Why War?

Hosted by LSE IDEAS and the Ratiu Forum

Online public event


Professor Christopher Coker

Professor Christopher Coker


Dr Aaron McKeil

Dr Aaron McKeil

There is a claim that war is a pathology, and that if we were to sober up we could recognise this and abolish it. Join us for a talk from Christopher Coker about the topic of his latest book, Why War?.

"Why War?", a question political scientists and sociologists have grappled with for centuries. Why is sustained conflict, a unique phenomenon exercised by humans, so prevalent throughout our history? Focusing on a retrospective answer to this question is insufficient, however, and there is a need to investigate questions of our past, present, and post-human future when seeking to understand the actions of war. In his latest book, Christopher Coker critically analyses how far scientific advances in gene-editing, robotics and AI systems will alter human agency. From the Ancients to Artificial Intelligence, Why War? is a fascinating and unique investigation of humankind’s propensity to warfare, offering new ways of thinking about our species’ preoccupation with conflict.

Christopher Coker will discuss the key themes of his latest book Why War?, including a look at the development of patriotism and nationalism across the European landscape. Aaron McKeil will faciliate an audience-led Q&A session.

Why War? can be ordered here with a 25% discount by using the code WARFIGHT25.

Meet the speaker

Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS, and former Professor of International Relations at LSE. He is a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defence Studies in Tokyo, the Rajaratnam School for International Studies Singapore, the Political Science Department in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Colleges. He has published many books, including Rebooting Clausewitz; Men at War; and The Improbable War: China, the United States, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict, and his latest, Why War?

Meet the chair

Aaron McKeil is Course Convenor and Course Tutor on the MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy programme at LSE IDEAS. He also produced 'A Short History of IDEAS' in 2018 to celebrate LSE IDEAS' ten-year anniversary. He gained his PhD in International Relations from the LSE. He also holds an MSc International Relations Specialist with Distinction from Aberystwyth University and a B.A. Political Science from the University of British Columbia. He previously served as Editor for Millennium: Journal of International Studies and as a Research Assistant at the LSE Centre for International Studies. His key expertise includes International Relations Theory, International Order Studies and Global Societies research.

Event hashtag: #WhyWar


We aim to make all of our events available as a podcast subject to receiving permission from the speaker/s to do this, and subject to no technical problems with the recording of the event. Podcasts and videos of past LSE IDEAS events can be found online.

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