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POLSCI 1G06 (280)
Todd Alway (280)
Lecture 10

Political Science 1G06 2012 Lecture 10b overhead DPT.doc

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Political Science
Todd Alway

Political Science 1G06 2012 Lecture 10b Democratic Peace Theory - Consider: Does a democratic state act differently in its Foreign Policy than a non-democratic state? Democratic Peace theory (see the article by Rosato, from whom this discussion is taken): - According to proponents of this theory, a simple study of the empirical evidence reveals the following pattern: Democracies do not go to war against other democracies - Democracies do go to war against non-Democracies, but not against each other Why: multiple causal explanations: - Recall that correlation does not imply causation - For what reason is it likely for Democracy to cause states to not go to war against one another? - At the same time the causal explanation must account for why democracies will go to war against non-Democracies - Amongst modern scholars there are generally two types of causal explanation offered: Norm based explanations: - Democracy creates certain norms that promote the “peaceful resolution of conflicts” - Democratic leaders are socialized into “nonviolent conflict resolution” in their domestic disputes - These leaders are likely to transfer this conflict resolution strategy to the international realm Institution based explanations: - Democratic institutions place certain constraints on democratically elected leaders o Constraints that do not restrain non-democratically elected leaders - 1. “Public constraint” - The public is likely to restrain democratically elected leaders from declaring war 1 - Why: The public bears the costs of war, both physical and monetary - 2. “Group constraint” - Input into the political process is open to multiple groups - In a democracy it is likely that at least some powerful groups will be against war - For example, War (especially between economically interdependent states) can negatively affect economic interests - 3. “Democracies are Slow to Mobilize for war” - Leaders in a democracy must convince both the general public, and influential social groups, that war is in fact necessary - This leaves time for a negotiated settlement between the disputing democratic states to arise - 4. There is Greater clarity of Information within democracies - The formation of public policy, including Foreign Policy is more transparent in Democratic states - It is easier to judge the intentions and willingness to actually go to war in a democratic state - This makes it more likely for two conflicting democratic states to negotiate towards a compromise o Rather than pursue the more risky alternative of waging war - This type of information is lacking in Non-Democratic countries - Even when an autocratic state is not planning on acting aggressively, the lack of transparency will make democratic states predisposed towards preemptive war - Criticisms: - 1. Is the correlation valid? Is it empirically accurate? - What is a democracy and what is not a democracy? - The empirical record depends very much upon how states have been categorized - There are several ambiguous cases where a plausible case can be made for a democracy being at war with another democracy - Moreover, Liberal Democrac
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