The author's approach is not to study the causes of particular wars, but to examine a wide variety of potential contributing causes. He carefully and systematically goes through both functional and structural issues that bear on the causes of war, and then turns to how war might be prevented. He rejects single causes as well as single prescriptions but tends to put some faith in arms control; equally important, he insists, is an effort through diplomacy to reduce the bipolarity of the international system created by the policies of the superpowers and, operationally, to work to reinforce the "firebreak" between conventional and nuclear war.
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