War is a subject that has captivated scholars for centuries. From the early Greeks to the moderns, there has been significant research on the causes and conduct of war. Theories about war shape our expectations about the world and govern our behavior. In the 20th century, however, research focused more on the prevention and conduct of war rather than the causes of war. It is important to note that theories about war are normative in nature, and can act as self-fulfilling prophecies.
History is full of examples of wars that have resulted in human suffering. Many of these wars were fought for resources. For example, the Anglo-Indian Wars between the British East India Company and Indian states resulted in British colonial rule in India and granted Britain access to valuable resources in the region. Another war in the 19th century was the Opium Wars between the Qing dynasty of China and Western powers. The Western powers wanted to control the trade with China, but China wanted to remain independent.
War is an act of policy and a way to impose a nation’s will on its enemies. As a result, it is important to recognize that the definition of war changes over time. It is also important to consider the various variables in international relations and the political calculus involved in determining whether a war is necessary or not. The cost-benefit analysis and political calculus differ from nation to nation, and the need for war depends on available means and strategic vision.
War is a very serious issue in international relations. Conflicts between countries have numerous causes, from grievances to resources to economic gain. However, most wars are destructive and often result in a large number of casualties. Most people consider war to be unethical and deeply unjustified. Still, there are situations when war is needed, especially as a last resort.
Rousseau challenges Hobbes’ theory and argues that war is the result of human nature. Hobbes, on the other hand, claims that war is inevitable. In his essay “The Origins of War” (1773), Hobbes describes human nature as an atomistic state in which conflict and social relations are embedded. Without external power to enforce laws, man is in a war-like condition. Thus, war is inevitable.
Modern theories of war have evolved to emphasize different aspects of the nature of man. One school of thought attributes war to the “natural state” of a nation, whereas another believes it is a reflection of the nation’s strength and ability to project power. In both schools, there are optimists and pessimists.
Conflict has many consequences for the mental health of civilians. Studies have shown that war is linked to an increase in mental illnesses among the general population. More women, children, and elderly individuals are affected than men. It also disrupts the social fabric of nations. It robs the world of valuable human and material capital.