Is Democracy a Cause of Peace? - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
In reference to the relationship between democracy and development, the IPDD Further, the IPDD claims that "democracy, development and peace form a. mutually reinforcing relationship between democracy and development. 8 Short term efforts to achieve peaceful transitions to a new, stable political order must. transform power relations between women and men in such a manner that women racy, development and peace ought to be anchored on gender equality .
Identifying causation is critically important in translating scientific findings into policy recommendations, in areas such as dietary guidelines, poverty reduction, education, fighting disease, and others. Scholarship making the claim that the democratic peace is spurious frequently takes the following form. On the theoretical side, an alternative explanation for the causes of peace is provided. On the empirical side, a critique will present a previously published multivariate regression analysis showing support for the dyadic democratic peace, and then show that adding to this regression analysis an additional independent variable that measures the new, alternative explanation will cause the dyadic democratic peace variable to become statistically insignificant.
In turn, the inference is that the initial observed correlation between democracy and peace is spurious rather than causal, and that as a causal hypothesis the democratic peace proposition is not supported.
A further implication is that because the democracy-peace relationship is spurious rather than causal, policy-makers should avoid concluding that spreading democracy will in turn cause the world to be more peaceful. The oldest and perhaps most central proposition of this type is the realist argument that common national interests rather than joint democracy explain peace. As indicated above, realism proposes that international relations are fundamentally driven by national interests, and not by domestic politics or institutions.
Further, realism places no faith in the ability of public opinion coupled with democratic institutions to be a force for peace, because public opinion is not necessarily rational or peaceful; and because elected and other leaders can circumvent the constraints of public opinion through secrecy and other forms of manipulation e. Historically, the collapse of the international order in the interwar period made realist critics such as E.
Waltz ;p. Several quantitative studies have endeavored to demonstrate that decisions for war and peace are caused by realist factors such as national interests and the balance of power, and not by regime type. In the s, realist critics took note that the first wave of rigorous quantitative democratic peace studies focused on the — time period, suggesting that especially during this Cold War period democracies were unwilling to fight each other not because of institutions or norms, but because North American, East Asian, West European, and South Pacific democracies needed to balance together against a common Communist threat.
A variant of this argument is that peace among democracies during the Cold War was maintained by American hegemony, that a democratic America managed conflict among states within the democratic, anti-Communist bloc to solidify its global power position. These studies took different approaches to demonstrating this point. Gowa argued that the democratic peace was a temporal phenomenon; that pairs of democracies were indeed less likely to become involved in militarized interstate disputes or wars after ; were less likely than other pairs of states to become involved in MIDs but not wars from —; and were as likely to become involved in wars and MIDs before World War I.
That is, she measured the presence of common interest indirectly by comparing political eras, arguing that democracies shared common interests afterconfronting the Communist threat, and therefore unsurprisingly were less likely to fight each other. Before World War II, she argued, when there were fewer common interests among democracies, the observed correlation between democracy and peace disappears.
Gartzke took a more direct approach toward testing the same theoretical supposition. He also proposed that common interest rather than joint democracy was the true cause of the observed peace between democracies, especially in the post period.
Rather than comparing eras as Gowa did, he analyzed the post period, but included in his regression analysis a variable of common interest, measuring how similar were the United Nations General Assembly voting patterns of two states.
He found that this variable was statistically significantly related to dyadic peace, and that inclusion of this variable rendered the joint democracy variable statistically insignificant as an explanation of dyadic peace. Some observers have also suggested that the observed peace between democracies is caused by geographic factors rather than regime type Worley, An additional cut on the national interests argument is that conflicts are caused by interstate disputes over contested issues, like territory, and not by regime type.
Gibler focused on territorial disagreements between states.
Democracy and Conflict - International Relations - Oxford Bibliographies
He proposed that territorial disagreements are the fundamental cause of conflict between states, and that inclusion of variables that measure the stability of borders, and therefore the absence of territorial disagreement, rendered the joint democracy independent variable to be statistically insignificant as a cause of peace.
A second cluster of spuriousness critiques focuses on economic rather than political factors. A perhaps more limited version of this critique is that there is a peace among democracies, but only in the developed world and not in developing areas such as sub-Saharan Africa Henderson, A more ambitious form of this critique is that development and markets are the true causes of peace, and that democracy is uncorrelated with peace when these factors are accounted for.
There are some variants of this observation. Gartzke focused on higher levels of economic development, proposing that more developed states enjoy lower marginal gain from winning a war over economic assets, and in turn are less likely to become embroiled in war. Mousseau forthcoming ; made a different argument, proposing that only some forms of economic development nurture peace.
He proposed that market-based societies place a cultural emphasis on contracts and the law. In turn, this cultural emphasis on law percolates into foreign policy preferences, pushing such states to prefer nonviolent means of conflict resolution.
A third critique focuses on gender. Further, some scholars have used gendered perspectives to critique the proposition that democracy causes peace. Wisotzki suggested that gender equality encourages both democracy and peace, though she stopped short of proposing that there was no causal relationship between democracy and peace. Hudson and colleagues used new data on the physical security of women and political violence, finding that lower physical security of women makes political violence more likely, and that the inclusion of gender equality in the analysis renders democracy an insignificant determinant of peace.
Another possible critique, not quite leveled explicitly by any critics, is that common culture and common identity, rather than democracy, cause peace. Discussion To the great benefit of the broader field, these democratic peace critiques have enjoyed intensive scholarly debate, with both supporters and critics of the democratic peace successfully pushing each other to refine and improve their theoretical arguments and research designs.
Regarding the critique that the democratic peace was purely a Cold War phenomenon, Russett and OnealMaozand Thompson and Tucker demonstrated that democracies were less likely to fight each other in the interwar and pre-World War I periods as well as in the post period. Russett also presented evidence of a democratic peace in ancient Greece and in pre-modern societies, and Park demonstrated that the democratic peace existed in the post-Cold War period, as well.
Cederman took a different angle in addressing this question of the democratic peace being confined to the post time period. He agreed that the peaceful tendencies of democracies had strengthened over time, but he proposed that such a dynamic reflects the kinds of macrohistorical learning process that Kant himself predicted would happen. The proposal that capitalism rather than democracy causes peace has also attracted critiques, mostly focusing on issues of research design to show that inclusion of capitalism variables does not render democracy variables insignificant Choi, ; Dafoe, The observation that contractualism and not democracy causes peace has been critiqued Dafoe et al.
The proposal that at least during the Cold War American hegemony rather than democracy itself fostered peace between democracies has also attracted scholarly debate. A broader question is whether or not the United States at least during the Cold War used its power to maintain both democracy and peace within its sphere of influence. In general, the United States supported a variety of anti-Communist states, including democracies like Japan and France and non-democracies like South Vietnam and South Korea Reiter, The critique that conflict is caused by territorial dispute rather than regime type has also experienced rigorous debate e.
Huth and Allee found that democracy played an important role in affecting whether or not territorial rivalries escalated to violence. Other studies looked at the related issue of rivalry between states, territorial dispute being one type of rivalry. The gender critique has also enjoyed some scholarly exchange. The most aggressive gender-based critique of the democratic peace Hudson et al.
As noted, some other work that focuses on interstate conflict has included gender as an independent variable, and still shown that democracy has a pacifying effect.
Using a dyadic research design, Regan and Paskeviciuti found that both gender and joint democracy affect the likelihood of interstate violence.
In short, the variety of critiques arguing that inclusion of additional variables in multivariate regressions of observational data renders democracy variables to be insignificant have each enjoyed rigorous debate. A larger question to consider is whether there are other ways of testing causation beyond this approach of testing the possibility of spuriousness by adding variables to a regression. There is a broader debate as to the general utility of multivariate regression of observational data as a means of assessing causation, given that this approach, sometimes called a quasi-experiment, requires the nonrandom assignment of the treatment condition the independent variable.
This is not to take a maximalist position that quasi-experiments add nothing, or that adding variables is never advised. It does suggest, however, considering other means of assessing causation, in addition to the conventional approach of seeing if adding plausible exogenous variables renders the democracy-peace correlation to be statistically insignificant.
Second, minority political representation in and of itself does not guarantee harmony and in some cases can exacerbate problems. Finally, despite a need for cultural diversity in politics, minority status should not be the basis for access to power.
That is, ethnicity, cultural or religious ties should not be prerequisites to political power even for minority groups. To avoid these pitfalls, a culture of democracy must be established in addition to the physical structures of democracy such as a parliament. This culture should include a tolerance and respect for others, dialogue between groups, and a sense of pluralism.
In other words, democracy only works when people respect differences, discuss them, and are willing to share power. Without these concepts ingrained into a culture, democracy may have free participation of citizens, but the other democratic values of freedom, justice and human rights are likely to be neglected. In defining development, this book went beyond the common conception of development as economic advancement. According to the IPDD, it includes the " As such, development like democracy should be tailored to cultural contexts.
If local social and cultural contexts are not taken into account during development, an impression of the "colonization" of local culture by "world culture" may result, exacerbating "patterns of withdrawal" and possibly leading to increased violence.
In reference to the relationship between democracy and development, the IPDD stated that there is " A "true democracy" is thought to require a minimum standard of living, which in turn requires a minimum level of development. On the other hand, efficient development is thought to require democratic governance. Further, the IPDD claims that "democracy, development and peace form a trilogy, a common purpose.
Thus, though distinctly different phenomena, democracy, development, and peace are thought to be highly interrelated. This interrelation is increasingly important due to globalization. According to the IPDD, globalization can be " Because of their double threat internal and interstate to the old world order, they unleashed counter-revolutionary wars which spread across the European world order.
This was not a historical accident, but something intrinsic as Skocpol,argued to the character of revolution within an interstate system. In his trinitarian definition of war, therefore, the people represented its quintessentially violent character generals were linked to statecraft, governments to policy. Since then, military thinkers like Howard have seen the democratic aspect of modern war - the people in arms - as a source of its prospensity to total violence.
Clearly the early revolutionary states were hardly stable constitutional democracies by contemporary criteria, so it might be supposed that democratic peace theorists could breathe a sigh of relief.
They would be mistaken, however, to see this point as of limited significance. The forms of democracy have been harnessed to authoritarian, militarist and ultimately undemocratic purposes throughout subsequent history. Indeed, the tension between pacific and warlike tendencies remains pivotal to the modern history of democracy. Only by severely restricting the nature of the linkage between democracy and peace as well as the relevance of cases can a one-sided account be sustained.
Even relatively democratic settler colonists in North America, Australasia and Africa were distinguished by their often brutal - even genocidal - military campaigns against indigenous peoples Mann, In the high inter-imperial period at the end of the nineteenth century, the development of parliamentary democracy went hand-in-hand with that of imperialism and militarism.
German social democracy was notoriously mobilised to support the Kaiser, just as its British and French sister-parties supported their governments. To make this case is not to ignore the important anti-militarist tendencies of democratic movements, particularly liberal- and socialist-internationalist. It is to argue that democracy often had double-edged significance for peace. The triumph of the Western allies in the Great War led to democratic revolutions in Russia, Germany and Italy as well as other states.
But within these newly democratised nation-states, democracy was neither stable nor pacific. In Germany and Italy, the new, unstable post-war democratic conditions spawned the Fascist and National-Socialist movements, which glorified militarism.
Democracy and Peace in the Global Revolution
Fascist movements are perhaps the archetype of the aggressive, anti-democratic militarism, the supreme negative confirmation of the democratic peace hypothesis. We should not forget, then, their exploitation of democratic forms and legitimacy in the seizure of power. Nor should we see the Western democracies as exponents of purely defensive war-making. The point of this polemic is that throughout the emergence, consolidation, heyday and decline of the European nation-state-empires, military violence and culture were structural conditions of democracy.
There may be some truth in the idea that the most aggressive empires were least democratic, and that the most democratic were less aggressive. But no safe generalisations can separate democracy and militarism throughout this era. Only a profoundly limited theory and methodology would seek to simplify their complicated linkages in this way.
Moreover in the great crisis of the inter-imperial system, from the First to the Second World War, democracy took on a new significance in state relations.
Is Democracy a Cause of Peace?
As the great imperial powers moved towards renewed and intensified total war, with much more total control over society, interstate conflict became much more highly ideologised.
Nazi Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union were controlled by regimes with counter- revolutionary ideologies which denounced parliamentary democracy. Under these conditions, the democratic states mobilised their own populations by intensifying their democratic ideology.
Through this process the meaning of democracy came to be understood, first in Britain and then throughout much of the West outside the United States, in terms of socio-economic as well as political rights. There was democratic reform - a social-democratic extension of democracy - as democratic claims became more central to the total-war confrontation and mobilisation.
The democracies were successful in the Second World War, not alone - since they were allied to the Soviet Union - and probably less because they were democratic although that was a factor than because, with the American economy behind them, they possessed by far the more powerful war-machine.
But even more apparent was that this was a victory for two states, the United States and Soviet Union, above all others and that the secondary victors, such as Britain and France, were subordinate through military and financial dependence if not, as in the case of Japan and Germany, through defeat.
The significance of the embedding of democracy in the Western military alliance became clear in the evolution of this situation into a clear-cut opposition between the two Cold War blocs. The bloc-order was a major evolution beyond the classic state relations of the old national-international world order, since it boiled down the rivalries of numerous major centres of state power to two superpowers and their dependent blocs.
It was also a major evolution in that, within the Western bloc at least, alliance spawned integration among nation-states, and the bloc became an increasingly inderdependent single conglomerate of state power Shaw, b.
State relations underwent fundamental changes. Mobilisation, so far as it still occurred, was no longer simply national, because of the bloc-system. In these circumstances, while states became horizontally more integrated, they became vertically less integrated. States no longer needed to control economy and society in the same way as they had done in the era of total war.
The relations of war and democracy in the Cold War flowed from these realities of bloc-competition. Democracy became a line of division and an ideology of the Cold War.
The United States developed the Western alliances as a bloc of parliamentary democratic states, notably imposing new democratic constitutions in western Germany and Japan, although some non-democratic states Turkey, Portugal and Greece were welcomed as members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO so long as their regimes were anti-Communist. Not surprisingly, democracies in this era did not fight each other.
But this was hardly because they were democracies. Rather, they did not fight and were democracies for a common set of reasons: As the Cold War period lasted for over forty years, Western-bloc integration developed apace, encompassing many sorts of economic and political as well as military institutionalisation, so that war between the component nation-states became less and less likely.
Again, while democracy was a factor in institutionalising this integration, it was hardly the principal independent reason for it. An ambiguous relationship between democracy, peace and war runs through the Cold War West.
Democracy was undoubtedly a mobilising principle in the rivalry with the Soviet bloc. Nor, as Cold War ideology, was it consistently practised even in the Western heartlands. On the contrary, the Cold War was a justification for secret, even authoritarian state institutions and practices, from the McCarthyism of the early years through the continuing machinations of Western security services and the secrecy surrounding nuclear weapons developments.
Even within the Western bloc, as we have noted, openly authoritarian states remained welcome, if generally marginal members. Outside the bloc, in the so-called Third World, Western states and especially the American superpower frequently - indeed generally - backed authoritarian, corrupt and military rulers, including apartheid South Africa, against democratic movements. This cannot, moreover, be represented as a peaceful process.
Not only did the internal repression practised by Western-backed states frequently cross the line into civil war. The United States in particular also intervened directly or indirectly by military means to install, support or restore authoritarian rule. European democracies used military power to oppose colonial liberation movements. Western client states - such as Israel - launched numerous wars.
During the Cold War period, therefore, democratic states were hardly unambiguously peaceful in orientation. Moreover, the military conflict with the Soviet Union constrained the quality of democratic culture and institutions within the West, just as it restricted support for democratic movements in the Third World - and even within the Soviet bloc, since the West could hardly give effective support to democratic resistance if that would threaten inter-bloc war.
The Cold War period was a pre-global, transitional period in world order in which there was a major change in state relations. The democratic structures and ideology of the dominant Western bloc-state undoubtedly conditioned the post-Cold War evolution of state relations in more global and democratic directions. However, during the Cold War, democratic movements within both the Soviet bloc and the Third World - and even social movements for democratic change within the West - often came up against the limits of the democratic Western state.
Democracy in the global revolution The end of the twentieth century has seen the emergence of several narratives of transition. Most pervasive in the late s was the idea of postmodernity, according to which all historically given forms were in unprecedented flux and relativity. At the end of the decade, and the beginning of the s, this was succeeded although obviously postmodernist ideas continued to hold much sway by the idea of a post-Cold War world.
By the mids, this had given way in turn to the idea of globalisation as the dominant narrative. The changing influence of these narratives reflected moments in historical development: On examination, moreover, this content dissolves into largely technical changes time and space relationswith once again a dominant negative motif undermining of the nation-state.
It is argued here, in contrast, that the global is not to be understood in this way, and that the current transition should be understood as a fundamental change which encompasses all the processes identified - cultural, political-military and economic-communications.
Global means something different from simply world or worldwide, let alone international: It differs in three major ways. First, it represents a change in which conscious, purposeful human action plays an important role, rather than the relatively mechanical process indicated by the term globalisation.
Second, it is defined very much by political relations, which determine the context of economic and cultural change. Third, it is a set of radical and relatively sharp changes, rather than simply a gradual process. Furthermore, the global revolution differs from previous revolutionary transformations.
- Summary of The Interaction Between Democracy and Development"
It is not merely a more or less simultaneous international movement across a number of different nation-states. Rather, it involves a transformation of world order from the national-international order of the last two centuries to an specifically global order. The global revolution is essentially a development from two major processes of the Cold War era, which I defined above as the final stage of national-international order and which contained many pre-global aspects. First, it is a further transformation of state relations and forms of the Western bloc-state, in the development of distinctively global relations and forms of state power.
Second, it is a continuation of the democratic revolution, overcoming many of the constraints which were imposed on it from the Cold War period. These two trends come together to the extent that global state forms are defined in democratic terms, while democratic change increasingly shows a global dimension. Recognition of the depth of the global revolution is limited because, in this unprecedented worldwide political transformation just as in any revolutionary change, there are many continuities notably the national and international forms of state power.
There are also many conflicts: It is also, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, very much an unfinished revolution. The transformation of state relations and forms in general centres on the processes whereby the Western state-bloc, harnessing the globally legitimate institutions of the United Nations system as well as the wide range of more specifically Western international institutions, has established itself as the effective centre of worldwide state power.
Secondary centres of power, notably the successors of the former rival Soviet bloc and the growingly powerful Chinese state, are increasingly but still problematically integrated into a larger, Western-centred conglomerate of state power. Some states remain largely on the margins: There are two apparently contradictory sides to this legitimation of global state power.
On the other hand, there is the de facto as well as de jure embedding of Western and even American policy - despite the backwoodsmen in Congress - in wider international coalitions, the clear necessity of the United Nations as a legitimate institutional framework for Western power, and the real development of that framework.
Alongside this development of the global state is the unprecedented worldwide democratic revolution. The paradox of this revolution is that, of course, in form it is only partly global, and very largely national and international.
As the Soviet bloc and then the Soviet Union itself unravelled from the late s, and especially in the decisive period from the East German, Czechoslovak and Romanian revolutions of late to the collapse of the Soviet Union inmany states and republics were reconstituted on a democratic and national basis.
While the disintegrative tendency was clear, so was the integrative tendency. The new states which emerged from the Soviet collapse were mostly not - although some were and others tried to be - nation-states in the sense of effective, autonomous centres of military power.
Most, including even Russia itself, embraced key elements of Western ideology, worldwide political economy, international institutions and leadership. Above all, almost without exception they embraced democracy.
The democratic transition varied hugely from those states in which there were democratic revolutionary movements, to the many in which the old nomenklatura embraced democratic forms in order to restructure their power. However real or unreal the substance, democratic change was both for people and rulers alike - but often for very different reasons - a means of admission to and recognition by the new Western-dominated global world order.
The post-Cold War democratic revolution has not been confined to the former Soviet bloc. An early signal of it was the s transformation of the majority of Latin American states from authoritarian and military to parliamentary-democratic rule.