Table of Contents

The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

Elgar original reference

Edited by Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers

By defining political economy and war in the broadest sense, this unique Handbook brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars from economics, political science, sociology, and policy studies to address a multitude of important topics. These include an analysis of why wars begin, how wars are waged, what happens after war has ceased, and the various alternatives to war. Other sections explore civil war and revolution, the arms trade, economic and political systems, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Policymakers as well as academics and students of political science, economics, public policy and sociology will find this volume to be an engaging and enlightening read.

Chapter 15: On the Democratic Peace

Sebastian Rosato

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, political economy, terrorism and security


Sebastian Rosato 15.1 INTRODUCTION Democratic peace theory – the claim that democracies rarely fight one another because they share common norms of live-and-let-live and domestic institutions that constrain the recourse to war – is the most powerful liberal contribution to the debate on the causes of war and peace.1 Its impact on American foreign policy is manifest. President George H.W. Bush was clearly convinced of the link between democracy and peace. “A democratic Russia,” he announced soon after the end of the Cold War, “is the best guarantee against a renewed danger of competition and the threat of nuclear rivalry.” Secretary of State James Baker concurred: “shared democratic values can ensure an enduring and stable peace in a way the balance of terror never could.” Underlying his statement was the belief that “real democracies do not go to war with each other” (quoted in Russett 1993, p. 129). This was also the view of the Clinton administration whose campaign of “democratic enlargement” was premised on the belief that democracies are “far less likely to wage war on one another.” Enlarging the community of democracies, noted National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, “protects our interests and security” (quoted in Henderson 2002, pp. 19–20). As Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Kruzel put it, “the notion that democracies do not go to war with each other. . .has had a substantial impact on policy” (quoted in Ray 2000, p. 299). The belief that spreading democracy would perform the dual task of enhancing American national security...

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