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Democratic Peace Theory

Democratic Peace Theory. Introduction.

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Democratic Peace Theory

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  1. Democratic Peace Theory

  2. Introduction The Cold War has ended, and we now have a chance to forge a democratic peace, an enduring peace built on shared values—democracy and political and economic freedom. The strength of these values in Russia and the other new independent states will be the surest foundation for peace—and the strongest guarantee of our national security—for decades to come. Secretary of State James Baker, February 5, 1992

  3. Democratic Peace Empirical Finding: No two democracies have ever fought an interstate war against each other. This is called the democratic peace.

  4. What is a democracy? • Constitutional government • Representative government • Separation of powers • Judicial/legal rights • Participation?

  5. History of the Democratic Peace Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace (1795) Democracies will not fight each other because the citizenry must consent, and they do not want to pay the costs of war (lives, infrastructure, etc.).

  6. Kant’s Conditions for Perpetual Peace • The Civil Constitution of Every State shall be Republican. • The Right of Nations Shall be based on a Federation of Free States. Kant rejects the idea of a world government. • Cosmopolitan Rights shall be limited to Conditions of Universal Hospitality.

  7. Theories of the democratic peace • Structural explanation • Elections (leaders can be replaced if they lose wars) • Individual freedoms magnifies the importance of public opinion and elections • Separation of power

  8. Theories of the democratic peace 2) Normative explanation • In their foreign relations, nations will try to follow the same norms of conflict that characterize their domestic political processes. • They expect decision makers in other nations to do the same. • When democracies face each other, they expect the other side to resolve disputes through compromise and nonviolence. • Example: third party dispute settlement

  9. Theories of the democratic peace 3) Democracies are satisfied states (power transition theory) • They are less likely to fight about territory, especially if they are well established democracies. • They have strong economic ties (liberal peace).

  10. Levels of analysis • Monadic: Are democracies more peaceful overall in their relations with other states? • Dyadic: Are democracies more peaceful in their relations with democracies as opposed to non-democracies? • Systemic: Is a world filled with more democratic states more peaceful?

  11. Empirical Analysis of the Democratic Peace Monadic Findings The findings are mixed with some studies finding no real difference in the war proneness of democracies relative to non-democracies (e.g. Chan, Weede), while others find democracies are more pacific overall (e.g. Rummel, Benoit, Maoz)

  12. Empirical Analysis of the Democratic Peace Dyadic Findings These findings are relatively clear: • No two democracies have fought a war against each other (e.g. Babst) • Democracies are much less likely to fight militarized disputes against each other (e.g. Maoz and Russett)

  13. Empirical Analysis of the Democratic Peace Systemic Findings • My own work demonstrates that the proportion of democratic states is growing over time, and • As this proportion increases, war becomes less likely in the system • The pacific effect of democracy on war is getting stronger over time • Others find an inverted U (Gleditsch & Hegre)

  14. Other Empirical Findings • Militarized disputes between democratic states involve very few fatalities and are much less likely to escalate than disputes in mixed or autocratic dyads. • Birds of a feather flock together: democracies form alliances with other democracies (Siverson & Emmons) • Credible commitments: democracies are more likely to comply with international agreements • Democracies have won 88% of the wars they have fought (Lake) • Fully established democracies have the lowest chance for civil war (Hegre et al)

  15. Criticisms of the democratic peace • Democracies are peaceful due to shared interests during the Cold War (Farber and Gowa) • Democratizing states are more war-prone than established autocratic states (Mansfield and Snyder) • War and democracy are rare, so it not surprising that democracies have not fought each other (Spiro)

  16. Questions • Is democracy compatible with Islam? • Does war promote democracy or inhibit it? • Is the liberal peace really a commercial peace?

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