How Freedom Is Won

May 21, 2009

[First published September 11. 2005] Freedom House has published a study on “How Freedom is Won (link here). The study covers all transitions to democracy that have occurred in the last 33 years, 67 of them, and shows that:

Far more often than is generally understood, the change agent is broad-based, nonviolent civic resistance—which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience to de-legitimate authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders.

It goes on to say:

The central conclusion of this study is that how a transition from authoritarianism occurs and the types of forces that are engaged in pressing the transition have significant impact on the success or failure of democratic reform.

The study lists each transition, the factors involved, and provides a narrative on the transition. It concludes that the top down attempts at democratization is less successful than bottom up, nonviolent coalitions. Thus, the best way of aiding democratization from the outside is to:

aid the creation of “civic life,” broad based coalitions,
“transfer knowledge on strategies and tactics of nonviolent civic resistance,”
“provide enhanced resources for independent media and communications,” and
“expand space for nonviolent action through targeted sanctions.”

This is to say:

work to constrain insurrectionist and state violence and to expand the political space for nonviolent civic action. This means that in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections. Democracies also should engage in preventive diplomacy to avert violence and support policies that prevent or limit the spread of violence in its earliest stages.

Because of Freedom House’s intensive and extensive analysis of freedom, nonfreedom, and their transitions for all the world’s countries, as shown in its annual Freedom In the World annual report (the 2005 Report is here), this study on how freedom is won is especially credible.

Does the study have anything to say that is relevant to Iraq and Afghanistan? Yes. I have pulled out the two relevant passages below:

. . . in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections.

Efforts to restore personal security in extremely violent environments in countries that have suffered from war or civil war, therefore, can contribute in the long term to the emergence of civic coalitions for democratic change.

I believe that the American Coalition Iraq and Afghanistan is doing precisely this, while fighting the insurrectionists and terrorists. It is helping and aiding he process of creating a civic society with Iraqis and Afghans having the freedom to form political parties, businesses, educational institution, and other organizations that satisfy diverse interests (this is the invisible part of the war you don’t read much about in the opposition media). And the Coalition has brought in the UN and other international organizations to monitor and supervise democratic elections. The upshot of this Freedom House study is that if the insurrection and terrorism is defeated, the long run success of democracy in these countries looks promising.

A chart
of the democratic peace


The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong

March 10, 2009


click me^–>

[First published September 11, 2005] As a libertarian on domestic policy, I’ve supported, agreed with, and been happy to see much of the policy analyses and recommendations that the CATO Institute has published. It is with sadness, therefore, that I must point out how bad is CATO’s Chapter 2 in their Ninth Annual Ranking of Economic Freedom. Perhaps I can encourage them to be more careful in the future about their publications.

It is more than appropriate to focus a critique on this chapter by the Columbia University Political Scientist, Erik Gartzke , since it is not buried in the report, but given fanfare in CATO’s news release:

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report, released Thursday by the Cato Institute in conjunction with the Fraser Institute of Canada.

This is not only wrong, but also the Chapter 2 study on which this is based is incompetent. Even the very data Gartzke’s analyzes contradicts the above claim. For example, as I will document below, in his data there are NO (zero) wars between democracies over almost two-centuries. How can economic freedom improve on that, not to mention being 50 times better?

Dean Esmay (blog here) and Colleague had independently pointed me toward the blog by Daniel W. Drezner (here), which favorably reported on this CATO study, repeating not only what CATO says in its press release, but adding Garzke’s conclusion:

The results here suggest that efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and in other regions dominated by autocratic governments through democratization are of particularly questionable worth.

This is the particular danger of the Gartzke’s study, and the reason it was so important beyond CATO’s reputation or it to have been especially careful in including this in their report. It may well lead intelligent and policy-wise analysts and commentators to draw the wrong conclusions about the importance of democratization.

Now, for the details. I’ve gone to the study to see how it arrived at a conclusion that contradicts so much research on the democratic peace. It is here. First, some nitpicking. It is wrong to say, as Drezner does, that: “researchers have found that democracies are less likely to fight each other, while being no less ready to use force generally.” Presumably, the “no less ready” refers to nondemocracies. I published an article on this, “Democracies are less warlike than other regimes,” (here) in which I showed the errors in claims such as Drezner’s, and established empirically that in the 20th Century, democracies engage much less in severe foreign violence than do nondemocracies.

Gartzke says further that: “Democracy is desirable for many reasons but policies that encourage, or even seek to impose, representative government are unlikely to contribute directly to international peace.” There is that misbegotten “impose” again. This is a misunderstanding in what democratization of other countries means. See my blog, “Unchaining Human Rights, Not Imposing Democracy,” on this here.

He also says that, “Developing countries do not benefit from a democratic peace.” Consistently, whether developed or not, developing or not,” the democratic peace of no wars between democracies holds. When there were, depending on the year, 25, 50, 80, or 117 democracies, as of now, the list surely includes all developing democracies as well as those at all levels of development. Yet, no two of them make war on each other. But, he claims that his study finds otherwise. He can only claim this and that democracies are unlikely to contribute to peace by ignoring his own data

So, lets look at his data. These are the Militarized Dispute Data (MID) set on “violence” that is widely available. The particular set he used is for 1816 to 2000. I’ve looked at the original data 1816-1992 in detail, and covered in my own collection the eight additional years to year 2000. (As to the original data set, see Frank W. Wayman’s paper on the “Incidence Of Militarized Disputes Between Liberal States,”) and Daniel M. Jones, Stuart A. Bremer, and J. David Singer, “Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816-1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, And Empirical Patterns”).

For one, the MID data involves threats, military action (e.g., alerts, mobilization, and hostile movements), and violence short of 1,000 killed. Note that in using these data Gartzke confounds nonviolence with violence, a serious mistake in evaluating the democratic peace since it concerns only violence (some researchers limit this to war, but I do not and consider any combat deaths to be relevant). Still, it may be that his data is capturing enough violence between democracies to be useful.

So how many incidents of violence between democracies are there? In the whole data set, OVER ALMOST TWO CENTURIES, out of 350 cases for all nations (up to 1992), and in the eight additional years, there are ZERO (0) CASES OF WAR, between democracies, and only 3 cases of violence between democracies in which someone was killed. Two of these involved Peru and Ecuador in 1981 and 1984 (26 to 100 killed in the first and 1-25 in the second case of violence). In 1981 Peru was only marginally democratic, as was Ecuador, but less so. This was also true of Peru and Ecuador in 1984. The only other case of violence in the data set was marginally democratic Ecuador (initiator) vs. the U.S. in 1954 in which 1-25 were killed.

Given that this is not the best data set to test the democratic peace against economic freedom, how does he do the test? He uses multiple regression analysis to regress MID on economic freedom, democracy, and a number of other variables. Before evaluating this analysis, I should note from my own study that the correlation between economic freedom and democraticy is high. In fact, they form a common dimension among nations with many other human security and economic variables, and with which democraticy is correlated .83 and economic freedom .85 (table here). Their common , as apart from accidental or random correlation, is therefore, .85 X .83 = .70, which is high. (To better see this relationship, look at the table and figure in my “The Solution to Mass Poverty Blog” here).

This correlation is meaningful for the kind of regression analysis Gartzke did, but he apparently doesn’t know it. A problem in regression analysis is multicollinearity, which is to say moderate or high correlations among the independent variables. If two independent variables are highly correlated they are no longer statistically independent, and the first one entered into the regression, in this case economic freedom, steals that part of the correlation it has with democracy from the dependent variable. Thus, economic freedom is highly significant, while democracy is not. If Gartzke had done two bivariate regressions on his MID data, one with economic freedom and other with democracy as the independent variables, he surely would have found democracy highly significant. (An important statistical point about his use of significance tests — he is not analyzing a sample, but the universe of cases — thus standard significance tests are irrelevant). To protect against multicollinearity in his multiple regression, he should have orthogonalized the independent variables, which is to make them statistically independent of each other. Orthogonalization can be done through factor analysis, and then using the resulting factor scores in the regression.

Thus, his CATO acclaimed results are a result of his misuse of multiple regression and an ignorance of what is in his data. Even then, given his dependent variable, were the regression analysis properly done, I don’ think his data consisting of nonviolent and violent acts would be relevant to what is meant by democratic freedom and violence.

I did my own analysis of democracy, violence, economic development and economic freedom, plus some other human development variables. I asked: Can we predict the level of a nation’s human security (which includes violence) by knowing its level of democracy (analysis here). The final regression is of logviolence factor scores on the factor scores of freedom and human development (thus erasing the problem of multicollinearity), and dummy variables as to whether Moslem or not, or Christian or not (given the purpose of the regression, it did not matter if these two were correlated with the other impendent variables or each other). The regression was excellent, accounting for 74 percent of the variation in violence (with residuals properly dispersed), with democracy (freedom) being far more significant than human development (see Table A.23 here), which includes economic freedom.

How could CATO let such a poor study into their prime report? Was it their libertarian opposition to intervention abroad, even if it is in favor of democracy? Was it their libertarian dislike of the democratic peace, shown by so many libertarian anti-democratic peace articles? Whatever. After reviewing the one study on what I know something about and finding it so poor, it provokes a questioning of their other studies in areas I know less about.


Link of Day

“Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” (just released by the Pentagon)

Deterrence is live and well. This strategic policy report elaborates on American nuclear policy, including that of preemption or FIRST USE, which bush signed off on in 1992. I consider this the most important document on defense policy issued in the last ten years. For those who are bored by such documentation, consider that it was decisions like this about American strategic policy that brought victory in the Cold War, without a world hot war.


Links I Must Share

“Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan”:

he Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

[RJR: one view of the above report]

“New Pentagon plans envision possible nuclear strikes”:

A Pentagon planning document being updated to reflect the doctrine of pre-emption declared by President Bush in 2002 envisions the use of nuclear weapons to deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies.

[RJR: Another view]

Arms Control Wonk:

The Joint Staff hates freedom. What else should I conclude when its staff knowingly place classified material they believe could be harmful to national security on a public webserver?

[A professional arm controller’s view]
Democratic Peace
Books/articles/statistics


The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong

March 10, 2009


click me^–>

[First published September 11, 2005] As a libertarian on domestic policy, I’ve supported, agreed with, and been happy to see much of the policy analyses and recommendations that the CATO Institute has published. It is with sadness, therefore, that I must point out how bad is CATO’s Chapter 2 in their Ninth Annual Ranking of Economic Freedom. Perhaps I can encourage them to be more careful in the future about their publications.

It is more than appropriate to focus a critique on this chapter by the Columbia University Political Scientist, Erik Gartzke , since it is not buried in the report, but given fanfare in CATO’s news release:

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report, released Thursday by the Cato Institute in conjunction with the Fraser Institute of Canada.

This is not only wrong, but also the Chapter 2 study on which this is based is incompetent. Even the very data Gartzke’s analyzes contradicts the above claim. For example, as I will document below, in his data there are NO (zero) wars between democracies over almost two-centuries. How can economic freedom improve on that, not to mention being 50 times better?

Dean Esmay (blog here) and Colleague had independently pointed me toward the blog by Daniel W. Drezner (here), which favorably reported on this CATO study, repeating not only what CATO says in its press release, but adding Garzke’s conclusion:

The results here suggest that efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and in other regions dominated by autocratic governments through democratization are of particularly questionable worth.

This is the particular danger of the Gartzke’s study, and the reason it was so important beyond CATO’s reputation or it to have been especially careful in including this in their report. It may well lead intelligent and policy-wise analysts and commentators to draw the wrong conclusions about the importance of democratization.

Now, for the details. I’ve gone to the study to see how it arrived at a conclusion that contradicts so much research on the democratic peace. It is here. First, some nitpicking. It is wrong to say, as Drezner does, that: “researchers have found that democracies are less likely to fight each other, while being no less ready to use force generally.” Presumably, the “no less ready” refers to nondemocracies. I published an article on this, “Democracies are less warlike than other regimes,” (here) in which I showed the errors in claims such as Drezner’s, and established empirically that in the 20th Century, democracies engage much less in severe foreign violence than do nondemocracies.

Gartzke says further that: “Democracy is desirable for many reasons but policies that encourage, or even seek to impose, representative government are unlikely to contribute directly to international peace.” There is that misbegotten “impose” again. This is a misunderstanding in what democratization of other countries means. See my blog, “Unchaining Human Rights, Not Imposing Democracy,” on this here.

He also says that, “Developing countries do not benefit from a democratic peace.” Consistently, whether developed or not, developing or not,” the democratic peace of no wars between democracies holds. When there were, depending on the year, 25, 50, 80, or 117 democracies, as of now, the list surely includes all developing democracies as well as those at all levels of development. Yet, no two of them make war on each other. But, he claims that his study finds otherwise. He can only claim this and that democracies are unlikely to contribute to peace by ignoring his own data

So, lets look at his data. These are the Militarized Dispute Data (MID) set on “violence” that is widely available. The particular set he used is for 1816 to 2000. I’ve looked at the original data 1816-1992 in detail, and covered in my own collection the eight additional years to year 2000. (As to the original data set, see Frank W. Wayman’s paper on the “Incidence Of Militarized Disputes Between Liberal States,”) and Daniel M. Jones, Stuart A. Bremer, and J. David Singer, “Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816-1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, And Empirical Patterns”).

For one, the MID data involves threats, military action (e.g., alerts, mobilization, and hostile movements), and violence short of 1,000 killed. Note that in using these data Gartzke confounds nonviolence with violence, a serious mistake in evaluating the democratic peace since it concerns only violence (some researchers limit this to war, but I do not and consider any combat deaths to be relevant). Still, it may be that his data is capturing enough violence between democracies to be useful.

So how many incidents of violence between democracies are there? In the whole data set, OVER ALMOST TWO CENTURIES, out of 350 cases for all nations (up to 1992), and in the eight additional years, there are ZERO (0) CASES OF WAR, between democracies, and only 3 cases of violence between democracies in which someone was killed. Two of these involved Peru and Ecuador in 1981 and 1984 (26 to 100 killed in the first and 1-25 in the second case of violence). In 1981 Peru was only marginally democratic, as was Ecuador, but less so. This was also true of Peru and Ecuador in 1984. The only other case of violence in the data set was marginally democratic Ecuador (initiator) vs. the U.S. in 1954 in which 1-25 were killed.

Given that this is not the best data set to test the democratic peace against economic freedom, how does he do the test? He uses multiple regression analysis to regress MID on economic freedom, democracy, and a number of other variables. Before evaluating this analysis, I should note from my own study that the correlation between economic freedom and democraticy is high. In fact, they form a common dimension among nations with many other human security and economic variables, and with which democraticy is correlated .83 and economic freedom .85 (table here). Their common , as apart from accidental or random correlation, is therefore, .85 X .83 = .70, which is high. (To better see this relationship, look at the table and figure in my “The Solution to Mass Poverty Blog” here).

This correlation is meaningful for the kind of regression analysis Gartzke did, but he apparently doesn’t know it. A problem in regression analysis is multicollinearity, which is to say moderate or high correlations among the independent variables. If two independent variables are highly correlated they are no longer statistically independent, and the first one entered into the regression, in this case economic freedom, steals that part of the correlation it has with democracy from the dependent variable. Thus, economic freedom is highly significant, while democracy is not. If Gartzke had done two bivariate regressions on his MID data, one with economic freedom and other with democracy as the independent variables, he surely would have found democracy highly significant. (An important statistical point about his use of significance tests — he is not analyzing a sample, but the universe of cases — thus standard significance tests are irrelevant). To protect against multicollinearity in his multiple regression, he should have orthogonalized the independent variables, which is to make them statistically independent of each other. Orthogonalization can be done through factor analysis, and then using the resulting factor scores in the regression.

Thus, his CATO acclaimed results are a result of his misuse of multiple regression and an ignorance of what is in his data. Even then, given his dependent variable, were the regression analysis properly done, I don’ think his data consisting of nonviolent and violent acts would be relevant to what is meant by democratic freedom and violence.

I did my own analysis of democracy, violence, economic development and economic freedom, plus some other human development variables. I asked: Can we predict the level of a nation’s human security (which includes violence) by knowing its level of democracy (analysis here). The final regression is of logviolence factor scores on the factor scores of freedom and human development (thus erasing the problem of multicollinearity), and dummy variables as to whether Moslem or not, or Christian or not (given the purpose of the regression, it did not matter if these two were correlated with the other impendent variables or each other). The regression was excellent, accounting for 74 percent of the variation in violence (with residuals properly dispersed), with democracy (freedom) being far more significant than human development (see Table A.23 here), which includes economic freedom.

How could CATO let such a poor study into their prime report? Was it their libertarian opposition to intervention abroad, even if it is in favor of democracy? Was it their libertarian dislike of the democratic peace, shown by so many libertarian anti-democratic peace articles? Whatever. After reviewing the one study on what I know something about and finding it so poor, it provokes a questioning of their other studies in areas I know less about.


Link of Day

“Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” (just released by the Pentagon)

Deterrence is live and well. This strategic policy report elaborates on American nuclear policy, including that of preemption or FIRST USE, which bush signed off on in 1992. I consider this the most important document on defense policy issued in the last ten years. For those who are bored by such documentation, consider that it was decisions like this about American strategic policy that brought victory in the Cold War, without a world hot war.


Links I Must Share

“Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan”:

he Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

[RJR: one view of the above report]

“New Pentagon plans envision possible nuclear strikes”:

A Pentagon planning document being updated to reflect the doctrine of pre-emption declared by President Bush in 2002 envisions the use of nuclear weapons to deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies.

[RJR: Another view]

Arms Control Wonk:

The Joint Staff hates freedom. What else should I conclude when its staff knowingly place classified material they believe could be harmful to national security on a public webserver?

[A professional arm controller’s view]
Democratic Peace
Books/articles/statistics


The CATO Institute Gets It All Wrong

March 10, 2009


click me^–>

[First published September 11, 2005] As a libertarian on domestic policy, I’ve supported, agreed with, and been happy to see much of the policy analyses and recommendations that the CATO Institute has published. It is with sadness, therefore, that I must point out how bad is CATO’s Chapter 2 in their Ninth Annual Ranking of Economic Freedom. Perhaps I can encourage them to be more careful in the future about their publications.

It is more than appropriate to focus a critique on this chapter by the Columbia University Political Scientist, Erik Gartzke , since it is not buried in the report, but given fanfare in CATO’s news release:

Economic freedom is almost 50 times more effective than democracy in restraining nations from going to war, according to the Economic Freedom of the World: 2005 Annual Report, released Thursday by the Cato Institute in conjunction with the Fraser Institute of Canada.

This is not only wrong, but also the Chapter 2 study on which this is based is incompetent. Even the very data Gartzke’s analyzes contradicts the above claim. For example, as I will document below, in his data there are NO (zero) wars between democracies over almost two-centuries. How can economic freedom improve on that, not to mention being 50 times better?

Dean Esmay (blog here) and Colleague had independently pointed me toward the blog by Daniel W. Drezner (here), which favorably reported on this CATO study, repeating not only what CATO says in its press release, but adding Garzke’s conclusion:

The results here suggest that efforts to promote peace in the Middle East and in other regions dominated by autocratic governments through democratization are of particularly questionable worth.

This is the particular danger of the Gartzke’s study, and the reason it was so important beyond CATO’s reputation or it to have been especially careful in including this in their report. It may well lead intelligent and policy-wise analysts and commentators to draw the wrong conclusions about the importance of democratization.

Now, for the details. I’ve gone to the study to see how it arrived at a conclusion that contradicts so much research on the democratic peace. It is here. First, some nitpicking. It is wrong to say, as Drezner does, that: “researchers have found that democracies are less likely to fight each other, while being no less ready to use force generally.” Presumably, the “no less ready” refers to nondemocracies. I published an article on this, “Democracies are less warlike than other regimes,” (here) in which I showed the errors in claims such as Drezner’s, and established empirically that in the 20th Century, democracies engage much less in severe foreign violence than do nondemocracies.

Gartzke says further that: “Democracy is desirable for many reasons but policies that encourage, or even seek to impose, representative government are unlikely to contribute directly to international peace.” There is that misbegotten “impose” again. This is a misunderstanding in what democratization of other countries means. See my blog, “Unchaining Human Rights, Not Imposing Democracy,” on this here.

He also says that, “Developing countries do not benefit from a democratic peace.” Consistently, whether developed or not, developing or not,” the democratic peace of no wars between democracies holds. When there were, depending on the year, 25, 50, 80, or 117 democracies, as of now, the list surely includes all developing democracies as well as those at all levels of development. Yet, no two of them make war on each other. But, he claims that his study finds otherwise. He can only claim this and that democracies are unlikely to contribute to peace by ignoring his own data

So, lets look at his data. These are the Militarized Dispute Data (MID) set on “violence” that is widely available. The particular set he used is for 1816 to 2000. I’ve looked at the original data 1816-1992 in detail, and covered in my own collection the eight additional years to year 2000. (As to the original data set, see Frank W. Wayman’s paper on the “Incidence Of Militarized Disputes Between Liberal States,”) and Daniel M. Jones, Stuart A. Bremer, and J. David Singer, “Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816-1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, And Empirical Patterns”).

For one, the MID data involves threats, military action (e.g., alerts, mobilization, and hostile movements), and violence short of 1,000 killed. Note that in using these data Gartzke confounds nonviolence with violence, a serious mistake in evaluating the democratic peace since it concerns only violence (some researchers limit this to war, but I do not and consider any combat deaths to be relevant). Still, it may be that his data is capturing enough violence between democracies to be useful.

So how many incidents of violence between democracies are there? In the whole data set, OVER ALMOST TWO CENTURIES, out of 350 cases for all nations (up to 1992), and in the eight additional years, there are ZERO (0) CASES OF WAR, between democracies, and only 3 cases of violence between democracies in which someone was killed. Two of these involved Peru and Ecuador in 1981 and 1984 (26 to 100 killed in the first and 1-25 in the second case of violence). In 1981 Peru was only marginally democratic, as was Ecuador, but less so. This was also true of Peru and Ecuador in 1984. The only other case of violence in the data set was marginally democratic Ecuador (initiator) vs. the U.S. in 1954 in which 1-25 were killed.

Given that this is not the best data set to test the democratic peace against economic freedom, how does he do the test? He uses multiple regression analysis to regress MID on economic freedom, democracy, and a number of other variables. Before evaluating this analysis, I should note from my own study that the correlation between economic freedom and democraticy is high. In fact, they form a common dimension among nations with many other human security and economic variables, and with which democraticy is correlated .83 and economic freedom .85 (table here). Their common , as apart from accidental or random correlation, is therefore, .85 X .83 = .70, which is high. (To better see this relationship, look at the table and figure in my “The Solution to Mass Poverty Blog” here).

This correlation is meaningful for the kind of regression analysis Gartzke did, but he apparently doesn’t know it. A problem in regression analysis is multicollinearity, which is to say moderate or high correlations among the independent variables. If two independent variables are highly correlated they are no longer statistically independent, and the first one entered into the regression, in this case economic freedom, steals that part of the correlation it has with democracy from the dependent variable. Thus, economic freedom is highly significant, while democracy is not. If Gartzke had done two bivariate regressions on his MID data, one with economic freedom and other with democracy as the independent variables, he surely would have found democracy highly significant. (An important statistical point about his use of significance tests — he is not analyzing a sample, but the universe of cases — thus standard significance tests are irrelevant). To protect against multicollinearity in his multiple regression, he should have orthogonalized the independent variables, which is to make them statistically independent of each other. Orthogonalization can be done through factor analysis, and then using the resulting factor scores in the regression.

Thus, his CATO acclaimed results are a result of his misuse of multiple regression and an ignorance of what is in his data. Even then, given his dependent variable, were the regression analysis properly done, I don’ think his data consisting of nonviolent and violent acts would be relevant to what is meant by democratic freedom and violence.

I did my own analysis of democracy, violence, economic development and economic freedom, plus some other human development variables. I asked: Can we predict the level of a nation’s human security (which includes violence) by knowing its level of democracy (analysis here). The final regression is of logviolence factor scores on the factor scores of freedom and human development (thus erasing the problem of multicollinearity), and dummy variables as to whether Moslem or not, or Christian or not (given the purpose of the regression, it did not matter if these two were correlated with the other impendent variables or each other). The regression was excellent, accounting for 74 percent of the variation in violence (with residuals properly dispersed), with democracy (freedom) being far more significant than human development (see Table A.23 here), which includes economic freedom.

How could CATO let such a poor study into their prime report? Was it their libertarian opposition to intervention abroad, even if it is in favor of democracy? Was it their libertarian dislike of the democratic peace, shown by so many libertarian anti-democratic peace articles? Whatever. After reviewing the one study on what I know something about and finding it so poor, it provokes a questioning of their other studies in areas I know less about.


Link of Day

“Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations” (just released by the Pentagon)

Deterrence is live and well. This strategic policy report elaborates on American nuclear policy, including that of preemption or FIRST USE, which bush signed off on in 1992. I consider this the most important document on defense policy issued in the last ten years. For those who are bored by such documentation, consider that it was decisions like this about American strategic policy that brought victory in the Cold War, without a world hot war.


Links I Must Share

“Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan”:

he Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

[RJR: one view of the above report]

“New Pentagon plans envision possible nuclear strikes”:

A Pentagon planning document being updated to reflect the doctrine of pre-emption declared by President Bush in 2002 envisions the use of nuclear weapons to deter terrorists from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States or its allies.

[RJR: Another view]

Arms Control Wonk:

The Joint Staff hates freedom. What else should I conclude when its staff knowingly place classified material they believe could be harmful to national security on a public webserver?

[A professional arm controller’s view]
Democratic Peace
Books/articles/statistics


The Democratic Peace

March 5, 2009

[First published October 21, 2005] In spite of the violence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Angola, and elsewhere, there is a cause for much optimism. World violence has been in sharp decline for over five years, and the march of democratization continues with about 119 [as of 2008] democracies now existing, and 8 [as of 2008] of them liberal democracies. In almost every country where elites have been persuaded of the value of socialism there is now talk of multiparty systems, democracy, and the free market. Even in the classical authoritarian systems, such as those in the Middle East, voices are heard for a free press, legislative power, and political parties.

Obviously, we are riding a democratic wave. The technology of the mass media has brought us all closer together (and who can forget watching the elections in Afghanistan and then Iraq) and in its universal availability and content it has carried implicitly the message of democracy and freedom. And freedom and the rule of law itself has become the most universally accepted political idea and human right, even enshrined in the UN Human Rights Convention

The components of this idea are clear in broad brush although the details, as always, are subject to academic dispute. These are political rights, such as to compete and choose one’s candidates for political power, equal and secret ballot, and freedom to organize and protest against office holders; and for liberal democracies, civil rights, such as freedom of religion, organization, and speech. Often we collectively refer to these rights by the term Rule of Law, a basic constitutional order that protects these rights and that lies above the whims of government, groups, and individuals.

But in our enthusiasm for the global movement toward democracy, we should ask ourselves why we support it. A century and more ago the answer would have been almost automatic, as it was for the writers of the American Constitution. It is a natural law, an inalienable right, and a self-evident principle that people should be free. But natural law is no longer intellectually popular and indeed the idea is now so strange that journalists cannot understand the references to it by conservative nominees to the American Supreme Court. They classify it along with such sayings as, “God wills it.”

A currently more respectable justification for democracy is that freedom is a fundamental human value and desire. People want to live their own lives, pursue their own interests as free from the meddling of others as possible. If such intrusion is necessary, they want to play a role in determining the who, what, and when of it. And since this is what people universally want it is what they should have. Although the non sequitur in this argument is glaring–one cannot derive a “should” from a “want” or “desire” alone–it at least can be made respectable by reference to the Social Contract Theory of justice. That is, if we argue that a just social system is one whose fundamental principles people would universally choose if they were blind to their selfish interests (if they had no knowledge of where they would end up in that system–rich or poor, tall or fat, black or white), then persuasive is the argument that people would choose as their first principle freedom under the Rule of Law.

But this approach to justifying democracy has been unsatisfactory to many. We live in a utilitarian age and it is hardly strange that the major justification for democracy should be in terms of its consequences. Particularly, that where people are free under law that is fair and equally applied to all, they are most happy. Of course, this utilitarian justification itself is subject to question. What is happiness? Although people prefer happiness to sadness, grief, and pain, do they really know what will make them happy?

The democrat argues that we really do not know what makes people happy in general and that this is something that only they can decide for themselves, and if for some issues it must be determined generally, as with regard to pollution or public education, it should be through publicly elected representatives under law. And the democratic individualist has argued further with their democratic socialist friends that the free market is a necessary mechanism through which individuals have the greatest choice as to what will make them happy, both in the relative diversity and cheapness of goods and in the creation and dissemination of wealth.

This utilitarian argument for democracy is what has now won the battle for the minds of men. Democracy, it is widely believed, assures the happiness of the greatest number because it provides freedom and wealth (through economic development). There is much to quibble about this, as can be seen in the arguments between various political parties, and I do not intend to get into these debates. But leaving these details aside, I think that we can accept this as the general argument of the American, Soviet, or Chinese democrat (even those who favor social democracy no longer mean full-scale socialism but now mean a free market qualified by government welfare, safety nets, regulation, and limited government ownership of basic services and production, such as in the public health sector).

But those who make this utilitarian argument for democracy have missed perhaps the strongest possible justification. Democracy preserves human life. In theory and fact, the more democratic two states, the less deadly violence between them; and if they are both democratic, lethal violence is precluded altogether. That is, democratic states do not make war on each other. Moreover, the less democratic two states, the more probable war between them. And also, the less democratic a state, the more likely will occur internal warfare.

This is not all. Perhaps least surprising is that the less democratic a government, the more likely that it will murder its own citizens in cold blood, independent of any foreign or domestic war.

Now, war is not the most deadly form of violence. Indeed, I have found that while about 37,000,000 people have been killed in battle in all foreign and domestic wars in the last century, government democide (genocide and mass murder) have killed about 175 million, most by far by totalitarian governments. There is no case of democratic governments murdering en masse their own citizens.

The point is this. If a utilitarian justification for democracy is to be given, then in addition to the happiness that follows from freedom and the from wealth produced by the free market, democracy preserves and extends human life. It does this through the life extending benefits of the market (as in food production). But most important, it does this through the reduction of deadly violence. Democracy is the successful institutionalization of the forces, culture, and techniques of non-violence.

This is also what we should be shouting from the roof tops. This is also what should be the substance of our utilitarian justification for democracy. Yes, freedom. Yes, development. Yes, happiness. But yes, also life for those saved from murder by their own governments and death from war.

Nothing is certain about the future, but this is true of all predictions based on past events, natural or social. Within this limitation think about this. By fact and theory, we appear to have within the power of democracy the opportunity to end war, genocide, and mass murder, and minimize revolutionary and civil violence. And the epochal movement of our times is toward universal democracy.

It is true that a few political leaders such as President George Bush and practitioners have already pointed out that democracies do not make war on each other. But this has not been a general understanding; virtually no journalists mention this in their analyses of democracy and contemporary trends. I have yet to hear or read about an expert, academic or otherwise, mentioning this in a media interview. Why is this?

First, until recent decades there has been an historic erosion of the tenets of classical liberalism and its faith in democracy and the free market. The pacific nature of democracy is a matter of insight and knowledge gained and lost among liberals. So long ago as 1795, in his virtually now forgotten Perpetual Peace, Immanuel Kant systematically articulated the positive role of republicanism in eliminating war. He proposed that constitutional republics should be established to assure universal peace. The essential idea was this: the more freedom people have to govern their own lives, the more government power is limited constitutionally, the more leaders are responsible through free elections to their people, then the more restrained the leaders will be in making war.

Through the writings of Kant, de Montesquieu, Thomas Paine, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill, among others, it became an article of classical liberal faith in the 18th and 19th centuries that “Government on the old system,” as Paine wrote, “is an assumption of power, for the aggrandizement of itself; on the new [republican form of government as just established in the United States], a delegation of power for the common benefit of society. The former supports itself by keeping up a system of war; the latter promotes a system of peace, as the true means of enriching a nation.”

These liberals believed that there was a natural harmony of interests among nations, and that free trade would facilitate this harmony and promote peace. Most important, they were convinced that monarchical aristocracies had a stake in war. In contemporary terms, it was a game they played with the lives of the common folk. Empower the common people to make such decisions through their representatives, and they would generally oppose war.

In the 18th Century, classical liberals wrote about democracy and peace in the abstract, by hypothesis. Reason, the instrument for uncovering natural law, was their guide. Now we have the longer historical record, empirical research, and social theory to show that indeed, their reason and intuition were not misplaced.

Nonetheless, by the middle of the 20th century, this insight became almost completely ignored or forgotten. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, the classical liberal view itself fell into disrepute among intellectuals and scholars. Essentially, classical liberals believed that the government that governs least governs best. Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was their economic bible. And in current terms, they preached democratic capitalism. But beginning in the 19th century capitalism came under increasing attack by socialists. First, the socialist agreed with the classical liberal that the people had to be empowered, and that this would bring peace. But what the socialist saw when the liberal creed was enacted into law, especially in Britain, was that the bellicose aristocracies were replaced by bellicose capitalists. Democracies and their attendant free market appeared to foster exploitation, inequality, poverty, and to enable a very few to rule over the many. Most important here, capitalism was seen not just to promote, but to require colonialism and imperialism, and thereby war.

But what was to be done? Here the socialists divided essentially into the democratic socialists, state socialists, and Marxists. The democratic socialists argued that true democracy means that both the political and economic aspects of their lives must be under the people’s control, and this is done through a representative government and government ownership, control, and management of the economy. Elected representatives, who would oversee economic planners and managers, and above all be responsive to popular majorities, would thus replace the capitalist. With the aristocratic and capitalist interests in war thus eliminated, with the peace oriented worker and peasant democratically empowered, peace would be assured.

The state socialists, however, would simply replace representative institutions with some form of socialist dictatorship. This would assure the best implementation and progress of socialist egalitarianism, without interference by the bourgeoisie and other self-serving interests. Moreover, the people cannot be trusted to know their own interests, for they are easily blinded by pro-capitalist propaganda and manipulation. Burma today is an example of state socialism in practice.

While agreeing on much of the socialist analysis of capitalism, the Marxists added a deterministic, dialectical theory of history, a class analysis of societies, an economic theory of capitalism, and the necessity of the impoverishment of the worker and the inevitability of a communist revolution. However, the Marxists disagreed with the socialists on the ends. Never far from the anarchists, the Marxists, especially the Marxist-Leninists of our century, looked at the socialist state that would come into being with the overthrow of capitalism as nothing more than an intermediary dictatorship of the proletariat through which the transition to the final stage of communism would be prepared. And stripped of its feudal or capitalist exploiters, and thus its agents of war, communism would mean enlightened cooperation among all people as each works according to his ability and receives according to his need. The state then would wither away, and the masses would live in true, everlasting peace and freedom.

Regardless of the brand of socialism from which the critique of capitalism ensued, the protracted 19th century socialist assault on capitalism had a profound effect on liberalism and especially the theory of war and peace. Falling into disrepute, its program seen as utopian or special pleading for capitalists, pure classical liberalism mutated among western intellectuals into a reform or welfare liberalism that is hardly different today from the programs and views of the early socialists. And this modern liberalism, or “liberalism” as it is now called, has been heavily influenced by the socialist view of war; and became widely influential in scholarly research on international relations, and thus war and peace. It must be recognized that such research was largely the preserve of the social sciences, and an overwhelming number of social scientists were by the mid-20th century modern liberals or socialists in their outlook.

But what happened to the idea that individual freedom promotes nonviolence? With the protracted socialist attack on the classical liberal’s fundamental belief in capitalism, coupled with the apparent excesses of capitalism, such as sweat shops, robber barons, monopolies, depressions, and political corruption, classical liberalism eventually lost the heart and minds of Western intellectuals. And with this defeat went its fundamental truth about democracy promoting peace. Interestingly, in the last decade there has been a resurgence of classical liberalism. Former President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher exemplify this, and their often-expressed views on the positive role of free institutions for peace are straight out of classical liberalism. This renewal, however, has yet to have much influence on the media, professionals, or social scientists.

This is not to say that most democrats view capitalist political-economic systems as the cause of war, as asserted by hard-line socialists. Many who think and write about these matters generally view capitalism as one cause among several. They have moved to a middle position: both capitalism and socialism can be a source of peace or war, depending on the circumstances. In either case, neither is a general factor in war.

Now, capitalism and democracy is not the same thing. Democratic socialist systems exist, as in Sweden and Denmark, as do authoritarian capitalist systems like Chile, and Taiwan, or South Korea of a decade ago. Why then has the peace-making effects of democratic freedoms been tossed out with capitalism? As mentioned, these freedoms were part of an ideology emphasizing capitalism–as the ideology retreated, so did its belief in the positive role of freedom in peace. But there are other factors at work here that are at least as important.

One of these factors causing many to reject democracy’s peacefulness is a misreading of history. It was believed that democracies not only do go to war, but they can be very aggressive. Americans could easily note their American-Indian Wars, Mexican-American and Spanish American wars, and of course the Civil War And even if one argues that the United States was dragged into both World Wars, there are the invasions of Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Then, of course, there is Great Britain, which between 1850 and 1941 fought twenty wars, more than any other state. France, also a democracy for most of this period, fought the next most at eighteen. The United States fought seven. These three nations alone fought 63 percent of all the wars during these ninety-two years. Of course, Britain did not become a true democracy until 1884 with the extension of the franchise to agricultural workers, but she was afterwards still involved in numerous European and colonial wars. The historical record of democracies thus appeared no better than that of other regimes; and the classical liberal belief in the peacefulness of democracies seemed nothing more than bad theory or misplaced faith.

But all other types of regimes seemed equally bellicose. The supposed peacefulness of socialist systems was belied by the aggressiveness of its two major totalitarian variants, that of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany; and other types of regimes, whether authoritarian dictatorships like Japan before World War II, or absolute monarchies like czarist Russia before World War I, appeared no less warlike. The verdict was and largely still is an easy one–all types of political, or politico-economic, systems make war; none is especially pacific. Clearly articulated in Kenneth Waltz’s widely read Man, the State and War, this critique is today the consensus view of American academics and intellectuals. Among students of international relations, it is the major alternative belief to that of the inherent bellicosity of capitalist systems.

How could it be missed that democracies do not make war on each other and are generally more peaceful? For one there has been an unfortunate tendency to focus on the many wars of a few democracies while ignoring the many wars of many nondemocracies. Moreover, to the disadvantage of democracies, there is an inclination to treat all wars equally, such that the American invasion of Grenada, the Falklands War, and World War II, are each counted as one war.

Still, how could it be missed that democracies do not make war on each other? The problem is that many who write and speak about these issues do not ordinarily think dyadically. They think of nations as developed or undeveloped, strong or weak, democratic or undemocratic, large or small, belligerent or not. That is, they think monadically.

Like so much in life, this is a matter of perspective. A shift in focus to bilateral relations shows that when two nations are stable democracies, no wars occur between them. Even going back to the classical Greek democracies, the democratic guilds and principalities of the Middle Ages, the democratic Swiss forest states, or the democratic city-states of Italy, there was no full-scale war between those that were democratic in institutions and spirit; nor has research by political scientists uncovered any wars between stable democracies in the 19th or 20th centuries. And this still holds true today, even though the number of democratic states has grown to at least 117, 88 of them liberal democracies, or about 44 percent of the world’s population.

Just consider that in a world where contiguous nations often use violence to settle their differences or at least have armed borders between them, the United States and Canada have had for generations a long, completely unarmed border. Even in Europe, the historical cauldron of war, once all Western European nations became democratic they no longer have armed against each other. Indeed, the expectation of war among them became zero. That all this should be missed shows how powerfully misleading an improper historical perspective or model can be.

There is one more factor at work in the rejection of the classical liberal view of democracy and peace. Beginning with the First World War and accelerated by the second, there has been a strong antipathy among intellectuals to any hint of nationalism. Nationalism was seen by many non-socialists as a fundamental cause of war, or at least of the total national mobilization for war and ensuing total violence. Internationalism, rising above one’s nation, seeing humanity and its transcending interest as a whole, and furthering world government, became their intellectual ideal. Social scientists have almost universally shared this view. In fact, one of the attractions of socialism for many was its inherent internationalism, its rejection of the nation and patriotism as values.

Internationalists generally have refused to accept that any one nation is really better than another. After all, cultures and values are relative; one nation’s virtues are another’s evils. Best we treat all nations equally to better resolve conflicts among them. As Professor Hans Morgenthau pointed out in his popular and influential international relations text, Politics Among Nations, both the United States and Soviet Union should be condemned for the Cold War; it is their evangelistic, crusading belief in their own values that made the East-West conflict so difficult to resolve.

This two-partyism can be seen easily in reading the peace oriented literature. There is no victim or aggressor, no right or wrong nation, but only two parties to a conflict (when this two-partyism did break down, it was usually in terms of American, or Western “imperialist, aggression”). Consequently, to accept that the freedoms espoused by the United States and its democratic allies lead to peace, and that the totalitarian socialism that was fostered by the Soviet Union and China lead to violence and war, is to take sides. It is to be nationalistic. And this for many internationalists was ipso facto wrong.

There is another psychological force toward two-partyism that should not be underestimated. The statement that democracy fosters peace seems not only nationalistic, but also inherently ideological. After all, freedom was one of the flags in the “ideological Cold War.” No matter that this was an observational and historical statement. To accept it appeared not only to take sides; but what is worse, to be a right wing, cold warrior.

Finally, the peace that the classical liberals had in mind involved not only the absence of war between nations, but also harmonious international relations. They, like our contemporaries, had no conception of the degree to which governments could and would massacre their own people. After all, presumably, mankind had progressed since the bloody Albigensian Crusade in France, Inquisition in Spain, and witch hunts throughout Europe.

Today, we can extend the idea of peace through democracy to cover freedom from government genocide and mass murder. But to do so requires overcoming incredible mass ignorance even about the megamurders for which authoritarian and totalitarian governments have been responsible. Of course, everyone knows about the Nazi genocide. And most consider the near 6,000,000 Jews murdered as a monstrous crime against humanity by Hitler and his Nazi gang of racists. Few know that they also murdered in cold blood an additional near 14,000,000 Poles, Gypsies, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Russians, Yugoslavs, Czechs, Frenchmen, and others. Few outside of the Soviet Union know about Stalin’s horrors, that he killed people by the tens of millions (I calculate about 43,000,000). Even fewer realize that under the communist regime in China more tens of millions were killed (as shown in Table 1). And virtually no one except Armenians seems to remember the Armenian genocide by Turkey, the Pakistan genocide and mass murder; except Bengalis; and the Japanese atrocities during the Sino-Japanese and Pacific Wars, except the Chinese and Koreans. And now, virtually no one remembers anymore the mass murder of about 10 million Chinese by their Nationalist regime. It is understandable, then, that the global magnitude of murder by governments in this century is almost universally unknown, that it might exceed an absolutely incredible 150,944,000 men, women, and children killed, or more than four times all this century’s battle deaths in all its domestic and international wars. Of course, it must then be unknown that virtually no democratic citizens are among this utterly fantastic number.

Is it any wonder, then, that in this time of democracy’s victory there has been little gleeful shouting about one terribly important value of democracy–the victory of democracy over violent political death, over war, revolution, genocide, and mass murder.

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sent to http://tymelytopics.com/
How can we justify democracy, aside from the standard philosophical argument that freedom is a natural right and democracy is the best way of assuring that? Not widely known are the utilitarian and empirical arguments for democratic freedom: democracies don’t war against each other, they have the least foreign and domestic violence, they don’t murder their own citizens, the don’t have famines, and they enrich their people. Related article (here.


The World Movement for Democracy

January 21, 2009

[First published January 17, 2006] In answer to all those who believe that, with the apparent exception of President Bush “using war to spread democracy,” nothing is being done to do so nonviolently. This is wrong, and leads to an unfortunate pessimism about the future. There is much reason for hope, and I hope that this post helps show why.

There is an official multinational and unofficial effort of nongovernmental organizations to secure and further democratic freedom. Most of their activity is unknown, simply because they are ignored by the major media. But, members of the freedomist network, which includes this democratic peace blog, should know of them as an extension of our effort, although they don’t know of us.

Democratic activists, practitioners, academics, policy makers, and funders, have come together to cooperate in the organized international promotion of democratic freedom. They call this a World Movement for Democracy (WMD). It has it’s own website, publications, regular online <A HREF="http://www.wmd.org/democracynews.html"Democracy News(see link below), courses, a steering committee, secretariat, and periodic assemblies. Its first and organizing Assembly was held in India in 1999; its second in Brazil in 2000 involved democrats from 93 countries, and more meetings have and will be held. The stated purpose of the organization is “to strengthen democracy where it is weak, to reform and invigorate democracy even where it is longstanding, and to bolster pro-democracy groups in countries that have not yet entered a process of democratic transition.” You can replace “democracy” with “freedom” in the above without loss of meaning, for what is usually meant is not only an electoral democracy, but one the also secures its citizens civil and political rights and liberties.

There also is the new <A HREF="http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/democracy/cdi_official.html"Community of Democracies (COD) . Foreign ministers and representatives of 106 democratic governments met in Warsaw, Poland, in 2000 and concluded with the Warsaw Declaration. This expressed their unified “commitment to promote, strengthen and preserve democracy.”

Moreover, there was a meeting in Warsaw of a non-governmental first <A HREF= "http://www.batory.org.pl/english/events/wfd/""World Forum on Democracy." It included 300 democratic activists, current and former political leaders, academics, and nongovernmental organization representatives from 85 countries. Its purpose was to discuss and advance “democratic governance and values throughout the world.” Clinton’s Secretary of State Albright addressed the forum, and pointed out that, “We need a true democratic community; defined not by what we are against, but by what we are for; enshrined by leaders from every point on the compass; and strengthened by the full participation of civil society.”

The COD is an Alliance of Democracies yet in its infancy. Now the democracies should strengthen its organization and functions, and better focus its efforts on a forward strategy of freedom (to borrow President Bush’s phrase). It already has taken action to mandate the creation of a UN Democracy Caucus. The caucus convening group was Chile, Czech Republic, India, Mali, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, South Africa, and the United States, and the caucus now has a website.

Cheers, freedom networkians. These much needed organizational reforms and developments are well underway. If you are astounded that you didn’t know about this, you should be. In all the articles I’ve read on UN reform in the major media, not one to my memory mentioned the COD or the democratic caucus.


Links of Note

Democracy News (March 2005) An Electronic Newsletter of the World Movement for Democracy

RJR: You’ve got to see this newspaper (available by free email subscription) to see how useful it is as a dynamic signpost and useful source on global pro-democracy activities.

“The State of Human rights in Ten Asian Nations — 2005″ PDF. A Report of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong (yes, Hong Kong):

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2005, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has produced the following series of reports, in order to present the state of human rights in the following ten Asian countries: Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Burma, the Philippines, Cambodia, South Korea and Indonesia.

RJR: Any guess as to why China and N. Korea are omitted?

“My Lai Hero Hugh Thompson Jr. Dies at 62″:

Hugh Thompson Jr., a former Army helicopter pilot honored for rescuing Vietnamese civilians from his fellow GIs during the My Lai massacre, died early Friday. He was 62.

RJR: There are heroes and heroes, and Thomson is at the top of my list. This hero intervened with his fellow soldiers to stop their killing of My Lai Vietnamese villagers. He saved many lives. If you don’t know what courage this took, you must not have been in the military.

“Robbing the Congo. Part II: unspeakable richness”
You may remember my estimate of the colonial democide since 1900 because of new information on King Leopold’s wholly owned (that is, it was HIS) Congo Free State. This blog post provides a good summary of Leopold systematic mass murder of the natives and rape of the Congo’s resources for . . . . money.

“The Prejudice Map: According to Google, people in the world are known for …”. Fascinating, but misnamed. Views on national character are not necessarily prejudicial, but often reflect actual national character in the experience of tourists, visitors, and diplomats. Is there any doubt that Italians are passionate people who gesture a lot, while Germans really love their beer and are obsessive rule followers.

“Russia, China want talks not sanctions on Iran”:

Russia and China made clear on Tuesday they did not favor U.N. sanctions to induce Iran to scale back its nuclear program, and Tehran urged the European Union to return to the negotiating table.

RJR: As you know, both Russia and China have a veto on the Security Council. But the idea is to go on record as trying through the UN to do something about Iran’s forthcoming nukes. That having been covered for the go-to-the-UN-crowd, the only next step is . . . .


How To Effectively Democratize

January 10, 2009

[First published March 3,2006] Freedom House has published a world wide empirical study of “How Freedom is Won.” (2005, in pdf). Paraphrasing and quoting from this study:

They examined 33 years of transitions to freedom (liberal democracy) made by 67 countries, of which before transition 31 were Partly Free, and 36 were Not Free. Today 35 are Free, 23 are Partly Free, and 9 are Not Free. They excluded transitions that occurred in small countries, defined as those with populations of less than one million. Excluded, too, are countries where major political transitions occurred in the last two years. This is because there has not been a sufficient interval since the transition from an authoritarian or pseudo-democratic rule to make firm assessments about the nature or durability of post-transition change in countries where institutional, political, legal, and human rights environments are still evolving or where reforms either have not yet been launched or fully implemented.

So, what can be said about democratization from this fascinating and landmark study (paraphrasing and quoting from this study):

SUMMARYThe most effective agent for promoting change toward democracy is broad-based, nonviolent civic resistance — which employs tactics such as boycotts, mass protests, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience to delegitimize authoritarian rulers and erode their sources of support, including the loyalty of their armed defenders

The central conclusion of this study is that how a transition from authoritarianism occurs, and the types of forces that are engaged in pressing the transition, have a significant impact on the success or failure of democratic reform.

DETAILS
In a preponderance of successful transitions, the most dramatic improvements in freedom tend to come quickly — in the first years of a transition, rather than slowly and incrementally over a long time, underscoring the importance of the civic and political forces that emerge as important actors in the pre-transition period.

“People power” movements matter, because nonviolent civic forces are a major source of pressure for decisive change in most transitions. The force of civic resistance was a key factor in driving 50 of 67 transitions, or over 70 percent of countries where transitions began as dictatorial systems fell and/or new states arose from the disintegration of multinational states.

Of the 50 countries where civic resistance was a key strategy (i.e., either countries in which there were transitions driven by civic forces or countries where there were mixed transitions involving significant input from both civic forces and power holders), 25 were Partly Free countries, and 25 were Not Free countries. Today, years after the transition 32 of these countries are Free, 14 are Partly Free, and only 4 are Not Free.

Y axis = mean degree of freedom; X axis = civic, mixed civic forces/ powerholders, powerholder’s intervention

There is comparatively little positive effect for freedom in “top-down” transitions that were launched and led by elites. Before transition, 6 were Partly Free and 8 were Not Free, while today, post-transition, 2 are Free, 8 are Partly Free and 4 are Not Free. On a 7-point rating scale, top down transitions led to an improvement of 1.10 points in the combined average freedom score, while transitions with strong civic drivers led to an improvement of nearly 2.7 points on the same 1-to-7 scale.

Of the 35 Free countries post-transition, 32 (or more than 9 in 10) had a significant “bottom up” civic resistance component. Twenty-two (63 percent) of them had mixed transitions, driven by a combination of civic resistance forces and segments of the power holders, while 10 (29 percent) had openings driven by primarily by the force of civic resistance. Only two transitions that have led to high levels of freedom today were driven from the top-down by power holders and one by external military intervention.

Y axis = mean degree of freedom; X axis = civic, mixed civic forces/ powerholders, powerholder’s intervention

In 32 of the 67 countries (nearly 48 percent) that have seen transitions, strong, broad-based nonviolent popular fronts or civic coalitions were highly active, and often central to steering change. In these 32 instances, prior to the transition there had 17 Partly Free countries, and 15 Not Free countries. Now, years after the transition, 24 of the countries (75 percent) where a strong nonviolent civic movement was present are Free and democratic states and 8 (25 percent) are Partly Free states with some space for civic and political life, while none of the states whose transitions featured a strong civic force are Not Free.

The presence of strong and cohesive nonviolent civic coalitions is the most important of the factors examined in contributing to freedom. In 32 of the 67 countries (nearly 48 percent) that have seen transitions, strong, broad-based nonviolent popular fronts or civic coalitions were highly active, and often central to steering change. In these 32 instances, prior to the transition there had been 17 Partly Free countries, and 15 Not Free countries. Now, years after the transition, 24 of the countries (75 percent) where a strong nonviolent civic movement was present are Free and democratic states and 8 (25 percent) are Partly Free states with some space for civic and political life, while none of the states whose transitions featured a strong civic force are Not Free.

The data suggest that the prospects for freedom are significantly enhanced when the opposition does not itself use violence. In all, there were 47 transitions in which there was no (or almost no) opposition violence. Before the transition, 23 were Partly Free, and 24 were Not Free. Today, years after the transition, 31 are Free, 11 are Partly Free, and 5 are Not Free.

Therefore, recourse to violent conflict in resisting oppression is significantly less likely to produce sustainable freedom, in contrast to nonviolent opposition, which even in the face of state repression, is far more likely to yield a democratic outcome.

Y axis = mean degree of freedom; X axis = nonviolent/mostly nonviolent opposition, significantly/highly violent opposition.

WHAT TO DO
Given the significance of the civic factor in dozens of recent transitions from authoritarianism, it is surprising how small a proportion of international donor assistance is targeted to this sector.

One way to increase the odds for successful transitions to freedom is to invest in the creation of dynamic civic life. Such support is most effectively rendered in the following sequence:

General assistance for civil society forces.
Targeted assistance focused on education and training in civic nonviolent resistance.
Assistance for cohesive civic coalitions through which such resistance is expressed.

Such developments also should be matched by efforts to establish a broad-based civic coalition focused on nonviolent resistance. There are many reasons why such umbrella civic coalitions are important in the outcomes for freedom. In short, broad-based democracy coalitions can imbue leaders and activists with the principles and experience that makes for successful democratic governance.

Opposition forces can be helped in more effectively achieving their aims if they are assisted in thinking strategically about how to push change through nonviolent means. A growing civic infrastructure of well-trained activist groups and their coalescing into broad-based coalitions also needs to be coupled with knowledge on how to devise effective strategies of nonviolent resistance to authoritarian power.

Another crucial way of assisting democratic transitions is to work to constrain insurrectionist and state violence and to expand the political space for nonviolent civic action. This means that in the cases of civil wars, governments and international organizations should seek solutions that lead to an end to hostilities and to internationally supervised or monitored elections. Democracies also should engage in preventive diplomacy to avert violence and support policies that prevent or limit the spread of violence in its earliest stages.

Authoritarian leaders lack democratic legitimacy, and this lack of legitimacy needs to be challenged by democratic civic forces. But, because repressive governments limit or control media and communications, pro-democracy activists must develop independent outlets of communication to stake their claim to represent the legitimate aspirations of the people. Invaluable in this effort are the Internet; independent newspapers and newsletters; unauthorized or external broadcast facilities; and cell phones, satellite phones, and text-messaging devices.

Much of what is recommended here is being done in Iraq by the U.S. and its coalition partners. In evaluating this, one has to keep in mind that the reason for the Iraq war to begin with was to eliminate the danger that Saddam posed to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait, and American national security. Once he was gone and the battles won, the question was what to do with Iraq. Democratization was the answer, and that is now what is in process against the wishes of foreign terrorists and insurrections. With this in mind, and consistent with How Freedom Is Won, what are we doing in Iraq, as shown by my two posts (here, and here) that provided details:

Aiding and assisting cohesive civic coalitions and civil society.
Seeking solutions to constrain and end violence through direct action and international organizations.
Encouraging independent communication outlets, such as newspapers, internet, telephones, and cell phones galore.
Internationally supervised and monitored elections.
Establishing central government legitimacy.


Links on Iraq

“U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006″ This is a very suspicious Zogby poll just released, and did in conjunction with the far left, “anti-war” Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies. For some questioning comments on it, see below:

Murdoc Online

“Mystery Pollster”

“The Officer’s Club”

“The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen?” (subscription required) Of course, Nicholas D. Kristof at The New York Times likes it.

Now, how can we explain the incredible contradiction between what American troops believe according to Zogby, and what public opinion polls show the Iraqis themselves believe as given in the chart below.


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