Why do wars widen? More specifically, why do states enter ongoing conflicts? States enter ongoing wars for one of two reasons: predation or balancing. Predation is the attempt to acquire strategic assets. Balancing is the attempt to prevent an adverse shift in the balance of power. The likelihood of predation or balancing to cause a war to widen depends on the level of political cost, or decisiveness of warfare, associated with a given era or state system. Therefore, the likelihood of wars to widen varies over time and can be predicted.