Democracy and Peace in recent world history

Democracy and peace are perceived to go hand in hand. The Democratic peace theory states that countries that are democracies won’t go to war with each other, as discussed in class. And based on recent history this is somewhat believable due to the lack, or scarcity, of armed conflicts between two democratic countries. “According to “The Politics of Peace”, a 1995 report by the Economist, of the 416 wars between sovereign states recorded between 1816 and 1980, only 12 were fought between democracies”. If we look at the United States and Great Britain for an instance, two democratically settled governments, you won’t find any conflicts in recent history, post the 13 colonies gaining their independence. There’s a cultural/normative model that asserts that through this concept of shared ideas, norms, and culture, war is avoided. As well as democratic states having high conflict resolution and strong interdependent economic ties, diminishes the likelihood of war.

Now when we apply this to real life occurrences, we see that the majority of our former United States leaders at the time of office, held on to this theory of international relations and applied it, as well as international organizations such as NATO. We can see that with the George H.W. Bush administration the theory was used to pursue political interests. The theory will help Washington achieve in obtaining a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous middle east, as Iraq transitions itself into a democracy. The desired outcome for this holds that Iraq won’t become as much of a threat to the United States or Israel in terms of developing weapons of mass destruction or sponsoring terrorism. Did the United States make a rightful decision in excessively promoting democracy as a means of peace in a region full of conflict of such magnitude? Others may argue that he settlement of democracy in Iraq could consequentially start wars in the region.



7 thoughts on “Democracy and Peace in recent world history

  1. I disagree with the notion that Democracy brings peace to the International system. Instead it is Capitalism that ensures peace between nations because according to Gartzke of the article, The Capitalist Peace; “democratization, paradoxically, implies increasing tensions among democracies. Free markets and development in contrast lead nations closer together”. This is true because empirical evidence shows that the integration of world markets not only facilitates commerce but also creates new interests inimical to war. Financial interdependence ensures that damage inflicted on one economy travels through the global system afflicting even aggressors.The study shows evidence suggesting that Capitalism and not democracy leads to peace.

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  2. It seems as though states that are traditionally democracies have been peaceful with one another, but forcing a democracy upon a state brings nothing but uncertainty and civil unrest- prime ingredients for conflict.


  3. Very interesting! I am definitely of the oppinion that one democratic nation, if it truly believes in the core virtues of democracy, should not try to strong arm another nation into becoming democratic. It is smacks of hypocracy in my opinion, and on top of that, there is a high likelihood that another nation is not politically, socially, or economically stable enough to support a democratic government, and implementing one would induce further discontent and instability.


  4. Yes it does seem that democracies don’t go to war with each other but I also don’t think forcing democracies on other states will bring more peace because at least in the beginning the democracy will be unstable and more conflict will arise because of than. I also feel like the conflict will be intra and inter because they will have conflict with who tried to force the democracy on them and within their state because not everyone will have the same views and wont know how to deal with differing opinions


  5. Yeah you’re wrong about the wars between England and America. After the original revolutionary war there was the Northwest Indian War, the War of 1812 which many people seem to forget, and the Bombardment of Greytown in 1854. I believe it is more capitalism and free trade than democratic governments that keep countries from fighting. Saudi Arabia and America have polar opposite governments, so much so that KSA has a history of sponsoring terrorism against the United States, yet there is no war because how dependent each country is on the other’s trade. Interconnected and interdependent trade is a much stronger force. Money wins out over ideology 9 times out of 10/


  6. I liked the statistic showing us that there have been very few wars or conflicts that were fought between democracies. Although it seems like a large number of those conflicts could have been a democracy coming in to try and remove the dictatorship or whatever kind of government is in place. It shows us that some of these conflicts might not be between democracies, but they can be to instill democracy in a specific country. That would bring the number a lot higher because countries are trying to help get rid of oppressive dictators.


  7. I definitely agree with the commenter above when mentioning how statistics have showed there have been few conflicts between democracies. I do wonder if promoting or wanting to force democracies is a good idea or not. During the Vietnam War, the United States was trying to prevent the spread of communism and wanted Vietnam to have a democratic governmental institution but that did not happen.


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