In many ways, locating the precise causes of war also helps in developing an understanding of how it might best be avoided. What are the best means of preventing the outbreak of war, and for which reasons does this get triggered? The answer to these questions can be found from a closer study of the working of the international system, as well as that of individual states. In this course, therefore, we shall examine arguments from a variety of theorists about the causes of war, and the reasons for which different states perceive war to be the best instrument for securing their aims. For example, we will examine the relative merits of the arguments that war is a feature of the pursuit of power by an individual state; as opposed to a manifestation of the failure of the balance of power in the international system.