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POLI 304 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Liberal Democracy, Appeasement, Double Negative

Political Sc
Course Code
POLI 304
Norrin Ripsman
Study Guide

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The Democratic Malady
Public Opinion in War and Peace (16-20)
Before WWI, foreign affairs were conducted almost exclusively by the executive.
oThe legislature of many countries were not informed nor included in Foreign
oThe US is a special case, an exception.
US congress had constitutional right to advise and be consulted in declaring war and in
ratifying treaties.
Before WWI, American foreign policy was highly isolationist.
Only in 1917 did the American constitutional system became involved in the conduct of
world affairs.
During WWII, the US and British governments had to make the choice between total
victory with unconditional surrender and negotiate settlements whose end was
oTo arm or not arm.
oTo intervene or withdraw.
The issues are so momentous that public feeling quickly becomes attached to it.
Since 1917, the most popular answer in democracies was a NO.
oEverything connected to war was dangerous, painful, disagreeable, and
The painful truth is that public opinion has been destructively wrong at critical moments.
The people imposed a veto on the judgement of informed and trained officials who are
prevented from doing their work effectively.
Democracies tend to be at opposite extremes during war
oEither too pacifist, slow and easy to negotiate. OR
oToo bellicose, impulsive and intransigent.
Dangerous system when life and death are options on the table.
When the World Wars came, the people had been too scared and too slow.
oWere only willing to fight when promised a bright future and the destruction of
the evil and wicked monsters of the world.
The impassioned public opinion became so envenomed that anyone willing to
compromised would be labelled as weak or traitor.
The Pattern of Mistakes (22-25)
At the end of WWI, the leaders of liberal democracies had been victorious in their armed
oThey were the ones that negotiated the treaties that would eventually lead to a
second and more destructive world war.
All the un-democratic empires had been destroyed by either revolution or defeat.
Yet, due to a lack of statesmanship, liberal democracies failed to rebuild a democratic and
stable Europe.
They failed to restore order in those parts of the world in which their influence was great.
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