International Consequences of Democracy: Peace and Cooperation?
Will the spread of democracy mean the end of war? Can we look forward to a more peaceful world focused on cooperation toward mutual gain instead of conflict and violence? This chapter examines the consequences for international relations of the spread of democracy. Democracy is again treated as the independent variable; the aim is to discover its effects on relations between states and on the nature of the international system.
The scholarly debate contains widely diverging views. One school of thought expects profoundly positive consequences from the spread of democracy; another completely rejects the importance of democracy for international relations. We shall see that these seemingly contrasting views are not entirely incompatible, but first the main arguments in the theoretical debate must be presented.
The argument that democracy is an important force for peace has as its most forceful advocate the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. In his essay "Perpetual Peace," which was published in 1795, Kant developed his argument in several stages.1 First, he pointed to a natural tendency for states to organize in the form of liberal republics because that system of rule bestows legitimacy on the political leaders and promotes popular support for the state, making it well suited to face foreign threats. In other words, states not organized as liberal republics will tend to be unsuccessful.
A "liberal republic" corresponds roughly to what is called a political democracy in this book. Thus, the establishment of democracies in the