Democratic Peace Theory

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The democratic peace theory was not always seen as the substantial argument and significant contribution to the field of International Relations that it is today. Prior to the 1970’s, it was realist and non-realist thought that took preeminence in political theoretical thinking. Though the democratic peace theory was first criticized for being inaccurate in its claim that democracy promotes peace and as such democracies do not conflict with each other, trends, statistical data, reports have suggested and proved that the democratic peace theory is in fact valid in its claim. (Ray, 1998, pp. 27) Over the years having been refined, developed and amended, it is now most significant in explaining modern politics and it is easy to accept that…show more content…
According to the democratic peace theory, the thought process behind democracies refraining from going to war is that war would bring an end to peace which in turn would only bring damage against themselves. Peace is the main priority and objective- the only way states are able to benefit politically and economically. As such it is maintained through negotiation and cordial relations. According to the democratic peace theory, liberal democracies would therefore only to go to war if it were absolutely necessary, for instance, in order to restore their own liberty. (Bingham, 2013) There are two ways of thinking about the democratic peace theory, which are the structural and normative. According to the structural perspective, liberal democracies are able to avoid war because of constraints on the decision makers. Leaders are not all-powerful or able to misuse their power, decisions to go to war are well thought out, have gone through due processing and measures and involves the opinion of the people. The structural perspective of the democratic peace theory takes into account the structures liberal democratic states have in place that prevent them from going to war with other liberal states such as checks and balances, accountability to the people, limits to terms in office, pluralism and competition. According to Russett (1993, pp. 40), ‘In an economy of checks and balances, the division of power and the presence of public debate in the formulation of public
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