Democracy and Democratization: Processes and Prospects in a Changing World

By Georg Sørensen | Go to book overview

tween countries. The same constraints also pertain to Mearsheimer's theory of peaceful relations between states, which comes out of mainstream neorealism. He claimed that periods of peace between democracies (as well as between all other types of regimes) are due to patterns of alliances in the anarchic state system; in short, two or more states hold together because they face larger threats from other states in the system. Again, it is not possible to completely isolate this element of alliance patterns from all other possibly relevant factors. Theories in social science cannot be subjected to this kind of testing. It should be added that Mearsheimer would have a hard time explaining the hostilities in the 1970s between NATO countries Greece and Turkey with his theory of peace, which focuses solely on alliance and threat patterns.

Although laboratory tests of these theories are not possible, recent historical developments may provide a fairly strong test of Kant versus Mearsheimer. The case is the security community in Western Europe. According to Mearsheimer, the absence of war among Western democracies since 1945 is explained by the Soviet threat; with this threat gone, the Western partners no longer have an external enemy to hold them together. Mearsheimer's theory would predict that relations among them will tend to deteriorate toward raw anarchy, maybe even war. According to Kant, the pacific union among the Western democracies rests on the three pillars of a democratic culture, a common moral foundation, and economic interdependence. Those pillars are not affected by the presence or absence of a Soviet threat. Thus, Kant's theory would predict that the security community will remain intact and perhaps even expand due to the process of democratization in Eastern Europe.

Mearsheimer's arguments are set forth in his article in the journal International Security, cited earlier in this section. Several other scholars have recently argued in the vein of Kant that the security community will remain in place.63 As I have already indicated, I find the arguments for a continued security community much more convincing than Mearsheimer's raw anarchy scenario. Indeed, the current process of further integration in the European Union is a movement toward even stronger cooperation. If the process continues in this direction, it could lead, possibly, to anarchy being transcended.


CONCLUSION

Kant's theory of a possible pacific union between democracies is basically sound. But it is a mistake to think that a pacific union automatically extends to include countries that are in the early stages of a long and tenuous process of democratization or countries that have not developed

-119-

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Democracy and Democratization: Processes and Prospects in a Changing World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Forthcoming iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acronyms xv
  • Introduction 1
  • One - What is Democracy? 3
  • Conclusion 23
  • Two - Processes Of Democratization 24
  • Conclusion 62
  • Three - Domestic Consequences Of Democracy: Growth and Welfare? 64
  • Conclusion 92
  • Four - International Consequences Of Democracy: Peace and Cooperation? 93
  • Conclusion 119
  • Five - The Future of Democracy And Democratization 121
  • Conclusion 134
  • Discussion Questions 137
  • Notes 139
  • Suggested Readings 155
  • Glossary 159
  • About the Book And Author 163
  • Index 165
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