are of interest to an actor. So it can, inter alia, include territory, position of
power, acceptance of responsibility for destructive actions, psychological needs
like retribution and other intangible values.
Johan Galtung proposes an influential model regarding how conflict takes
place. According to this model, ‘conflict’ can be viewed as a triangle with
attitude (A), behavior (B) and contradiction(C) at its vertices. “Attitude” refers
to disposition towards an adversary and has two elements, the cognitive and
emotive. The cognitive element refers to the mental image one holds about the
enemy while the emotive element relates to the affect or emotions, the feelings
one has towards an adversary
. “B”, the behavioral dimension refers to what
parties do such as gestures signifying cooperation or/and coercion. In violent
conflicts the behavior could be violent attack.
That will be war if it involves the
violent force in combination with other instruments according
Finally, “contradiction” in this model refers to the underlying
conflict situation including actual and perceived ‘incompatibility of goals’
between the parties to the conflict. These three dimensions taken together make
the conflict system wherein each reinforces the others.
Conflict is a dynamic
phenomenon. One actor is reacting to what another actor is doing, that further
leads to yet another action to the extent that it may become difficult to decipher
who is more responsible.
1.2. Interstate Conflict: The Different Levels of Analysis
Many have grappled with the causes of interstate conflict and other forms of
state behavior. Particularly, the causes of war have been analyzed in different
ways. Waltz’s ‘level-of-analysis framework’ can be a useful tool in making
sense of the varied understanding of causes of war and other state behavior. His
level-of-analysis framework divides the causes of war in terms of whether they
are located at the level of the individual, the nation-state or international
3 Johan Galtung cited in Kenneth Fox (2007), “What Private Mediators Can Learn from
the Peace- Builders”, Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol 7, p. 245.
4 Oliver Ramsbotham, Tom Woodhouse and Hugh Miall (2005), Contemporary Conflict
Resolution (Cambridge and Malden : Polity Press), p. 10.
5 Jack Levy (2007), “International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate War”, in Chester
Crocker, Fen Hampson and Pamela Aall (edds) Leashing the Dogs of War
(Washington: US Institute of Peace Press), p. 20.
6 Galtung, cited at note 3 above.
7 Wallensteen, supra note 1, p. 32.
8 Levy, supra note 5, p. 21.