INR Chapter 5 Notes: Feminist Approaches & Democratic Peace Theory & Interest Groups and Public Opinion

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Political Science
INR 2001
Paul D’ Anieri

INR2001 Chapter 5 Notes 9/24/13  Changing the Level of Analysis o State: the government and political system of a country o State and substate approaches do not claim to offer a general theory of international politics. Rather, these are theories of foreign policy: policy (actions or statements intended to change behavior or outcomes) aimed at problems outside of the policy-making state’s borders o Theories of international politics ask, “What is the nature of international politics?” o Theories of foreign policy ask, “What explains foreign policies?”  Democratic Peace Theory o States that democratic states behave very differently than nondemocratic, or autocratic, states do o Democratic Peace Theory: Two Versions  The Simple Democratic Peace Model  It is believed that publics are generally disinclined to go to war and will stop it if allowed  It is believed that authoritarian leaders sometimes start wars to distract the public from their authoritarianism  The Cost of War and Public Opposition  The origins of the democratic peace theory is widely attributed to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant  Democracy prevents war because citizens vote to control politicians  War as a Diversion  In autocracies, citizens often rally around their country’s leadership in times of war, raising the popularity of even unpopular leaders  Rally around the flag effect: the increase in popular support often gained by leaders of a country in times of war  The Dyadic Model: Democracies Do Not Fight Democracies  Democracies go to war just as often as any other countries but they rarely fight each other  Three arguments supporting this view: o A structural argument focuses on ways in which democracies find it easier to reach compromises with each other o A normative argument asserts that democracies respect each other more than they respect non- democracies o An institutional argument, based in rational choice theory (a theory that bases explanations of decisions on the assumption that decision makers have clear goals, calculate the costs of various courses of action, and pick the policy that will best serve their goals), finds that democracies are very successful at fighting wars and that democratic politicians are especially vulnerable if they lose a war  The Structural Argument  In democracies, it is argued, political disputes are resolved by compromise, and this pattern carries over into foreign relations in two ways: o When two democracies bargain in a dispute, they bargain the same way they do domestically, through a politics of compromise that searches for a mutually acceptable solution o Since policy making in democracies requires reconciliation of a range of political views, it is very difficult to adopt an extreme policy o Democracies are less likely to fight not only because they can reach compromises, but also because they keep their promises  Audience costs: the costs in loss of public support paid by leaders of democracies when they renege on a commitment  The Normative Argument  The simplest explanation of a dyadic democratic peace is that democracies do not go to war with each other out of mutual respect  The Institutional Argument  Democratic political institutions have two effects on their leaders that, when combined, make them very cautious about going to war with one another: o Democratic states are more likely to win wars o Leaders in a democracy are more sensitive to the political costs of losing a war, because they are more likely to turned out of office if the war fails o Evidence for the Democratic Peace  Evidence comes from statistical analyses and from specific cases  Scholars agree about two major findings:  There is no statistical evidence that democracies go to war less frequently than autocracies  There are very few, if any, cases of war between democracies in all of history o Critiques of Democratic Peace Theory  Defining Democracy  The central critique is that the key factor, “democracy,” is defined poorly and in contradictory ways  Operationalizing: translating a theoretical concept into attributes that can be measured  A related problem is that the definition of democracy in the theory appears to change over time  How Significant Is the Absence of War between Democracies?  The absence of war between democracies is not surprising for two reasons: o For most of recorded history there have been very few democracies o The incidence of war is also fairly rare throughout history  Other Explanations for the Observed Pattern  Skeptics point our there is a simple explanation for the absence of war between democracies: the Cold War o Applications of Democratic Peace Theory  Many people believe a zone of peace, a group of states that tend not to go war with each other because they are democratic, already exists (North America, Western Europe, and other areas)  The EU and NATO have pursued the goal of expanding the zone of peace with roughly similar strategies of conditionality  Each organization has numerous criteria for membership (mostly concerning democratic governance)  Woodrow Wilson’s War to End All Wars  Wilson argued that getting involved in WWI with other democracies would help transform Europe into a region of peaceful democracies  Post-Soviet Russia  Soviet Union collapsed in 1991  Russia began a shift to Western-style democracy and at first, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton followed the democratic peace theory  Ultimately though, U.S. efforts to democratize Russia failed o Implications of Democratic Peace Theory  Two implications of democratic peace theory are especially provocative:  If democracies are more peaceful, then policies that accept authoritarian rule in return for stability are doomed to fail in the long run  Democratic peace theory, ironically, provides a rationale for democracies to wage a particular kind of
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