Spreading Democracy Promotes Peace? International Relations, Victoria University Of Wellington, New Zealand. Essay

1967 words - 8 pages

Abbas Hakimi, 300452497, Leonardo Milani, 1,780 words (excluding citation and bibliography), INTP113.
Spreading democracy will make the world a more peaceful place. While many New Zealanders would say yes, there are in fact strong argument and evidence against it in the international relations arena. The United States mission to spread democracy in Yemen, Libya and Iraq have failed miserably. The U.S. has been ineffective in spreading democracy and thus peace in these countries. In many instances, their intervention has made the situation worse. Essentially, most scholars agree that democratic countries are significantly more peaceful than non-democratic countries. However, why is it that spreading democracy, at least in the recent time has failed? Is it the approach to spreading democracy that has failed, or that democracy does not actually cause peace? To answer this question, we have to first assess whether there is a correlation between democracy and peace. There is a great debate amongst scholars regarding this. Some agree, while others argue that democracy does not cause peace. This essay examines both of these perspectives. It acknowledges the main argument and evidence from both sides. The democratic peace theory, the ‘empirical law’ that democracies almost never go to war against each other, and then examines the opposing view point. The Realist viewpoint, the observed pattern that democracy causes peace is a fantasy, there are other elements that cause peace.
Democracy causes peace, is a widely held belief by most democratic leaders. This is reflected by their intervention in many non-democratic countries. The U.S. Ex-President Obama’s National Security Strategy stated “The United States supports the expansion of democracy and human rights abroad because governments that respect these values are more just, peaceful, and legitimate. We also do so because their success abroad fosters and environment that supports America’s national interests. Political systems that protect universal rights are ultimately more stable, successful, and secure” (U.S. National Security Strategy, Page 37, March 2010). Answering whether democracy causes peace or not is of dire importance. Countries such as The U.S, France and Britain use this belief to explain their intervention into non peaceful countries. If democracy does in fact not cause peace, it will have a massive blow to the legitimacy of military use in these unstable countries.
The Democratic Peace theory, is the central argument for ‘democracy causes peace’ belief. The theory posits that democracies almost never go to war against each other. There are strong statistical evidence that supports this theory. Dean Babst (1964) an American sociologist extensively analysed data on inter-state wars between 1789 and 1941, and concluded that “no wars have been fought between independent nations with elective governments. Michael Doyle also came to the same observation, “Even though liberal states h...


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