I hate being stuck in a war. Resources that could be more profitably used building Production, Research, and Culture facilities needs to be spent on creating units for offense and defense. It's the classic Guns versus Butter dilemma. So, how do you keep the other factions from attacking you? The usual answer is to have such a large Military that the others fear what will happen to themselves if they do. Which means of LOT of wastage of resources. Even if you never have to use that big Military, it still costs an arm-and-a-leg to build, and lots of Maintenance thereafter. Alternatively, if you can get the diplomatic status up to Cooperating, Cooperating factions will NOT be attacking you. They have to first downgrade the status to Neutral and then Sanctioned before going to war with you. When they DO start downgrading, it signals what they are contemplating. That gives you time to build up Respect to boost the relationship back to Cooperating, or start building military units to build Fear. (Obviously, I prefer going the Respect route.) Similarly, becoming Allied with a faction that have a large Military but is not engaged in any wars (very important) will make warmongers think twice about attacking you. HOWEVER, the way the AIs work, sooner or later every AI faction WILL get into a war -- and drag its Allies into the fracas as well. It doesn't matter who started it, whether it was your Ally or some warmongering that declared war on the Ally. Either way, the Ally's war is now your war. So, my bottomline is that it is better to go it alone and just Cooperate with EVERYONE. That leaves you free to spend everything on civic development and next to nothing on Military.