Vol. 28 (2008)

War Complexity and Outcomes, 1946-2002

Published April 1, 2008
How to Cite
Ben-Yehuda, H. (2008). War Complexity and Outcomes, 1946-2002. Journal of Conflict Studies, 28. Retrieved from https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/JCS/article/view/11250


This study on war crises offers an operational index of complexity and spells out four postulates relating issue and structure elements to war outcomes. We expect that wars over territorial issues will end in an accommodative manner (postulate 1), that ethnic wars, though rare, will end in a non-accommodative outcome (postulate 2) and that clash of civilization issues, more than all other issues, will end in a non-accommodative way (postulate 3). Finally, wars with overall low complexity will end in accommodation while high complexity wars will not (postulate 4). Using ICB data, this study of 55 war crises, from 1946 to 2002, compares two situations: Intra-War Crisis (IWC), namely, long ongoing wars that are waged before the crisis begins (17 cases) and regular wars that occur after the crisis starts (38 cases). Findings from the study indicate that not all wars are alike. The substance of issues involved in the confrontation matters and complexity affects accommodation. Overall complexity is coupled, in part, with outcomes and as anticipated, patterns of regular wars and IWCs vary. These findings on war diversity highlight the need for a comprehensive 'multi path' model to war.