Academic journal article Military Review

Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security

Academic journal article Military Review

Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security

Article excerpt

LIBERAL PEACE, LIBERAL WAR: American Politics and International Security by John M. Owen IV. 224 pages. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 1997. $35.00.

US National Security Strategy is predicated on the assumption that democracies seldom, if ever, wage war against one another. According to John M. Owen IV, democracy-or more appropriately, liberalism, is the multifaceted ideology that prevents nations from fighting each other.

A liberal state is defined as possessing two domestic institutions-- freedom of discussion and regular competitive elections. The peace that is maintained between liberal states cannot be attributed solely to wealth, alliances, geography or any other variable. Peace is maintained because it is believed to be intrinsically good, liberal nations are pacific and trustworthy and relations with other liberal states strengthen internal liberal institutions.

Liberal states do fight wars with nations that are perceived as "illiberal" with the express purpose of making them liberal. Illiberal states are perceived as belligerent and threatening to the liberal states' institutions. …

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