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There has been a significant decline in the incidence of wars between states over the past several decades. The incidence of intrastate violence, on the other hand, appears to have stabilized following a decline in the aftermath of the Cold War. There is little consensus on the causes of these changes in conflict patterns. The critical question for policymakers is whether the current conflict patterns represent a permanent shift or a temporary aberration. This report explores this question through an extensive review of the literature on armed conflicts and global strategic trends to determine the possible reasons for the change in conflict patterns and to assess the potential for a change in these patterns that might portend increased propensity toward state-on-state conflicts. This report is likely to be of use for developing leading indicators of conflicts or constructing future scenarios for war games or defense planning.

Table of Contents

  • Part One

    • Chapter One


  • Part Two

    • Chapter Two

      Introduction to Interstate Conflict

    • Chapter Three

      Democracy and Conflict

    • Chapter Four

      Economic Interdependence and Conflict

    • Chapter Five

      Wealth and Conflict

    • Chapter Six

      Demographic and Social Changes

    • Chapter Seven

      International Organizations

    • Chapter Eight

      Territorial Integrity and Conflict

    • Chapter Nine

      Nuclear Weapons

    • Chapter Ten

      Technology and Conflict

    • Chapter Eleven

      U.S. Hegemony, Primacy, and Conflict

    • Chapter Twelve

      Realist Factors

  • Part Three

    • Chapter Thirteen

      Introduction to Intrastate Conflict

    • Chapter Fourteen

      State Capacity

    • Chapter Fifteen


    • Chapter Sixteen

      Ethnic and Sectarian Factors and Conflict

    • Chapter Seventeen


    • Chapter Eighteen

      Democracy, Democratization, and Political Inclusion

    • Chapter Nineteen

      Economic Factors

    • Chapter Twenty

      Competition over Natural Resources

    • Twenty-One

      Legacies of Prior Conflict

    • Twenty-Two


    • Twenty-Three

      International Norms on Peacemaking and Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, U.S. Army, and conducted by the Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program within the RAND Arroyo Center.

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