Rethinking Hiroshima/Nagasaki

March 31, 2009

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[First published August 28, 2005] I came across an article,“Why Truman Dropped the Bomb” by Richard B. Frank (an historian of World War II, author of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire) appearing in The Weekly Standard. Frank provides new intelligence (the complete “Magic” intercepts released in 1995 of Japanese communication at the highest levels) and information, and a new slant on the dropping of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs that I had not considered.

I should note that Frank believes that dropping the bombs were not only a good decision, but necessitated by what we have now come to understand was the situation at the end of July in 1945 (the Hiroshima bomb was dropped on August 6).

What do we now know we didn’t know or know well a decade or more ago?

1. The Japanese knew we were planning to invade Kyushu, were building up their forces to a make an invasion very difficult, if not impossible, and we knew that from our intercepts of their high and low level communications.

2. Aware of this, and believing that such an invasion would be too costly to be sustainable by the American people, the commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet Admiral King, and Pacific Fleet Admiral Nimitz opposed the invasion and when the final decision had to be made, the Navy would have fought for a blockade and bombardment of the Japanese Islands instead. Frank writes that the invasion “had become unthinkable.” So much for justifying the A-bombing by the cost in lives of such an invasion.

3. While the Japanese inner Cabinet did authorize peace feelers in Moscow, their bottom line strictly adhered to until after Nagasaki, was not only the continuation of the prerogatives of the Emperor, but also of the old fascist order. So, if we had moderated our unconditional surrender demand to allow for the continuation of the emperor, it would not have made any difference. So much for peace feelers.

4. While the dropping of the A-bombs was by all standards of warfare, including the Hague and Geneva Conventions, a war crime and democide in my terms, on balance I have to consider that daily throughout Asia and the Pacific, the Japanese military were murdering vast numbers of civilians and POWs. The American historian Robert Newman put the death toll at about 400,000 Asians a month. By my calculations, this is not too far off, since I tally a total Japanese democide during the war of 5.9 million (Calculated here. See the resulting table in the uper right). In honesty, in considering the morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I had completely forgotten about the ongoing Japanese democide.

5. Whether we invaded or not, we can’t ignore Stalin. He entered the war against Japan on August 9. Had we not used the A-bombs and had the Japanese inner cabinet and emperor continued to fight to the end, he would have taken all of Korea, and even perhaps undertaken an invasion of Japan’s northern Island of Hokkaido of western Honshu (Stalin had no compunction about squandering millions of lives). I leave to your imagination what a Korea ruled totally by Stalin and his having a foothold in Japan would have meant for the post-war world, human lives, and Japanese democracy.
So, have I changed my view? By definition and how I have labeled similar actions by the Soviets, Nazis, and Japanese military, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were democide. I can’t change that unless I totally rewrite and recalculate all I’ve done on democide. But morally, is it right to murder hundreds of thousands to save the lives of even more? Or, to save nations (South Korea and Japan) from Stalin’s democidal horrors?
I have to tell you, recognizing these arguments is painful for me. For the last two-decades, I have consistently opposed any democide as a crime against humanity and immoral. Now, the above arguments inexorably force me to accept that massive democide can be necessary to prevent even greater democide (Japanese democide was not speculative, but known, and ongoing; nor was what Stalin did in occupied countries speculative), and thus a moral tradeoff. It is the same for the assassination (an international crime) I recommend of Kim Jung Il, or my approval of torture (an international crime also) when it would save many lives.

Sometimes I envy those on the far left or right. They live in a world of red and blue absolutes, and will not be bothered by conditionals and qualifications; and do not understand that nature, life, and ethics are a balance.

Link of Note


Frank says:

The decisions made by President Truman and his subordinates to add nuclear weapons to the campaign of blockade and bombardment cost the lives of between 100,000 and 200,000 Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on top of the many tens of thousands of others who died in the incendiary raids or due to the ultimate effects of the blockade. Those Japanese noncombatants, however, held no stronger right not to be slaughtered than the vast numbers of Chinese and other Asian noncombatants dying daily, the Japanese noncombatants on the Asian continent dead or forever missing in Soviet captivity, or the Japanese noncombatants (not to mention Allied prisoners-of-war and civilian internees) who would have perished of starvation and disease in the final agony of the blockade. Thus, alternatives to the atomic bombs carried no guarantee as to when they would end the war and a far higher price in human death and suffering.

Finally, the deaths actually incurred in ending the war were not gratuitous. American goals were not simply victory but peace. Had American leaders in 1945 been assured that Japan and America would pass two generations in tranquility and still look forward with no prospect of future conflict, they would have believed their hard choices had been vindicated- -and so should we.

Yes, well put.

Roots Of War

March 30, 2009

[First published April 5, 2005] I have put on my website Frank H. Denton’s book, Knowing the Roots of War: Analyses and Interpretations Of Six Centuries Of Warfare. It is unavailable elsewhere. Well experienced and knowledgeable to write a book on war, Frank Denton has had a career of 50 years in defense and foreign affairs. After a time with the defense industry, he joined RAND and the foreign service. He served in Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Philippines, and Washington, and has retired to do research in the Philippines. He has published extensively in several different fields, but concentrated on patterns and trends in the political use of warfare. After undergraduate work in statistics and math, he obtained a PhD in International Relations from the University of Southern California.

Denton’s statistics and insights into war are useful and interesting for both the student of warfare and international relations, and those with a moral or historical interest.

He says:

While I am not in any sense someone who might be classified as a pacifist, the fundamental conclusion that is inescapable is that quite in antithesis to the Clausewitzian model of the employment of warfare to manage conflicts, warfare has demonstrably been used, if you will, to mismanage conflicts. Society has need of and opportunity to seek means for better controlling the use of warfare for the practice of initiating warfare is inordinately costly in lives, disruptions and treasure and is shown here to be frequently a failure. It is my observation that this presentation of results provides some background that can lead to better control of warfare. Just as importantly, it opens a wide range of ideas and hypotheses for further investigation.

His overall evaluation is this.

Across all time periods, in all types of governments, for any power relationships other than big/small, the party making the decision to go to war, that is firing the first shot in a war, has for two hundred years had less than a fifty-fifty success rate, often much less, in achieving its objectives in firing that first shot. Time-after-time, year-after-year, conflict after conflict, political leaders took decisions to initiate wars in which they failed to achieve their objectives. Based on a listing of 500 incidents of warfare that took place in a two-century interval this provides a hard to dispute validation of Barbara Tuchman’s statement in the first paragraphs of The March of Folly.

A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom…is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?

Why did successive ministries of George III insist on coercing rather than conciliating the American colonies though repeatedly advised by many counselors that the harm done must be greater than any possible gain? Why did Charles XII and Napoleon and successively Hitler invade Russia despite the disasters incurred by each predecessor?

Former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara makes a saddened assertion in his memoirs of the Vietnam War build-up that is strangely similar to Tuchman’s:

Readers must wonder by now…how presumably intelligent, hardworking and experienced officials-both civilian and military-failed to address systematically and thoroughly questions whose answers so deeply affected the lives of our citizens and the welfare of our nation.

There is perhaps no better way of stating the results found here than to assert that Folly Marches Onward.

By his statistics, this is true across all types of governments, except when one focuses on democracy. Not only do they not make war on each other, as I have found (this is outside of Denton’s data, which focused on a nation’s war and not on the type of government of those who fought each other), but as he shows (search for the keyword “democracy”), in the 19th Century democracies won 76 percent of the wars they fought, while monarchies won 43 and dictators 42 percent. In the 20th Century, the percentages are respectively, 54, 37, and 33.

So, democracies have the best fighting machine, if they have to go to war against the thugs of this world or are attacked.

Link of Note

”The Berger wrist slap: A dangerous precedent” (4/5/2005)

By David Limbaugh
Limbaugh notes:

[Sandy] Berger, a national security adviser in the Clinton administration, was caught red-handed removing sensitive, classified documents from the National Archives. He wasn’t doing something as innocuous as research for his personal memoirs. No, he was preparing for testimony before the 9-11 commission to vindicate Bill Clinton’s performance in response to the terrorist threat. The documents he secreted, purloined and later deliberately destroyed, were exceedingly relevant to the subject matter of his 9-11 testimony. . . . Under a plea agreement with the government, Berger will be fined $10,000 and his national security clearance will be suspended for three years.

Note that at first Berger said that he took the documents unintentionally — his destruction of them was accidental or inadvertent. Now, he admits to the court he did it all intentionally.

Note also that for lying to investigators, Martha Stewart got five months in jail and two years probation. She destroyed no documents.

President Clinton was found by a court to have lied before a grand jury and to have lied under oath in a civil deposition. He eventually admitted wrongdoing, was fined $25,000, and barred from law practice for 5 years.

Why did Stewart get jail time when Berger and Clinton served no jail time for far more serious crimes?
Never Again Series

On Freedom

March 27, 2009

[First published June 18, 2005]
From Colleaque:

One of the mottos I have all my students memorize and understand is “RTM — Regime Type Matters.” I use your Power Kills to make sure they understand this both empirically and theoretically, as well as making sure they see the practical implications “since Power kills, if you want non-violence, promote democracy”).

I also use the famous satellite photo of the Korean peninsula at night: the North is almost completely dark, while the South is lit up like Times Square.
I ask why? Since the people are the same, the resources pretty much the same, the weather almost the same, the culture the same, what is the explanatory variable? Obviously politics! This makes “RTM” vividy clear to them.

Yesterday (Friday) Rush was asked what made America so different, and his answer is a classic statement of the importance or regime type — freedom is the answer. Transcript below….


Who’s next? Anchorage, Alaska, this is Adam. Hello, sir.


Hey, Rush, mega dittos here from the great state of Alaska. You actually helped make my college experience bearable. My question is, democracy and freedom work so well here in America because we fought for it, we died for it, our blood was shed. How can we be assured that the Iraqis will have that same appreciation?


We can’t be sure. There is a lot of faith here and I will tell you why I am willing to try it. I ask this question of people constantly. You thanked me for getting you through the college experience, so you’re relatively young. I don’t know how much you’ve traveled internationally, but if you haven’t, you someday will, and when you travel the world, you will see a stark difference in almost every aspect of the human condition, when compared to this country. Even if you go to civilized parts of the world, western Europe, Japan, you will see a marked difference in the quality of life. And for the moment here I’m not talking about political circumstances. I’m just talking about economic. You will see civilizations that have been around far longer than we have who are not nearly as advanced. You will see civilizations and cultures that are on the road to where we are, but they’re not really near it, and they have been at it for thousands of years longer than we have. And you’ll ask yourself, “Why? Why is this?” The first thing you’ll do is say, “What is it about the United States geographically, what is it about the United States that enables us to be the leader of the world?” And you’ll start looking at things like, “Well, is it because of our agriculture? Is it because of our natural resources? Is it because of the cooperation so many people on one continent have because we are part of the United States, so Arkansans freely trade with Missourians, who freely trade with Californians, we’re all Americans, is it that?”

And then you’ll say, “Well, wait. It can’t all be that because we don’t have nearly enough oil to supply our own needs, we have to get that elsewhere from around the world.” Then you’ll say, “It can’t be that because when I go to the store I see all kinds of products made in China and Japan and Mexico. So what is it,” you’ll ask yourself, “what is it about us?” And then you’ll ask yourself, “Are we different human beings? Is there something about us as human beings that makes us different than, say, human beings in Africa or Asia or Europe?”

And then you’ll have to conclude, no, because a human being is a human being, regardless what a human being looks like, regardless what a human being’s skin color is or where a human being is born, we’re all human beings. We’re no better than any other group of human beings, collectively or individually anywhere else on the planet. So why are we so far advanced in every which way, politically as well? Let’s bring the political system in – and you will conclude, Adam, as I have, after many experiences and asking yourself these questions, that there’s one thing that sets us apart from all these other people, and that is freedom. We as human beings here are allowed, because of the freedom we have compared to other human beings on the planet, to maximize our potential as human beings, our creativity, our industriousness, our talents.

Now, we have shackles on ourselves here, we’ve got restrictions and regulations, but it’s nothing compared to people that live in totalitarian regimes run by dictators and thugs and so forth. It is therefore the conclusion, the theory is that guides our policy, President Bush’s policy, I’m sure, is that a human being has a natural yearning as a result of creation to be free and to be the best he can be. But society, culture after culture, generation after generation, when you tamp that down, step on it, you suppress it for generation after generation after generation. Now in Iraq, it’s being put to the test. And I think it’s succeeding. I think the Iraqis themselves are getting along much faster than we did in getting a Constitution. I wouldn’t say this is a lost cause, just the exact opposite. I think what’s going on over there is a sight to behold and it’s a model for the rest of that region.

BAR.RED.BLACK.GIF Freedom's Website

SEE The Democratic Peace At Work

March 26, 2009

[First published March 8, 2005] While the left and their surprising allies, libertarians, pooh-pooh the democratic peace, the evidence for its promotion of a more peaceful world is overwhelming. See for yourself in the following two plots of armed conflict and the growth of democracies 1946-2004 (from The Center For Systematic Research here):

As the number of democracies increase over the 58 years, they reach a tipping point in 1992 where armed conflict then steeply decline.

I predicted that a decline would occur with this growth of democracies in my 1979 book on War, Power, Peace (link here). For additional evidence of this decline and a related Q and A, see my democratic peace clock (link here) and my blog “Democracies Increase and Ipso Facto, World Violence Declines” (link here) chastising commentators for missing this.

Yes, yes, I know, correlation does not prove causation. But, if there is a solid theory, consistent replications, and complimentary evidence, then it is no longer a working hypothesis, but fact.

I present the facts, you decide.

Link of Note

”Can the Whole World Become Democratic? (4/17/03) By Larry Diamond

Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is also professor of political science and sociology (by courtesy) at Stanford University and coordinator of the Democracy Program of the new Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies.

“Can any state become democratic? Can the whole world become democratic? This lecture argues that the answers to both questions are yes, and that neither culture nor history nor poverty are insurmountable obstacles. Indeed, for much of the world that remains trapped in poverty, a growing body of evidence and policy analysis suggests that democratic, accountable, transparent governance is a fundamental condition for sustainable development. There are no preconditions for democracy, other than a willingness on the part of a nation’s elite to attempt to govern by democratic means. But that, in itself, will require strong pressure from below, in civil society, and from outside, in the international community, to generate the political will for democratic reform. And sustaining democracy in the context of unfavorable cultural, social, and economic conditions requires institutions to foster effective, accountable governance as well as robust international engagement and support. Democracy can emerge anywhere, but it can only take root if it brings about, however gradually, a more prosperous, just, and decent society.”

See Them And Weep

March 25, 2009

[First published March 3, 2005] Everyone knows the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and it is true. One way to catalyze public opinion into doing something about mass murder and death is to show the ugly photographs of the bodies over and over again. And even more.

Most visitors may not remember what provoked the American intervention in Somalia in December 1992 with 25,000 troops, which was to secure the trade routes in Somalia so that food could get to the starving people. It was the daily photos of starving and dead Somalian children.

But, forever afterward, because of our inability to stop the civil war there, and Clinton’s ignominious retreat when 18 American soldiers were killed in Mogadishu and the bodies were dragged through the streets, commentators have labeled this intervention a failure. It is now a poster board for nonintervention. No matter how many people believe it, this is absurd. We saved about a million Somalians from starvation, and that to me is a whooping victory.

Photos of democide are powerful, and for this reason I put on my website dozens of photos of them, some sickening (link here). My hope is that they will stimulate visitors to learn more about the underlying cause of all this horrible democide by going through the documents on my website. And what to do about it, which is foster freedom.

Now, Nicholas Kristof, columnist for The New York Times has provided some photos on the Sudan democide (link here). They tell the story. If every major newspaper were to present such photos day after day, this democide would be stopped dead.

Link of Note

”The Massgraves—Victims of Saddam’s Regime”

For those who question the American led attack on Saddam Hussein’s control of Iraq, I wish I could take them on a tour of the 53 confirmed mass graves (270 reported) of Hussein’s victims that have been uncovered since Iraq’s people were freed. Young and old; men, woman, children, babies; crippled and infirm; all in one mass grave after another, totaling hundreds of thousands (Human Rights Watch estimates that in two decades 290,000 Iraqis disappeared. This does not count those openly murdered in massacres such as the gas attack on a Kurd village that killed 5,000, the individual murders, such as the husband of a bride raped by Hussein’s son, or the suicides, such as the bride herself). Since such a tour is impossible, look at the above website’s pictures of what came out of the mass graves.

Then I must ask the noninterventionists to answer to the souls of these poor people. How can you be so sickenly immoral as to let such evil murders continue?

Somme Deadly Madness

March 24, 2009

[First published May 29, 2005] War remains ugly, a bloody evil, but one often necessitated for the democracies by the worse evil of not going to war. We should never forget, however, what war is like, and how even with the best of intentions, human lives can be squandered by the tens of thousands.

So it was in the Battle of the Somme in World War I, a battle that changed the public’s view of war. Up to that time war had been seen by too many as a glorious crusade against evildoers, replete with medals, parades, cheers, and handsome uniforms. And after World War I, when the horror and cost in lives of the Battle of the Somme became known, war was believed the worst of all evils. It spawned a general pacifism — a deep hostility to war, armaments, nationalism, and patriotism. Less than two-decades later, this fed the French and British appeasement of Hitler, and American isolationism, when confronting him might have avoided World War II. The general public learned the wrong lesson from the Battle of the Somme, and other such bloody battles in that war, and this lesson remains still deeply imbedded in our culture and helps fuel the antiwar movement.

Read the following docudrama and feel what war can really mean for the individual soldier, regardless of which side they are on.

Half squatting, Jimmy leaned against the side of the muddy trench, the toes of his boots invisible in the muck at the bottom. Jimmy was a short, skinny fellow, with a frame on which not even his military training could put muscle. His baggy uniform now rippled like a sail in a crosswind. His helmet hid his short brown hair, except when his shaking tipped it forward over his eyes and a few strands escaped.

Jimmy had grown up in Bristol, England. Before joining the army, he had spent most of his evenings drinking with his buddies at the local pub, or going to the new silent movies with them. That was his entertainment. Even at eighteen years of age, Jimmy had never gone out on a date and was shy of girls. His friends constantly ribbed him about being too embarrassed to participate when they’d dragged him off to a French bordello.

Once Jimmy had thought of going to college, and teachers had told him that he had the intelligence for it, but his father had never paid the family bills and later, he disappeared altogether, leaving Jimmy to support his mother and two sisters. He could read up and learn on his own, Jimmy told himself, and he did enjoy the rough and tumble of a warehouseman’s job.

Jimmy was part of the Army’s plan to create new volunteer divisions to fight alongside the regulars. The Army kept together as units all those volunteering from a particular company, town, or city neighborhood. This meant that Jimmy knew most of the soldiers around him, who in civilian life had drunk with him, sold him goods, or delivered ice or milk to his small home. Many had been his good friends. All but a few were now dead, as were his two best friends and his cousin. Jimmy had cried for hours after he had helped drag the upper half of his cousin’s body to the rear—all that remained of someone Jimmy had grown up with, played with, eaten many meals with, and, as boys do, argued with. Half his body gone!

As Jimmy waited for the scheduled cessation of seven days of shelling on the German trenches, he thought about dying. Despite his captain’s assurance that this next attack would be an easy victory, that Jimmy could walk over to the German lines and simply shove all the dead Germans out of the way, he knew he would die, as his friends had died. So he trembled as he awaited the silence that would follow the end of the shelling, and the captain’s whistle that would send him climbing out of the trench, to his death. He only hoped it would be quick and painless.

George Finch, crouched next to him in the trench, poked him in the side and leaned over to shout in his ear, “Jimmy, could you do me a favor?”

“What?” Jimmy yelled back.

“If I’m killed, will you give this to my mother?” George held out a small piece of dirty packaging from their rations. He had scrawled a few words on it with a blunt pencil. “You can read it,” George said.

It was easy to read in the dawning light, and said simply, “My Dearest Mom—I love you. Sonny.”

George lived several houses down from Jimmy on Bloy Street; Jimmy knew George’s mother. “Come on,” Jimmy said, “you won’t die.”


Jimmy shrugged and tucked the wrapper into his pocket. “Okay.”

At least this will make him feel better, Jimmy thought, although I’m the one that’s going to die.

Minutes later, there it was: The awful silence as the shelling stopped. Immediately, the officers came down the trench, getting them ready to move out. Jimmy heard the shrill whistle and then the yelling, and he scrambled out of the trench with all the others up and down the line and advanced on the Germans.

Jimmy’s jitters vanished. He focused everything on the trenches in the distance and unconsciously switched to automatic motion. Carrying sixty pounds of ammunition, food, water, and gear, he doglegged along the paths through their own barbed wire, moving at a slow walk through the mud.

“Please, God,” Jimmy kept murmuring, “no pain. Please, God, make it sudden.”

More here

War/peace docudramas

Still No Wars Between Democracies

March 23, 2009

Still, No Wars Between Democracies

[First published July 13, 2005] Thanks to Dean Esmay for referring me to Matthew White’s page that raises questions about the democratic peace. I know of White’s useful Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century , and have used his statistics in my own research. He is careful, thoughtful, and systematic in what he presents, so when he questions the democratic peace, he has to be answered.

First, he presents the pros and cons about the various possible exceptions to the democratic peace. Keep in mind that the democratic peace, among other propositions, says that democracies don’t make war on each other. So, a true negative example thunders against this. Many have been proposed such exceptions, such as the War of 1812, the Boar War, WWI and Germany, democratic Finland being allied with Hitler in WWII, and the American Civil War. The sheer number of these exceptions and the weight of all the pros that White provides gives the impression that there has to be something to at least one or more of them. I have not studied them all, but those I have spent some time on in my own research, such as Germany in WWI, the case of Finland, the Boar War, and the Civil War simply cannot be treated as true exceptions. Others who have investigated these possible exceptions, in addition to the rest of them on White’s list, agree. In particular, I point you to Bruce Russett’s Grasping the Democratic Peace , James Lee Ray’s Democracy and International Conflict , and Spencer R. Weart’s, Never At War. Russett and Ray are political scientists, Weart is an historian. See also my democratic peace bibliography and my Q & A, which answers questions about some of these supposed exceptions (use the search command to find them).

After going through the exceptions, White concludes that the democratic peace depends on the definition of democracy and war. Researchers know this, of course, and have done different things about it. One is to collect their own data according to very clear, replicable criteria, while others have used data on democracy and war that have a wide reputation for their validity. Two sources especially have been important. One is the statistics on war collected by Melvin Small and J. David Singer, such as their data on wars during 1816 to 1992. I have used this in my research (see the table in the upper right here) as have hundreds of others. I should say that Small and Singer do not accept the democratic peace, which makes their classification of wars and democracies since 1816 particularly important. For democracy, in addition to the Small and Singer classification, which I am one of the few to use, there is the very popular and respected Polity data, which provides a scale for measuring the degree to which a country is democratic or autocratic. For additional data sets used in replicating the democratic peace, go here.

What is noteworthy about all the different data on democracy and war whose definitions or criteria slightly differ, is that those using them have come out with the same conclusions: there is a democratic peace. Replications have well established this to the point that students of international relations say it is the best-tested proposition in the field and almost has the status of a law.

Now, White also lists 39 wars 1945-1999, and says that six “might have been between democracies,” which means they might not have been, but still he makes much of it in calculating the probability of this happening by chance. Rather than deal with his might have been, I’m going to actually collect data from two sources on democracy and international violence between countries. The source I will use for violence is compiled by Monty G. Marshall on “Major Episodes of Political Violence 1946-2004,” ; for democracy, I will use Freedom’s House’s “All Country Ratings from 1972-2003”. Freedom House is not a proponent of the democratic peace (I don’t recall them ever mentioning it), so we can treat their data as independent of this proposition. Similarly with Marshall, who along with Ted Gurr, is the author of the Peace and Conflict Survey 2005 that I referred to in my last blog for ignoring the democratic peace.

From Marshall’s data, I’ll include as violence any that is indicated in his data as “international.” This is a hard test, since it includes violence short of war. From Freedom House, I will use their Free (F) rating of a country for a year as defining a liberal democracy in terms of civil liberties and political rights.

First, how many liberal democracies are there versus the total number of countries. For five years spans after 1972 and ending with 2003 (year, number of liberal democracies, total number of countries):

1972, 43, 148
1975, 39, 158
1980, 50, 162
1985, 55, 166
1990, 64, 165
1995, 75, 191
2000, 85, 192
2003, 87, 192

Now, for the classification of violence between types of regimes (F = free, PF = partly free, NF = not free, where F-F = between free countries, etc.)

F-F = 0
F-PF = 6
F-NF = 11
PF-PF = 5
PF-NF= 4
NF-NF= 20

So, between which countries is there the least violence ? Between liberal democracies. Which countries are the most violent towards each other? Nondemocracies. All as precisely predicted by the democratic peace. A note on statistical tests. Think of this subjectively. Here you have all these liberal democracies for each of thirty-one years, and none of them have violence between them. This is not a matter of just five or ten democracies, but by the end of the 1990s, there are over eighty. This number is not my reckoning, but that of Freedom House. And by Marshall’s data, in spite of so many democracies, none had violence between them vs. 20 cases of violence between the nonfree ones during these years.

Now, some people don’t llike subjective statistics, so lets calculate the probability. There are 46 cases of international violence, and six alternative ways that could occur (e.g., F-F, or PF-PF). Let the number 1 stand for the F-F alternative, and the other five numbers for each of the others. Throw a six-numbered die 46 times, and what is the probability that it will never come up with a 1? The probability that it will not come up a 1 in one throw is 5/6. So, the probability of no 1 in 46 throws is 5/6 to the 46th power (assuming each case of violence is independent), which is a probability of happening by chance of 8.017E-36, or about the probability of one being hit by a meteor. Obviously, there has to be something more than chance here. And what is that something? Surprise. It is two countries having democratic governments. That is, the democratic peace.

Link of Note

“DOES DEMOCRACY CAUSE PEACE?” By James Lee Ray. In Annual. Review of Political Science 1998. 1:27-46.

The idea that democratic states have not fought and are not likely to fight interstate wars against each other runs counter to the realist and neorealist theoretical traditions that have dominated the field of international politics. Since the mid-1970s, the generation of new data and the development of superior analytical techniques have enabled evaluators of the idea to generate impressive empirical evidence in favor of the democratic peace proposition, which is reinforced by substantial theoretical elaboration. Some critics argue that common interests during the Cold War have been primarily responsible for peace among democracies, but both statistical evidence and intuitive arguments cast doubt on that contention. It has also been argued that transitions to democracy can make states war-prone, but that criticism too has been responded to persuasively. The diverse empirical evidence and developing theoretical bases that support the democratic peace proposition warrant confidence in its validity.

Democratic Peace