International-relations theory can identify and frame important questions, but Pentagon and State Department officials will probably always be more interested in detailed case studies, prepared by area-studies experts. Theorizing about the causes of war might occasionally generate clean, law-like propositions that appeal to policymakers. But more typically, the discipline generates broad patterns that can be applied to particular cases only with a great deal of caution.

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Carment, D, & Rowlands, D. (2007). Formal models of intervention: A stocktaking and analysis of the implications for policy. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-68304-9_3