Armed conflicts between states litter the records of history. Wars have been fought for a multitude of reasons, however these can be fractured into main three strands: political ambitions, economic motives, and ideological differences. This monograph summarises each of these drivers, and assesses their importance in the wider context of the balance of power within the international system. Through consideration of historical records, a magnitude scale is derived, as well as a geographical conflict map.
The monograph concludes with a hypothetical scenario – a 1 in 100 (or magnitude 3) conflict between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea. The conflict extends for 68 days, with both side exchanging fire with physical damage to both military and civilian infrastructure. Economic interdependencies and the threat of global escalation contains the conflict as diplomatic channels are re-opened.