When violent conflicts erupt, there is almost always a fairly obvious proximal cause – a border has been crossed, an edict has been issued, a critical asset has been seized, and a political leader has been assassinated or has refused to yield to a powerful rival. Yet beneath this obvious cause, there are deeper, less obvious issues, underlying causes that have led to the buildup of discontent and the subsequent explosion of violence. It is certainly important to develop mechanisms and processes for short-circuiting the proximal causes of violent conflict. But in the long run, it is even more important to understand and address the underlying reasons that determine whether or not the conflicts that inevitably arise in a species as contentious as ours erupt into violence. For that allows us to develop ways of changing the context surrounding conflicts to create a world in which the eruptions of mass organized violence that we call war become more and more rare.
Dumas, L.J. (2011), "Introduction", Chatterji, M., Gopal, D. and Singh, S. (Ed.) Governance, Development and Conflict (Contributions to Conflict Management, Peace Economics and Development, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. xiii-xvii. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1572-8323(2011)0000018004
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