Are democracies more peaceful ?
in his book, "De la democratie en Amérique", the french Alexis de Toqueville wrote "Democratic people wish naturally peace". The idea that democracies are not war-prone is a pretty old one but the idea that democracies don't make war to each other is even older. The philosopher Kant was one of the first who explains this theory of democratic peace. It became one of the most wide-spread idea in world politics: democracies are peace-prone in their relationships with democratic states but war-prone in their relationships with nondemocratic states. This idea was criticized but still persists. Indeed, Bill Clinton declared in 2004: "Democracies don't make war to each other".
To get well the subject of "Are democracies more peaceful?" it is important to really define each words and concepts. The definitions already lead us to some ambiguities because it always depends on the context. Nevertheless, the definitions that follow are the most close to our subject. Democracy can be define as a government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. Peaceful can be define as undisturbed by strife, turmoil or disagreement or inclined to peace. War is a state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties. Our question can be asked in the context of post-cold war with the new configuration of the world, the new stakes etc. So I will focus on this period to answer the question: "are democracies unquestionably more peaceful than nondemocratic states or just inclined to protect their interests?"
In a first part I will focus on the choice of democracy as a choice of peace and in a second part we will study the arcane side of democracies and we'll see that the values of democracies are often left on the side.
[...] Moreover, they support that the political conflicts in non democratic regimes are more likely to be conducted and resolved through violence and coercion. The feelings of instability and fear of this situation are considered as the essence of nondemocratic norms. The second assumption of the normative model is that anarchic nature of international politics implies that a clash between democratic and nondemocratic norms is dominated by the latter, rather than by the former.” The authors explain that a conflict between nondemocracies would be dominated by the norm of forceful conduct and by both parties' efforts to resolve the conflict through a decisive outcome and elimination of the opponent. [...]
[...] Are democracies more peaceful? Introduction: In his book, la democratie en Amérique”, the french Alexis de Toqueville wrote “Democratic people wish naturally peace”. The idea that democracies are not war-prone is a pretty old one but the idea that democracies don't make war to each other is even older. The philosopher Kant was one of the first who explains this theory of democratic peace. It became one of the most wide-spread idea in world politics: democracies are peace-prone in their relationships with democratic states but war-prone in their relationships with nondemocratic states. [...]
[...] The obligation to hold free elections in a state plagued by ethnic and religious tensions which has not yet been able to override the national and general interest over ethnicity or creed reference brings distrust between individual communities and forced everyone to choose the ethnic or the religious group. Because of that, many conflicts happened. Between 1989 and 1997 were counted 100 civil wars but only 6 interstate conflicts. The civil war in Somalia from 1991 to 1993 caused victims of the conflict and direct to victims of the famine. [...]
[...] Moreover, being a democracy or bringing democracy in countries in transition can not be seen as a proof of peace. We saw that the process of democratization could cause wars and that democracies could be violent and not really peaceful especially when their interests are involved like the Unites States in Iraq. Finally, it is more difficult for the democracies to make a war. They have to check a lot of principles, rules, laws etc. The values of democracy are supposed to lead the country to peace but it doesn't mean that they are more peaceful. [...]
[...] From April to July Rwandans were killed during the genocide. Tajikistan civil war in 1997 caused the death of 50 000- people and displaced 1.2 million refugees. An other idea is that, the democratic regime has become part of the process of genocide linked to the new wars of the globalized area. This war could be impulsed by recognized states or by dissidents central governments, legitimation election has in fact become a component of the process of genocide. Because they know that democratic legitimacy is the path to international recognition, entrepreneurs powers attempting to create ethnically pure territories in which they can obtain a majority thanks to an identity politics and intimidation. [...]
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