Democratic Peace Theory

Doyle (1983) wrote an influential paper on democratic peace, a popular theory in liberal circles for over a hundred years. Citing the statistic that an astonishingly low percentage of wars are fought by democracies, Doyle argues that there is something inherent about democracies that causes this phenomenon. Thankfully he doesn’t outright claim to know why, but he postulates that it could be their inherent mechanism of giving power to the people, or that “collected peoples” are much less likely to go to war with each other than monarchs, as they feel the pain of war most.

Doyle may be right that there is something inherent about democracies that stops them going to war with each other, and has just not explored the amount of possibilities, the number of things today’s democracies have in common. A prominent commonality in most democracies, for instance, is their attachment to the US and in general the World Economic Order. Furthermore, to fully understand this one must properly examine peace. People only go to war if they can get something out of winning. War implies conflict, a clash, and equal to some extent or it would be over in a week. Why would a capitalist superpower go to war with a country that has opened its markets and stabilized its politics? They can just send The Herd in. Whether peace is good is a heavily context-reliant question. Peace can be utopia or an exercise of power by the status quo. The question is, which of these better describe democratic peace?

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