The basic patterns or confi gurations of violent political confl ict associated with any given world order, I have argued, are generated by the “historical structure of war” inherent in that order. These structures comprise the ensemble of war-making units, structural antagonisms and cultural institutions that make war possible in any given historical setting. They also vary considerably from one historical setting to another. The character of war-making units and nature of the system within which they are embedded differ from one world order to another, as do the structural antagonisms deriving from their interaction and prevailing ideas regarding the meaning and purpose of war. It is this variation, I argue, that explains the distinct constellations of wars that are organic to, and characteristic of, different world orders.