The steps-to-war theory (Vasquez 1993) suggests that war is brought on by a series of steps that increase hostility and then make the issues under contention more intractable. Power politics strategies, including coercion in the face of territorial disputes, rivalry, hardliners in power, alliances, and arms races, are all important steps to war. This paper utilizes the steps-to-war theory using qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). With this method, we can observe differing pathways to war, rather than the correlations associated with war. This research also represents the first attempt to classify domestic leaders according to type as suggested by existing theory. Territorial issues, rivalry, hardliners in power, and alliances are all sufficient conditions for the existence of an interstate war.
Brandon Valeriano and Victor Marin, "Pathways to Interstate War: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of the Steps-to-War Theory," Josef Korbel Journal of Advanced International Studies 2 (Summer 2010): 1-27.