A Liberal Peace?: The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding

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The Philosophy of Peace. Peace in International Relations Theory. Anthropology: Implications for Peace. Arts and Theatre for Peacebuilding.


  • Things Thought: Between Worlds.
  • Westminster Women.
  • The Palgrave Handbook of Disciplinary and Regional Approaches to Peace?

Geography and Peace. Peace and Development Studies. Children and Peace. Social Psychology and Peace. Humanitarianism and Peace. Indigeneity and Peace. Peace in West Africa. Peace in the Horn of Africa. This moved the theory into the mainstream of social science. Supporters of realism in international relations and others responded by raising many new objections.

There have been numerous further studies in the field since these pioneering works. Research on the democratic peace theory has to define "democracy" and "peace" or, more often, "war". Democracies have been defined differently by different theorists and researchers; this accounts for some of the variations in their findings.

Some examples:. He allows greater power to hereditary monarchs than other researchers; for example, he counts the rule of Louis-Philippe of France as a liberal regime. This definition excludes long periods often viewed as democratic. For example, the United States until , India from independence until , and Japan until were all under one-party rule, and thus would not be counted under this definition Ray , p.

The above definitions are binary, classifying nations into either democracies or non-democracies.

Many researchers have instead used more finely grained scales. One example is the Polity data series which scores each state on two scales, one for democracy and one for autocracy, for each year since ; as well as several others. Some researchers have done correlations between the democracy scale and belligerence; others have treated it as a binary classification by as its maker does calling all states with a high democracy score and a low autocracy score democracies; yet others have used the difference of the two scores, sometimes again making this into a binary classification Gleditsch Several researchers have observed that many of the possible exceptions to the democratic peace have occurred when at least one of the involved democracies was very young.

Many of them have therefore added a qualifier, typically stating that the peacefulness apply to democracies older than three years Doyle [ incomplete short citation ] , Russett , Rummel , Weart They find that democratizing countries are even more warlike than stable democracies, stable autocracies or even countries in transition towards autocracy. So, they suggest caution in eliminating these wars from the analysis, because this might hide a negative aspect of the process of democratization See Owen for an online description.

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A reanalysis of the earlier study's statistical results Braumoeller emphasizes that the above relationship between democratization and war can only be said to hold for those democratizing countries where the executive lacks sufficient power, independence, and institutional strength. A review Ray cites several other studies finding that the increase in the risk of war in democratizing countries happens only if many or most of the surrounding nations are undemocratic.

A Liberal Peace?: The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding, Campbell, Chandler, Sabaratnam

Quantitative research on international wars usually define war as a military conflict with more than killed in battle in one year. This is the definition used in the Correlates of War Project which has also supplied the data for many studies on war. It turns out that most of the military conflicts in question fall clearly above or below this threshold Ray , p. Some researchers have used different definitions. Such a conflict may be no more than military display of force with no battle deaths. Statistical analysis and concerns about degrees of freedom are the primary reasons for using MID's instead of actual wars.

Wars are relatively rare. Most research is regarding the dyadic peace, that democracies do not fight one another.


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Very few researchers have supported the monadic peace, that democracies are more peaceful in general. There are some recent papers that find a slight monadic effect. Some scholars support the democratic peace on probabilistic grounds: since many wars have been fought since democracies first arose, we might expect a proportionate number of wars to have occurred between democracies, if democracies fought each other as freely as other pairs of states; but proponents of democratic peace theory claim that the number is much less than might be expected Bremer , Bremer , Gelditsch , Doyle [ incomplete short citation ].

Historically, cases commonly cited as exceptions include the Sicilian Expedition , the Spanish—American War , and more recently the Kargil War White The total number of cases suggested in the literature is at least However, the UK did bomb Finland, implying the war was not only on paper.

The uncritical critique of ‘liberal peace’

However, the status of these countries as being truly democratic is a matter of debate. Similarly, the Turkish intervention in Cyprus occurred only after the Cypriot elected government was abolished in a coup sponsored by the military government of Greece. Limiting the theory to only truly stable and genuine democracies leads to a very restrictive set of highly prosperous nations with little incentive in armed conflict that might harm their economies, in which the theory might be expected to hold virtually by definition.

One advocate of the democratic peace explains that his reason to choose a definition of democracy sufficiently restrictive to exclude all wars between democracies are what "might be disparagingly termed public relations ": students and politicians will be more impressed by such a claim than by claims that wars between democracies are less likely Ray , p.

Democracies have been very rare until recently. Even looser definitions of democracy, such as Doyle's, find only a dozen democracies before the late nineteenth century, and many of them short-lived or with limited franchise Doyle [ incomplete short citation ] ; Doyle , p. Freedom House finds no independent state with universal suffrage in Democracy's Century Many researchers have reacted to this limitation by studying lesser conflicts instead, since they have been far more common.

A Liberal Peace?

There have been many more MIDs than wars; the Correlates of War Project counts several thousand during the last two centuries. A review Ray lists many studies that have reported that democratic pairs of states are less likely to be involved in MIDs than other pairs of states. When examining the inter-liberal MIDs in more detail, one study Wayman finds that they are less likely to involve third parties, and that the target of the hostility is less likely to reciprocate, if the target reciprocates the response is usually proportional to the provocation, and the disputes are less likely to cause any loss of life.

The most common action was "Seizure of Material or Personnel".

Studies find that the probability that disputes between states will be resolved peacefully is positively affected by the degree of democracy exhibited by the lesser democratic state involved in that dispute. Disputes between democratic states are significantly shorter than disputes involving at least one undemocratic state. Democratic states are more likely to be amenable to third party mediation when they are involved in disputes with each other Ray In international crises that include the threat or use of military force, one study finds that if the parties are democracies, then relative military strength has no effect on who wins.

This is different from when nondemocracies are involved. According to a review study, "there is enough evidence to conclude that democracy does cause peace at least between democracies, that the observed correlation between democracy and peace is not spurious" Reiter Most studies have looked only at who is involved in the conflicts and ignored the question of who initiated the conflict. In many conflicts both sides argue that the other side was initiator. Even so, several studies have examined this.

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Personalistic and military dictatorships may be particularly prone to conflict initiation, as compared to other types of autocracy such as one party states, but also more likely to be targeted in a war having other initiators. Most of this article discusses research on relations between states. However, there is also evidence that democracies have less internal systematic violence. For instance, one study finds that the most democratic and the most authoritarian states have few civil wars , and intermediate regimes the most.

The probability for a civil war is also increased by political change, regardless whether toward greater democracy or greater autocracy. Intermediate regimes continue to be the most prone to civil war, regardless of the time since the political change. In the long run, since intermediate regimes are less stable than autocracies, which in turn are less stable than democracies, durable democracy is the most probable end-point of the process of democratization Hegre et al. He finds that democide has killed six times as many people as battles.

Statistically, a MENA democracy makes a country more prone to both the onset and incidence of civil war, and the more democratic a MENA state is, the more likely it is to experience violent intrastate strife. Moreover, anocracies do not seem to be predisposed to civil war, either worldwide or in MENA.

Looking for causality beyond correlation, they suggest that democracy's pacifying effect is partly mediated through societal subscription to self-determination and popular sovereignty. Note that they usually are meant to be explanations for little violence between democracies, not for a low level of internal violence in democracies. Several of these mechanisms may also apply to countries of similar systems. The book Never at War finds evidence for an oligarchic peace. One example is the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth , in which the Sejm resisted and vetoed most royal proposals for war For a description, see Frost , esp.

Another that a belief in human rights may make people in democracies reluctant to go to war, especially against other democracies. In addition, he holds that a social norm emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century; that democracies should not fight each other, which strengthened when the democratic culture and the degree of democracy increased, for example by widening the franchise.

Increasing democratic stability allowed partners in foreign affairs to perceive a nation as reliably democratic. The alliances between democracies during the two World Wars and the Cold War also strengthened the norms. He sees less effective traces of this norm in Greek antiquity.