By Anna Geis
Regardless of the present rhetoric of Western leaders, democracies are nice and widespread war-makers and interventionists. This truth stands in an odd distinction to the liberal self-image of democracies being quite peaceable. Addressing this distinction, the ebook turns the 'democratic peace' subject on its head: instead of investigating the explanations for the intended pacifism of democracies, it appears to be like for the explanations in their militancy. to be able to clear up this puzzle, the authors go beyond the disciplinary limitations of diplomacy and draw on political concept, political philosophy and sociology.
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Additional info for Democratic Wars: Looking at the Dark Side of Democratic Peace
Despite initial societal support (a rally-round-the-flag effect), democratic governments come under domestic pressure when military confrontations last longer than anticipated. 28 Democratic Wars As shown by these structural–institutional explanatory approaches, considerations about the expectation of victory and selection effects may be, at first glance, the question of missing or alternative explanatory factors. In the light of the observation that, first, only very few democratic states are involved in interstate and extrastate wars and, second, only a few democracies possess the capability to wage war or intervene militarily, one must ask why a relatively small number of (not only militarily) strong democracies follow a violent foreign policy.
We move on to a detailed critique of each of these attempts at theorizing democratic peace, following the work of Müller (2002a), MacMillan (2003) and Rosato (2003). We then develop an explanatory approach which is intrinsically consistent, accounts for the main empirical findings, and also contains reasons why these findings point not to deterministic, but to probabilistic causation; this addresses at the same time the fact that democracies do not behave alike, but show a wide variance in their readiness to use force.
Controlling for interstate wars or military interventions in ongoing confrontations, we can observe that democracies tend to use military force against opponents which are significantly weaker and more vulnerable than themselves. With regard to military interventions, this effect is even stronger: intervening democracies were strongly superior in terms of power in more than three-quarters of all available cases. The selection of weaker adversaries is linked with the empirical finding of other studies on the causes of war that democracies win wars more frequently than other regime types (cf.
Democratic Wars: Looking at the Dark Side of Democratic Peace by Anna Geis