[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.”