Democracy and Peace

Recently in class we have discussed democratic peace theory, and if it should be used as a means of shaping foreign policy. Many may find the idea of promoting democracy around the world controversial and scholars have argued for and against it for some time. Some scholars argue that democracies are peaceful with all states in the international system and others argue that they are peaceful only with other democracies. And of course there are those who do not acknowledge any relationship between democracy and peace. I think it is fair to say that many of us in the west would like to see the rest of the world adopt democracy because we can see the freedoms that it offers. I personally take the position that the world would certainly be more peaceful if more countries adopted a democratic system.

During the 20th century the U.S. has shaped foreign policy to promote democracy and contain communism. An excellent example is Woodrow Wilson and his administrations decision to enter World War I, President Wilson Justified entering the war on the grounds that a world wide democracy would create a more peaceful world.

Promoting democracy as a means of creating a more peaceful international system in my opinion is a worth while cause. Democracies tend to be better governed and have useful mechanisms and tools for resolving conflicts peacefully. However I do not think going to war and attempting to set up a democracy for another state is the way to go as seen by the war in Iraq. Ultimately it is up to the people within the state to demand change. A 2005 freedom house study concluded that most states that transitioned to democracy were done by a civilians who demanded change at the local level and further gained support. Here I have linked a video showing the “March of Democracy throughout history.

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7 thoughts on “Democracy and Peace

  1. Yes I will defiantly agree with you. Democracy instilled in all countries would be a great ideal, yet , ideals are very hard to accomplish. In order for democracy to spread correctly is if civilians of nations ask for it. If these citizens fight for what they believe democracy is

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  2. I support your idea, and I also think democracy should be accomplished through the endogenous motivation. It may be true that there has been no international conflict between democracies, but it doesn’t mean we should impose democratic institutions/norms on any non-democratic nations. We need to notice it is during the process of democratization when wars/conflicts are more likely to occur.

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  3. I support your idea that other countries in the world adopting a democratic system would benefit the concept of peace as a whole. According to the democratic peace theory, as we learned in class, states that, throughout history conflicts between democracies weren’t as frequent. Conflicts between democracies and other forms of government, are however, common. Conflict resolution and institutions shared between democracies are factors that contribute to peace.

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  4. I agree with your post that countries would be more peaceful if there was more democracy in the world. As you mentioned that when countries like the US try to impose a democracy on a country like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan, then it will not work. It must come from the citizens who push for democracy in there countries. It cant come from an outside source because in my opinion it will not turn out the way the country planned it to be if the citizens of the country don’t have a say in the process.

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  5. I support your viewpoint on Democracy as the driving force for peace. There has been times where the U.S pushed its policy of Democracy and failed like the attempts such as Iraq ^.But not so much that people themselves did not want to rule as a majority, but because of internal problems just as ethnic groups or polarity amongst religious sects. Other countries can only offer assistance with diplomacy but no coercion must take place.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your blog post.
    I would like to write a hypothesis on this topic. The reason why democracy seems peaceful could because of communist country. Based on what I see and learn, states that claim to support communism have failed to become one of the strongest country and well living country in the world. However, they should keep their power and don’t want to lose what they currently have. So, they are changing political system which is or which seems dictatorship. As a result, they become brutal and aggressive and it affected other countries which chose democrat. Thus, for people in democratic countries believe (comparably) our nation is peaceful. How do you all think of it?

    Thank you.

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  7. I agree with the aspect that democracy should be the choice of the citizens wanting to establish it in their nation. Going to war to promote democracy is not the answer, it will only cause a larger conflict. If more nations became democratic it could lead to greater peace because there is usually no wars between democratic nations.

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