, and if technical material is presented, to rephrase this in nontechnical terms. Therefore, even the most technical sections will have paragraphs of descriptions or explanations in what, I hope, is plain English.

With this in mind, the conceptual and technical organization is linear: each chapter more or less depends on and assumes the previous chapters, with the technical material interspersed among the chapters. This made dividing the volume into technical and nontechnical halves impractical. Therefore, I followed a compromise course. Wherever possible, I have put the technical or systematic material in a chapter's appendix or footnote, with this material restated in nontechnical terms in the body of the chapter.

This is not entirely satisfactory and has led to some repetition. Moreover, some chapters (like Chapter 5 and Chapter 6) were so integrated that I could not segregate the technical without seriously weakening the presentation.

Table 1.1 may be helpful in guiding the reader. For those with little technical background, it would still be helpful to skim the more technical chapters because, as mentioned, the results and arguments often are restated in nontechnical terms.

There is much packed in this and previous volumes. In order to pull out clearly and concisely what I see as essential I have used five approaches.

One is to reduce the empirical conclusions on international conflict, violence, and war to 54 explicit propositions on their phases, causes and conditions, end, and nature. These are given in the appendices of Chapters 15, 16, 17, and 18.

A second approach is to further abstract from Volumes 1-4 the most general empirical propositions on social conflict (of which international conflict and war are subtypes). These are presented in Chapter 19.

A third approach is to distill from these volumes major principles20 of ourselves, interpersonal relations, society, and international relations that bear on peace, conflict, violence, and war. These constitute the concluding Chapter 20. As a nontechnical propositional overview, Chapter 19 and Chapter 20 might be read first.

A fourth approach is to provide a summary outline of the major points and conclusions of each chapter. This is in the following section, below.

And a fifth approach is to rewrite Volumes 1-4 in entirely nontechnical language for the layman, and introductory undergraduate classes in social conflict and war. This writing is now underway and the result may be published as In the Minds of Men (tentative title) in late 1979 or early 1980.21

In the original outlines of this Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field had planned to apply the principles and propositions developed here to analyze several historical and contemporary wars. This would exemplify the value of these results and provide, I felt, another way of concretely understanding their meaning. However, page limitations have forced me to postpone this "historical reconstruction" until the completion of Vol. 5: The Just Peace.22

Because of the omission of such case studies this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace deals almost entirely at the abstract and general level. My primary concern here is to understand war in terms of its common aspects. I am after generalizations. Thus, specific events, conflicts, crises, engagements, and war are data points. Characteristics, personalities, trends, forces, and the like are variables. My question is: What is it about any particular conflict or war that is common to other conflicts or wars? Specifically, what are the common phases, causes and conditions, ending, and aspects of international conflict? And I try to answer this through a synthesis of philosophy, theory, and empirical analysis.

Finally, this work and supporting Volumes 1-3 are certainly not definitive, but at most simply another scholarly and scientific step towards a socially significant irenology--a science of peace. Perhaps no one can see better than I that this volume raises a host of new questions, new problems, new directions.

I do not pretend to have established any final answers. Truth emerges from the balancing of multiple facts, perspectives, approaches, and interpretations. What is presented here is no more than a few more pieces fitted together in the puzzle of war and peace. My hope is that this volume will challenge other scholars and scientists whose critical evaluation, checking, testing, and reformulation will eventually evolve into a perspective that will give us all the foundation for understanding war and peace in a way to better humanity.

Now, here are my truths. Be at them.

For if they withstand your onslaught, or if you prove them wrong, we shall all gain.

And I will cheer you.


Two concluding summaries are given at the end of the volume. One in terms of propositions (Chapter 19) and the other in terms of principles (Chapter 20). Here I will outline the major points and ideas that lead up to them, and then concisely abridge both the propositions and principles.

On International Relations

International conflict and war occur within a dynamic field we call international relations. In the opening, substantive Chapter 2, I therefore first consider the nature of international relations and conclude the following:

  • International relations is humanity's largest society.

  • It is an exchange society dominated by bargaining power.

  • It is governed by a libertarian political system.

Thus, international relations is seen as a normatively integrated system with a division of labor, expectations, and status quo. It is neither chaotic nor Hobbes' state of nature.

In Chapter 3, I then consider international relations further, and focus especially on its actors. I make these points.

  • Of all larger societies, international relations is closest to a dynamic field of spontaneously interacting members.

  • One kind of actor is the state-authority, whose behavior contributes to locating the state in the international field.

  • Other actors are the individual, and leaders of internal and international groups and organizations.

  • Thus, the international field is a mixture of interstate, intersocietal, and interpersonal relations. The field is delimited by the behavior and attributes of individuals, internal or international groups and organizations, and states.

  • The mixture of relations among the different actors in the field is mainly shaped by and is a consequence of state power.

On International Behavior

War is a form of international behavior and understanding it first requires an appreciation of how and why states behave in general. Part II concerns this general behavior, with Chapter 4 focusing on its theoretical and empirical components. The conclusions are as follows.

  • International behavior can be meaningfully separated into acts, actions, practices, and reflexes. Behavior has a direction, as to whether it is solidary or antagonistic; an intensity; an extensity; a duration; and, more or less, organization.

  • These aspects of behavior combine into three theoretical components of behavior: familistic, compulsory, and contractual.

  • These theoretical components are reflected in a number of independent empirical components (or patterns) of international behavior: transactions, relative exports, foreign students, international organizations, alignment, negative behavior, military violence, and antiforeign behavior.

  • The familistic and contractual empirical components manifest associated structures of expectations (as defined and discussed in Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix: passim); the compulsory empirical components manifest the breakdown and restructuring of expectations.

  • Cooperative and conflictful components (or patterns) of behavior are empirically independent.

Chapter 4 defines general components of behavior. The problem, however, is to relate these to the individual actor and his common behavior. For it is ultimately the common aspects of conflict and especially war that are the focus. This is the job of Chapter 5. Its points are these.

  • The overall, manifest components of behavior delineate the common behavioral dispositions of actors in the field.

  • The common behavior of an actor is the product of his behavioral dispositions and his expectations of the outcome of his behavior.

Expectations are thus central to understanding international behavior, and specifically, conflict and war. But then, this begs the question about what influences or affects expectations and associated dispositions. Chapter 6 continues the analysis of behavior by bringing in the situation and argues the following.

  • Each actor behaves within a situation as he uniquely perceives it.

  • Each actor's expectations are related to a specific situation.

  • An actor's common behavior within a situation is a product of his general dispositions and his expectations of the outcome of this behavior within the specific situation.

  • An actor's overall common behavior is an aggregate of his situational behaviors.

Chapter 6 thus unifies within a common framework the crucial concepts of behavior, expectations, perception, and situation.

On the International Field

Part III now explicitly considers the field within which actors behave commonly in terms of perceived situations and situational expectations. The first concern, which is taken up in Chapter 7, is the common international, sociocultural components delineating this field for all actors (individual, group, and state). Chapter 7 concludes the following.

  • The common space-time components of the international field are: wealth, power, totalitarianism (vs. democracy), authoritarianism (vs. democracy), size, social conflict, Catholic culture, density, diversity, and import dependency.

  • Wealth, power, totalitarianism (versus democracy) and authoritarianism (versus democracy) are the primary components of states.

  • The common components reflect various structures of expectations within each state through which actors understand and perceive each other.

  • The relative attitudes and capabilities of actors lie along their distance vectors on the field's components. These distance vectors (such as the difference in wealth or power) therefore measure potential forces in the field.

  • These potentials (attitudes and capabilities) are transformed into active interests and capabilities by an actor's perception of a situation. This perception energizes the disposition of an actor to behave towards another in a certain way. Leaving aside unique influences, behavioral dispositions in a situation are a product of interests and capabilities (distances), and the situational perceptions.

Chapter 8 now makes the equation of interests and capabilities more precise, bringing in explicitly the will of the international actor. It argues these points.

  • The actor is individualistic: his particular interests and capabilities, and independent will play a role in his behavior. His behavior is partly patterned, partly unique; partly due to common and partly individualistic interests and capabilities; partly to a will influenced by common social forces and partly to an independent will.

  • As pointed out in Chapter 6, behavioral dispositions are a product of interests and capabilities, and the perceived situation. But common behavior is a product of these same dispositions and situational expectations. Therefore, within a situation an actor's common behavior is partly explained by the product of his common interests and capabilities, and his situational expectations and perceptions.

Chapter 9 then integrates Chapters 4-8 in order to comprehensively and generally, analytically and empirically, understand the international field. The Chapter also has an Appendix that shows how the defined relationships and concepts should be measured and empirically specified, and presents comprehensive empirical results. The major empirical conclusions of the Chapter are as follows.

  • Across situations in the field, power is the primary force of behavior.

  • Situations involving perceived coercive power most often also entail expectations associated with possible compulsory behavior. That is coercive power primarily is a force towards conflict behavior.

  • Of all behavioral dispositions, an actor most often and highly expects desirable outcomes for its contractual behavior in terms of his perception of another's interests and capabilities. That is, distance forces most affect contractual behavior. This is especially true of political distances.

  • In the field, dispositions towards military violence are among all behavioral dispositions most subject to unique influences and will.

  • The most probable situation in the field is one in which political distance is a force towards contractual behavior (participation in international organizations, diplomatic relations, trade, alliances, and so on.)

  • As a force, wealth (rich-poor gap) is less important than political and power distances. What influences it does have is on contractual behavior.

On the International Conflict Helix

The previous chapters describes the international field in general, centering on common behavior, and its causes and conditions. In Part III, I now focus this discussion and the background in Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix on international conflict, violence, and war. The dominant perspective is of conflict as a process through which the parties establish a balance of powers and an associated structure of expectations. This balance and these expectations then define peace and harmony, and enable international cooperation and a division of labor.

The chapters treat successively each phase in the process of conflict. Chapter 10 begins with latent conflict, and makes these assertions.

  • The components of the international field define the potentiality for conflict: the conflict space. The potential forces towards conflict are spread throughout this field and are seated in the meanings, values, norms, status, and class of international actors.

  • As actors become aware of each other, potentiality for conflict may be transformed into a latent disposition to conflict: a structure of conflict. This disposition is of opposing attitudes (goals and means) and their attendant resources (relative capabilities). These latent attitudes and capabilities to conflict lie along the distance vectors between actors on the sociocultural components of the field.

  • Within a perceived situation, needs for security, self-assertion, protectiveness, and so on, become stimulated and energize attitudes. That is, stimulated needs empower dispositions and transform them into active interests seeking gratification. Active opposing interests and relative capabilities which are reflected in the distance vectors between actors define the actor's disposition to conflict within a situation of conflict.

  • How these active dispositions to conflict will be manifested depends on an actor's situational expectations.

Interests, capabilities, expectations, and perceived situations define the latent strain towards conflict. In Chapter 11 I consider what stimulates and conditions the manifestation of this conflict. I conclude as follows.

  • The manifestation of a conflict initially requires the will to conflict and some trigger event. The likelihood of a trigger is a matter of time and the intensity of the active disposition (interests and capabilities) towards action.

  • The trigger provokes the will, the will decides on action, and preparations are made. This comprises the situation of uncertainty, the initial phase of conflict behavior.

  • This situation of uncertainty is reflected in an empirical pattern (component) of conflict behavior.

The situation of uncertainty leads to the balancing of powers, the actual confrontation of opposing interests. In Chapter 12 I now detail this balancing and state the following.

  • International conflict behavior, violence, and war mirror an underlying balancing of opposing interests, capabilities, and wills. This is a bargaining process determining the real goals of the parties, their strength of motivation; their actual relative military and economic power, national morale, and qualities of leadership; and will power.

  • The balancing of powers entails three subphases: status quo testing; and actual test of powers, which may involve coercion, force, or noncoercive balancing; and termination.

  • The results of status quo testing may lead to a coercive or noncoercive confrontation or termination of the conflict, depending on what the testing reveals about the others' interests, capabilities, and will.

  • Once a confrontation occurs, all paths lead primarily to accommodations, except when the conflict escalates to force.

  • There is a path which is an alternative to coercion in a conflict, which involves the use of bargaining (exchange), intellectual, authoritative, or other noncoercive powers. Therefore, some manifest behavior in the balancing of powers may be cooperative (e.g., offers of aid, promises, acceptance of implicit rules governing the conflict.)

  • The coercive subphase in the balancing of power is manifested in three ways: through verbal or written threats (and warnings), through threatening actions, or through applying deprivations or violence.

  • Coercion acts on the will. It is psychological. Force acts on the will's means: its body, capability, or resources. Wars often are coercive violence; that is, a psychological manifestation, a test of will.

  • The termination of conflict behavior may be through accommodations, conquest, submission or withdrawal, or conflict behavior may just die away. In any case the outcome is a balance of powers.

  • All conflict dynamics lead eventually to a new balance of powers, a new equilibrium of interests, capabilities, and wills, supporting a new structure of expectations--a new peace.

The final Chapter 13 in Part IV compares this dynamics of conflict--the balancing of powers--to those "models" proposed by others, namely Richard Barringer, F.S. Northedge and M. D. Donelan, Quincy Wright, and Herman Kahn. Chapter 13 then concludes the following.

  • Except for the conflict helix, dynamic models focus wholly on interstate conflict involving the threat or actuality of military violence. They are not meant to be applicable to processes of conflict within states, groups, or between individuals.

  • All models begin with some conception of latency, a situation out of which conflict behavior develops.

  • The dynamic elements differ between models. For some they are wholly physical. For the conflict helix these elements are psychological, involving shifts in forms of power.

  • The conflict helix uniquely defines a separate path involving noncoercive powers, such as bargaining and persuasion.

  • The helix uniquely distinguishes force from coercion.

  • Only in the helix is a clear outcome in terms of a balance of powers a part of the process; and this balance an explicit part of a larger process of establishing order. In short, conflict, peace, and cooperation are tied together.

On the Empirical Balancing of Powers

Part IV then takes up the empirical propositions on international conflict, violence and war that are either explicit or implicit in previous chapters and volumes. And Chapter 14 is simply introductory to this effort. I explain the manner in which the propositions are formulated and the types of evidence, and note this.

  • The two sources of evidence used are (a) the published and unpublished (listed in Appendix I) research from my Dimensionality of Nations Project, and (b) the systematic literature on international relations and foreign policy (as listed in Appendix III).

  • The evidence for each proposition is organized by case, state, dyad, and system levels, and whether it is static or dynamic.

  • The evidence is rated as to whether it is positive or negative for each proposition and how strongly.

Chapter 15 then presents six propositions on the dynamics of conflict behavior--on its phases. The evidence presented in Appendix 15A to the Chapter supports the following.

  • Conflict Behavior manifests a preconfrontation and uncertainty phase; different coercive versus noncoercive paths in the balancing of powers; different subphases, underlying hostility, reciprocity, and crisis.

  • Empirically, Conflict Behavior consists of a number of separate and distinct components--patterns manifesting the subphases in the process of balancing: antiforeign behavior, preparations, negative communications, negative (nonviolent) actions/sanctions, low-level military violence, bargaining, persuasion, and negotiation.

Chapter 16 next presents empirical propositions on the causes and conditions of conflict, violence, and war, and shows in its Appendix 16B and Appendix 16C that the evidence supports the following.

  • International Conflict Behavior is:

    • caused by opposing interests and capabilities (specific sociocultural differences and similarities between the parties), contact and salience (awareness), significant change in the balance of powers, individual perceptions and expectations, a disrupted structure of expectations, and a will-to-conflict;

    • aggravated by sociocultural dissimilarity, cognitive imbalance, status difference, and coercive state power;

    • inhibited by sociocultural similarity, cognitive balance, status similarity, decentralized or weak coercive state power;

    • triggered by perception of opportunity, threat, or injustice; or by surprise.

  • In addition to the above general causes of Conflict Behavior, nonviolent conflict behavior and low-level violence are:

    • aggravated by cross-pressures;

    • inhibited by system polarity (centralization of coercive power), and a stable status quo.

  • In addition to the above general causes of Conflict Behavior, violence (including war) is:

    • caused by authoritarian and totalitarian states, status quo disruption, and confidence in success;

    • aggravated by system polarity (centralization of coercive power), Big Power intervention, weakness of the status quo power, credibility at stake, and honor at stake;

    • inhibited by cross pressures, internal freedom, strength of the status quo power, and world opinion.

  • In addition, war is:

    • uniquely aggravated by power parity;

    • uniquely inhibitedby power disparity.

  • The necessary and sufficient cause of international conflict behavior, violence, and war is a disruption of the structure of expectations between the parties.

Chapter 17 now focuses on the ending of conflict and states seven empirical propositions. The evidence given in its Appendix 17A supports the following.

  • Conflict will end when a mutual balance in the interests, capabilities and wills of the parties has been achieved. This psychological equilibrium in the minds of the participants is the only necessary and sufficient condition for ending conflict behavior.

  • The conditions otherwise facilitating, easing, hastening the end of war are domestic opposition, consistent expectations of the outcome between the parties, shift in military power, and ideological devaluation of the conflict.

Chapter 18 finally concludes this empirical Part by extracting from field theory and the previous volumes the propositions concerning the nature of international conflict. The evidence provided in Appendix 18A to the Chapter supports the following:

  • At the highest level of abstraction, international conflicts are independent, helixical, uncorrelated with cooperation, and independent of internal conflict behavior.

  • Wars are state specific, cyclic, neither increasing nor decreasing in trend, and their peaks are correlated with the peaks in internal war.

The Conclusion

The final Part VI has two purposes. One is to consolidate the propositions presented in the previous Part, in Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix, and in Field Theory Evolving into a set of primary empirical propositions. These are presented in Chapter 19, which asserts the following.

  • Overall, for conflict (international, internal, interpersonal) the empirical conclusions are that:

    • disrupted expectations cause conflict behavior; (b) power shapes conflict;

    • freedom minimizes violence;

    • cooperation and conflict behavior are independent,

    • change produces conflict;

    • conflict takes place in a situation;

    • individual perceptions and expectations condition conflict;

    • and sociocultural distances affect conflict.

  • These empirical conclusions get their meaning and substance from a perspective on conflict, which is:

    • conflict is a process of establishing a balance of powers and associated structure of expectations;

    • peace, harmony, and cooperation are a structure of expectations congruent with a balance of powers; and

    • within a closed system conflict tends to become less intense and frequent and peace more enduring.

Finally, Chapter 20 concludes Volumes 1-4 by distilling all into the following few basic principles.20

  • Psychologically, we are individuals. Our perceptions are subjective. We behave to achieve, particularly to enhance his self-esteem, and our expectations of the outcome guide this behavior. And we are responsible for this behavior (we have free will).

  • Interpersonally, through conflict we negotiate a social contract. Now, we communicate as a field of expression, and produce effects. Our interpersonal conflict is then a means of communication and a balancing of these effects (powers)--an adjustment of expectations to power. Our cooperation then depends on this structure of expectations, and a subsequent gap between these expectations and power causes new conflict. But (other things being constant) in time this conflict will become less intense, peace more lasting.

  • Socially, power shapes conflict. Our interpersonal principles apply to societies, which are generally trisocial: three types of society congruent with three types of political systems, three types of conflict, and three types of peace. A gap between the status quo and power causes social violence. And the more government, the more such violence.

  • Internationally, peace is a social contract. International relations is a social field and an exchange society, in which violence does not occur between internally free states. War requires that at least one of the participants is authoritarian or totalitarian and then is a means for negotiating an alignment of the status quo with the balance of powers.


    * Scanned from Chapter 1 in R.J. Rummel, Understanding Conflict and War: Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace. For full reference to the book and the list of its contents in hypertext, click note [13]. Typographical errors have been corrected, clarifications added, and style updated.

    1. For these and the following figures I am drawing on the quantitative compilations and estimates of Beer (1974), Kende (n.d., 1971), Singer and Small (1972), L. Richardson (1960a), and R. Richardson (1966).

    1a. [Written in 1998] I believe these figures are for international wars. My more recent figures of combat dead, 1900 to 1980, are around 29,000,000 for international wars and near 4,800,000 for domestic wars, or about 34,000,000 combat dead in total.

    1b. [Written in 1998] All these wars notwithstanding, international relations is actually a relatively peaceful social system. There is much more cooperation than violent conflict and, indeed, as gauged by the number killed, there are many domestic political systems that have been far more violent than has been international relations. To give two examples: perhaps as many as 40,000,000 were killed in China's Teiping Rebellion during the last century, and probably as many as 55,000,000 Soviet citizens were killed in the various genocides and mass murders in the Soviet Union in this century. Each of these domestic human catastrophes well exceed the total combat deaths in all the domestic and international wars since 1900. On the relative peacefulness of international relations, see Chapter 2. Still, each war is a horror that reaches far beyond the numeration of dead, and any list of wars, no matter how small, is a testament to our inhumanity towards each other. To point out the relative peacefulness of international relations is not in any way to lessen the obscene nature of whatever wars occur, no matter the number. Fortunately, as will be shown later, we now do have a solution to war, and that is to foster democratic freedom. See, for example, Proposition 16.11.

    2. For a discussion of these cycles and their evidence, see Appendix 18A, Proposition 18.7.

    3. For intellectual autobiographies, see Rummel (1976b, 1989).

    4. That we see reality through a perspective is a basic philosophical position I have taken in these volumes (of Understanding Conflict and War). It is philosophically developed in Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 and passim). It is also used as an introductory theme in Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Section 1.1 of Chapter 1). The idea of a paradigm captures much of what I have in mind (Kuhn, 1962).

    5. See Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (Section 1.2 of Chapter 1) for a relevant discussion of metaphysics.

    6. This is the definition of conflict I give in Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Section 26.1 of Chapter 26).

    7. It is the First Master Principle given in Chapter 20.

    8. Some readers might think of a mathematical or simulation model in this regard. It should be understood, however, that a model is meant to simply fit empirical reality, whereas an analytic theory is meant to capture the nature of things that underlie the empirical world.

    9. For example, in my early factor analyses (Rummel, 1963) the results were seen then as simply empirical dimensions--concepts meant to be integrated eventually into theory. Now, I see these dimensions as underlying latent functions (components), in the sense of Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field (Chapter 9 and Chapter 10). Chapter 4 and Chapter 7 here also exemplify a more philosophical interpretation of such dimensions.

    10. For example, see Rummel (1965), also partially reprinted in Rummel (1977).

    11. From non-Marxist socialist to democratic socialist to libertarian. See Rummel (1976b).

    12. The basic empirical work published in Rummel (1972) was completed before 1965.

    13. At this time there were still very few empirical analyses of war, or international violence and conflict. The only major works were by Sorokin (1937-1941, 1957), Wright (1942), and L. Richardson (1960, 1960a). My 1963 study was the first extensive multivariate analyses across many nations and types of conflict. Thus, there was little accumulated empirical foundation for theorizing. My awareness of this need was my major reason for joining the Dimensionality of Nations (DON) Project in 1962--a strictly empirical effort then--which subsequently became the project framework for most of my research. See, for example, Appendix I. The Don project is more extensively described in Hoole and Zinnes (1976: Part III).

    14. Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field apparently has been confusing to some readers who expected an extensive discussion of conflict and war. The book was not meant to present nor be an analysis of either conflict or war, as was clearly indicated in the introduction. I intended it to stand on its own as a philosophical and psychological analysis of humankind, and thus be a solid foundation for the later analysis of society and conflict (Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix), and international relations as a type of society (this Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace).

    Vol. 1: The Dynamic Psychological Field was originally written to be published only as The Dynamic Psychological Field. But after all but its introduction was completed, Sage suggested (and I accepted) publishing it as part of a series called Understanding Conflict and War. At the time I did not know that the series title would be the major title of Volume 1.

    15. In other words, Volumes 1-4 have been concerned with the plane of reality. Vol. 5: The Just Peace will consider the plane of morality, especially the region where the two planes overlap. On this distinction, see Vol. 2: The Conflict Helix (Section 1.1 of Chapter 1).

    16. I had yet to do the systematic survey of the literature for relevant evidence. See Appendix III.

    17. All these results are brought together as evidence for Propositions 16.3, 16.18, and 16.21 in Appendix 16B; and 18.2 in Appendix 18A. Virtually all the propositions in these appendices are also related in one way or another to assessing détente and U.S.-Soviet relations. In a more abstract fashion, the results given in Appendix 16B also are consistent with my criticism of détente.

    18. The labels "dove" and "hawk" are of course stereotypes, but do capture a difference in attitudes comprising two perspectives on foreign policy. The dove tends to fear nuclear war above all, and sees a communist threat as much less serious, perhaps even less so than militarism or a resurgent fascism. Moreover, the dove is disposed towards negotiation of differences, cooperative exchanges, and comprehensive arms control agreements and unilateral arms limitation (if not outright disarmament) as the best ways of preserving peace.

    The hawk, however, fears both nuclear war and communism about equally, and perhaps communism to an even greater extent for some. The Soviet Union is viewed as driven by an aggressive ideology bent on world domination. And political power and military superiority are seen as the means by which communism can be contained and the nuclear peace preserved. Arms control has a role for many hawks, but it must be negotiated with care that the fundamental balance of powers maintaining the peace and Western strength is not upset.

    There are, of course, variants and extremes of both positions, from the pacifist and unilateral disarmer at one end to the absolute anticommunist, and "roll them back"' advocate, at the other end.

    My position, insofar as it can be labelled, is as a moderate hawk. I see nuclear war and communism as twin evils; I view strong Western interests, superior military capability, and resolute will as necessary to preserve the peace with freedom and dignity. But I also perceive this strength as a framework within which arms control can be vigorously pursued in order to lessen the danger of misunderstanding, miscommunication, or accident; and cooperative exchange can be sought, not as a way to peace but for our mutual benefit, and to help open totalitarian communism to the outside.

    19. This word was used by a reviewer of my paper on the U.S.-USSR military balance (1977a). One academic peace researcher frankly admitted that even were I correct, even were the risk of nuclear war or Soviet domination made likely by weakening American defenses (among other things), then she still could not support increasing defense expenditures. Clearly, her antimilitary position was an end, not a means. This, it appears to me, is true of so many working in this area.

    20. A principle is fundamental, often nonempirical. See the opening quote of Wang Fu-chih in Chapter 2.

    21. [Added in 1998] This was republished in 1991.

    22. [Added in 1998] After the completion of these five volumes and given the supreme importance of the overall conclusion about liberal democratic freedom promoting peace, I decided to test further the conclusion. The new research provided further confirmation. See my "Libertarianism and International Violence"; and "Libertarian Propositions on Violence Within and Between Nations: A Test Against Published Research Results". Following this research, I decided to deal with what was turning out in my mind to be far more deadly than war--genocide and mass murder. The promised case studies appeared in the subsequent Death By Government, but for genocide and mass murder rather than war.

    For citations see the Vol. 4: War, Power, Peace REFERENCES

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