Democratic Peace Theory

Topics: Democracy, United States, Liberal democracy Pages: 5 (1706 words) Published: January 15, 2013
Critically assess the tenets of democratic peace theory

The impression that democratic countries are known to be more peaceful than non- democratic countries have been argued by most theorists, who have brought about the liberal understanding of international politics. This is understood by Immanuel Kant’s edition of democratic peace theory; DPT (Shimko 2009). This composition critically analyses the democratic peace theory that is comprehensively argued by theorists and academics, studied by experts in international relations, and skilfully practised by politicians thus presenting a wide-ranging observation of the theory. Five differing explanations about the peace theory will be mentioned and diverse notions and beliefs will be assessed. This composition will classify whether spreading of the democratic peace theory will guarantee international peace or not, the examples that will be mentioned below of the democratic peace theory will reveal and criticize the true extent of how effective the theory is in reality. The composition simplifies the fundamental theories which establish the disputes between democracy and war. Furthermore, the composition reveals the belief of the democratic peace theory. The composition identifies and reviews angles in which theorists and academics justly believe that the democratic peace theory subsists, and that the origins come about from the qualities of many democracies around the world. Hence, supporters of the democratic peace theory believe that the mutual understanding of peace comes about due to the social norms, culture and political establishment.

From the structural viewpoint the key alternatives of the democratic Peace Theory claims that the decision makers and elected officials are held responsible to a large constituency in a government, this perceives war an unfavourable choice by the government officials and the general public. This is due to the drawbacks that can occur with war, for example war casualties, high expenditure and damage to infrastructure. Therefore it can be stated that the restraining effects of public opinion have a strong say. (Layne 1994). The regular voter will no longer support the obligatory leader for commencing a redundant war; this delivers a strong official force for the political candidates to expect the outcome of the elections before choosing to go to war.  However this outlook does not perceive the general public and selected government to be liberally incorporated, although on the whole, democratic structures that allow the people of the nation to control decisions made by the government will reduce the chances of a democratic leader initiating war between other liberal democracies. This will make it difficult for leaders of other parties other than liberalists to persuade and influence the nation to go to war with establishments such as freedom of speech, competitive oppositions and political diversity. It is stated however that the normative view point of the peace theory to be more forceful in action and consistent than the structural view point (Geller and Singer 1998).

In the normative view point of Democratic Peace Theory, “normative explanations attribute the democratic peace to shared liberal and democratic norms that makes it impossible for democracies to fight one another” (Brown 1998 p.18). It can be argued that liberal and democratic morals clarify the amity that continues to subsist among democratic nations. This view about democratic culture promotes goodwill and harmony amongst democratic nations that will help resolve disagreements in the best possible manner. According to the Democratic Peace Theory, influential government officials will sort out their discrepancies in reconciliation. Furthermore democracies that care and act in behalf of their people’s concern are perceived to be respected, however non-democracies that act aggressive and have traits of tyranny towards people of their own state are considered being a...

Bibliography: 1) Burchill, S. et al., 2009. Theories of international relations. 4 Edition. England, UK: Palgrave macmillan. Pp 60-61
2) Brown, Micheal. E, 1998. Theories of War and Peace (International Security Readers). 3 Edition. The MIT Press. Pp 18-22
3) Collins, A., 2007. Contemporary Security Studies. 1 Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp 28-32
4) Democratic Peace Theory and Its Critics | The Blirg. 2012. The Democratic Peace Theory and Its Critics | The Blirg. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].
5) Geller, Daniel. S., 1998. Nations at War: A Scientific Study of International Conflict (Cambridge Studies in International Relations).1 Edition. Cambridge University Press, pp 86-88
6) Monadic Peace from a Synthesis of Methodologies | The Yale Review of International Studies. 2012. A Monadic Peace from a Synthesis of Methodologies | The Yale Review of International Studies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].
7)Oerding, S., 2009 Why do democratic states not fight each other? A systemic approach to the democratic peace. Munich, Germany: GRIN Verlag, pp 8 – 10
8)Shimko, Keith L., 2009. International Relations: Perspectives and Controversies. 3 Edition. Wadsworth Publishing, pp 89-113
9)SDI Encyclopedia - Democratic Peace Theory. 2012. SDI Encyclopedia – Democratic Peace Theory. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].
10) The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century by James Ostrowski. 2012. The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century by James Ostrowski. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].
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