DEMOCRATIC PEACE THEORY

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DEMOCRATIC PEACE THEORY

Presenters: XIANG LI & QIANWEI LI
BACKGROUND
Immanuel Kant – German philosopher
18th century
“Perpetual peace”

DEFINATION
 DPT is a theory which posits that
democracies are hesitant to engage in
armed conflict with other identified
democracies. In contrast to theories
explaining war engagement, it is a “Theory
Of Peace” outlining motives that dissuade
state-sponsored violence.
Several Factors which motivate peace
between liberal states
 Democratic leaders are forced to accept culpability for
war losses to a voting public;
 Publicly accountable statesmen are more inclined to
establish diplomatic institutions for resolving
international tensions;
 Democracies are less inclined to view countries with
adjacent policy and governing doctrine as hostile;
 Democracies tend to possess greater public wealth than
other states, and therefore eschew war to preserve
infrastructure and resources;
DPT ASSAULT ON REALISM
 CHALLENGES ABOUT PROSPECTS FOR PEACE IN THE
INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM
 CHALLENGES REALISM’S EMPHASIS ON SYSTEMIC
FACTORS
(WALTZ’S
3 IMAGES AND ‘STRUCTURAL’ IR THEORY)
The First Image: the individual or the man
The Second Image: the state
The Third Image: the international system
Waltz’s 3 images
 *War is a product of human nature.
 Realist view - humans are inherently
conflictual
Liberalist view - humans learn and
evolve, and can cooperate for the sake
of security.

Level of Analysis: Individual
 How We Study: Psychology,
The First
Image
Idiosyncratic Approach (looking at
specific characteristics of individuals),
focus on decision-makers.
 Theories: ethological, frustration-
aggression, socialization, leadership.
 War is caused by state behavior.
 Realist view: states act in their own
security self interest.
Liberalist view: with institutions and
global law, states can learn to
cooperate for global security.
 Level of Analysis: The State
 How we study: Does state size, type,
The Second
Image
or location influence foreign policy
behavior? Will more democracy
equal fewer wars?
 Theories: statist, state economic,
externalization, democratic peace.
 War is caused by the anarchic nature
of the international system.
The Third
Image

Solution: global government

Realist view: lack of central government
means states focus on their own security

Liberalist view: build international
institutions to create global governance.

Level of Analysis: System Level

How we study: measure distribution of
power in the international system (polarity,
equilibrium)

Theories: polarity/distribution of power,
anarchical nature of international system,
economic, environmental/resource
explanations.
Realist pessimism
 War is not constant and endemic, but
it is always possible in the absence of a
common sovereign.
Christopher Layne
– a prominent critic of DPT
 “fear and distrust is the normal state of
affairs”
 “security and survival are always at risk”
 “democratic states respond no differently to
democratic rivals than to non-democratic
ones”.
PERMANENT PEACE ACTUALLY EXIST
Systemic theory
 Realists believe that systemic factors, especially anarchy
and variations in the distribution of power, cause states
to compete. International politics can therefore be
explained without differentiating states by regime type –
realism assumes that the internal characteristics of
states are irrelevant to achieving peace in the
international system.
DPT versus realism
Undermine?
What does DPT achieve?
Spread democracy
around the world?
Kant, liberal legacies, and foreign
affairs

-- Michael Doyle
PART I WHAT IS LIBERALISM, AND WHY
DON’T LIBERAL STATES FIGHT ONE
ANOTHER
PART II WHY LIBERALISM FAILS IN
RELATIONS WITH OTHER STATES
MAIN POINTS
states that adhere to liberal principles
enjoy a separate peace amongst
themselves
states that adhere to liberal principles are
likely to wage war against non-liberal
states
LIBERAL PRINCIPLE
THREE IMPORTANT SETS OF
RIGHTS THAT THE INDIVIDUAL
POSSESSES
freedom from arbitrary authority;
social and economic rights;
rights of democratic participation
and representation.
BASED ON
 juridical equality and freedom of
religion and the press;
 rule by responsible legislatures;
 private property;
 a market economy driven by supply
and demand.
MAJOR
ARGUEMENTS
 liberal states should not intervene in the domestic affairs
of other liberal states.
 War is not impossible, but it is unlikely.
 When liberal states have economic conflicts, they resolve
them peacefully.
 In major wars, liberal states have tended to fight on the same
side.
 transcended the realist security dilemma/ stronger liberal
states have not fought weaker ones.
 States sharing other ideologies or structures have fought each
other.
MAJOR
ARGUEMENTS
 Doyle refers to the liberal peace rather than the
democratic peace. The tendency of liberal states
not to fight each other but to wage war against
non-liberal states can be explained by reference
to the features of republican regimes.
 Also, commerce boosts international
interdependence, and removes much economic
activity and some important decisions from the ambit
of state control and state interest.
Liberal principles can be a cause of aggression.
① From the perspective of liberal states, non-liberal
states have no right to be free from foreign
intervention, because they do not guarantee
domestic justice for their citizens.
② Liberal states are likely to view non-liberal states
as potential aggressors, because of this lack of
transparency and unwillingness to uphold liberal
principles at home.
Two Main Reasons
 Liberal interventions in failed states
often fail to meet their designated
objectives and actually make
matters worse.
Validity of DPT
But simultaneously not advocate liberal interventionism, which
critics of DPT often fail to note this point
Conclusion
 The rate of expansion of liberal
regimes since 1800 continue, we
might reasonably expect world
peace early in the next century.

Bruce Russett – Grasping the Democratic Peace
Some realist criticisms of DPT
Some liberal responses to these
criticisms

a norm against fighting
the end of the 19th century.
a prominent feature of international politics
in the second half ofthe 20th century
HE IDENTIFIES

1,000 battle deaths as the threshold for
identifying a conflict as a war
a democracy as a state “with a voting
franchise for a substantial fraction of
citizensa government brought to
power in contested elections, and an
executive either popularly elected, or
responsible to an elected legislature”.
It should be noted that
 liberties
 economic freedoms.
BR’s definition
electoral democracy
Doyle’s is
liberal democracy.
What this means is that
 BR’s definition is less demanding, and more
inclusive

——– it is easier to meet BR’s definition.
BR considers some of the alleged wars
between democracies, arguing that in
every case, either one of the
participants could not be classified as
a democracy, or, the number of battle
deaths fell below the 1,000 threshold.
It is worth
noting that
 nearly all of the alleged wars took place in the 19th
century, or early in the 20th century.
What time dose DPT became a theory?
In dyads of longstanding rivals, conflicts
have only taken place when one of the two
or more was non-democratic.
BR considers
several alternative explanations for DP

role of international institutions

Transnationalism

Distance

alliances against common threats

wealth

political stability.
So, how might the absence of conflict
between democratic states be explained?
BR suggests two
answers:
 1. The cultural/normative model.
 2. The structural/institutional model.
According to model one
 the first point is that
decision-makers in democracies follow norms of
peaceful conflict resolution.
because these reflect domestic experiences
and values. Democracies are biased against
resolving domestic disputes violently, and
carry this value over into their approach to
international conflict
Secondly, democracies expect that
other democracies will share similar
preferences. This expectation does not
exist with regard to non-democracies.
 This expectation does not exist with regard to non-
democracies. The norm of peaceful conflict resolution
therefore can explain democratic peace, but does not
prevent conflict with non-democracies.
According to model
two
in democracies there are domestic institutional
constraints
 checks and balances
 separations of power
 the need for public debate
 BR recognizes potential difficulties in
separating the two models
 but ultimately believes that it is possible to
devise tests that can determine which model
is causing DP.
 It is also necessary to point that the idea of
mutual perception/recognition is doing a lot of
Some realist criticisms of DPT
It is statistically
significant that
democracies have
not fought each other,
but this could be
correlation without
causation.
 Some liberal responses to these criticisms
 There have been more systematic attempts to
explain the causal logic of DPT.
Some realist
criticisms of DPT
 The evidence for DPT
is not statistically
significant.
Some liberal responses
to these criticisms
Proponents of DPT have
conducted additional
quantitative studies to
re-emphasize its
statistical significance.
These studies have
controlled for other
possible explanations
such as geography and
alliance discipline.

Thank you for listening

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