Preventive War

How does shifting power cause war?

Takeaway Points

  1. Once a power shift has occurred, the states will reach a negotiated settlement. (War is costly.)
  2. But if states are experiencing a great power shift, that peaceful settlement may be highly disadvantageous for the declining state.
  3. Declining states therefore launch preventive wars if they prefer a costly but advantageous war today to an efficient but disadvantageous peace tomorrow.
  4. Preventive war is distinct from preemptive war. Do not confuse the two. Preemptive war deals with first strike advantages, which we will cover later on.
  5. To make life even more complicated, preventive war and preventative war are the same thing.