Blog Republication Completed

July 10, 2009

I have now republished all the old blogs that were destroyed. See the introductory explanation ”Why A New “Democratic Peace” Blog?”. The list of all destroyed blogs is in the Universal Archive. Republished ones are in green and linked.

Dated blogs or those irrelevant to current events have not been republished. If you wish to see any of them here, please email me (Rummel at Hawaii.edu) with the title .

I also have another blog ”A Freedomists View” that deals with the international and domestic perils to freedom.

I will add to this Democratic Peace Blog if I have something more to say about a democratic peace foreign policy and the progress of democracy in the world. Stay tuned.


It’s Only Mass Murder, Not Like A Disaster

July 9, 2009

Reuters (link here)—“The global death toll from the Asian tsunami shot above 226,000 Wednesday after Indonesia’s Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of people previously listed as missing.. . . The Staggering death count . . . .

”Darfur Mortality Update: January 18, 2005” by Eric Reeves— “[E]vidence strongly suggests that total mortality in the Darfur region of western Sudan now exceeds 400,000 human beings since the outbreak of sustained conflict in February 2003. In other words, human destruction is more than twice that of the recent tsunami—and has now surpassed the half-way mark for the most commonly cited total for deaths in Rwanda during the genocide of 1994 (800,000).
“Moreover, as international humanitarian aid continues to stream abundantly toward the various areas devastated by the tsunami, the threat of massive secondary death from health-related causes has begun to diminish. By contrast, in Darfur the current mortality rate from genocide by attrition is approximately 35,000 per month and poised to grow rapidly. . . .
“Simply to juxtapose these two human catastrophes is to raise implicitly a series of deeply troubling questions about the priorities of news coverage, the commitments of the international political community, the responsibilities of humanitarian organizations, and the nature of our response to distant human suffering and destruction.”

Yes, what about Sudan? In 1989, Lt. General Umar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir and the Arab-led Sudanese People’s Armed Forces overthrew the democratic government in power at that time and imposed strict Muslim law and faith on the whole country. The South had a protected and special constitutional status under the democratic government, but with its overthrow and especially with the effort of the new regime to impose Muslim law throughout the country, the South revolted and a bloody civil war resulted with the thug regime murdering tens of thousands, outright enslvement, widespread rape, and refugees in the hundreds of thousands, with an overall death toll of possibly 2,000,000 people.

Because they live under a fundamentalist Muslim regime, even northern Sudanese far from the civil war or Darfur enjoy no human rights. For example, the government harasses and monitors women for correct dress, forbidding even slacks. Women who dare to defy the law risk arrest, conviction by an Islamic court of immoral dressing, and flogging, as recently happened to nine women students. Women also cannot hold any public office that would give them authority over Muslim men, nor can they marry a non-Muslim.
All must accept the Muslim faith. To further religious rule, the government appoints only Muslims to the judiciary. Police can arrest and imprison any commoner for up to six months without trial, and while detained, suspects can expect officials to torture them as a matter of course. Worst of all, a Muslim dare not convert to another religion, for the punishment for doing so is death.

But, of course, Sudan is a member in good standing of the international community (you know, the “community” we must consult and get approval from), the United Nations, and the UN Human Rights Commission.


Link of Note

” Abu Gharib: Inexplicable Arab Silence” (5/4/04)

By Linda S. Heard

This journalist was asking why there is not more outrage in the Arab world over . . . not what Sudan was doing to its people, not the mass murder, slavery, and deaths . . . but, the way Abu Gharib prisoners were treated by American guards. But then, it was the Arabnews.com that published this piece.


Idealism vs. Realism

July 4, 2009

[First published January 24, 2005] Enough time has gone by since president Bush’s inauguration speech that called for fostering democracy everywhere to appreciate the major media’s reaction, including commentators and foreign policy experts. One of the most frequently used characterizations is that the speech was idealistic: John F. Harris writes in The Washington Post: “The immediate question, presidential scholars and foreign policy experts say, is the same in Washington as it is in other capitals around the world: What to make of such idealistic and uncompromising language from an incumbent president? (link here) As used currently, “idealistic” is what one says about an idea while rolling one’s eyes skyward. It means, in effect, that one has a good heart, good intentions, but is naïve or simplistic about the real world.

A little history. After World War I, there was a concerted effort among the nations to create a lasting peace such that another world war like that would never happen again. The best way of doing this was thought to be through international organizations like the League of Nations that would serve as a forum for negotiation of international differences, act to prevent the escalation of conflict to violence, and even sanction aggression. Democracies also thought that an emphasis on international law, and especially disarmament treaties would also serve the peace. It all failed, profoundly, with the outbreak of the SinoJapanese war in 1937, and Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

After World War II, nations created the United Nations in a way they believed avoided the mistakes of the League of Nations, and emphasized collective security. However, a new school of thought arose among students of international relations and specialists in foreign relations, which still dominates thinking today about national security and peace. And that is, peace is best assured by a balancing of power between actual and potential adversaries, and good diplomacy. This is called realpolitik. Practitioners of this art—called realists—emphasize real assessments of other nation’s capabilities and intentions, and what can be done in practical terms to improve the balance of power, and maintain stable international relations.

One of the fantastic applications of this was during the 1960s when the United States actually held back developing its nuclear capability, such as furthering the accuracy of its ICBMs, to let the Soviets catch up. Then, the idea was, we would have a balance of power (of terror), and better stability in Soviet-American relations. This was realism at work.

Now, the bete noir of the realist is the idealist. The idealist is a nice fellow, but unrealistic about the real world. The idealist has all these marvelous ideas and plans, these solutions to war, these beliefs about the natural good behavior of states, the belief in democracy, but you know, he hasn’t yet been mugged by reality.

Today, the major intellectual conflict is not between libertarians and Bushites, or what I will now call freedomists, on democracy and peace. The libertarians simply don’t count. Both realists and freedomists see them as irrelevant, a cult of isolationists. Nor are the leftists in the ring. They are seen as, you know . . . leftists. They will side with anyone they see as anti-American. The realists see the freedomist’s emphasis on democracy as unrealistic and dangerous, as creating an unstable world in which more war may be the outcome, and our national interests endangered. The freedomist see the realist as adhering to dogma that no longer applies to the new post-Cold War world, and that fostering freedom is the best way to protect the nation in the long run, and promote a peaceful world.

Most of the media people and commentators have been educated into realism—it is the dominant set of ideas in political science and international relations—and to be suspicious of any highflying proposals. They naturally see the call for ending tyranny as idealistic. Thus when you read that Bush is idealistic, understand that this is a complement with the back of the hand.

However, the most thorough research that any idea in international relations has ever received shows that the realistic one is Bush and his forward Strategy of Freedom, and that the realists if they have their way, will not free us for the historical cycle of war and peace. Realism, which has been practiced in Europe since 1648 and the creation of the modern state system and up until all Europe became democratic and unified, was in practice nothing but war by other means until the next round of war.

Realists much come to understand. The real realists are the so-called idealists, and the real idealists are the realists. You know, the realists have their heart in the right place, but . . . (eyes rolling skyward). In other words, get real.


Link of Note

”Debate on the ‘Democratic Peace’—A Review” (3/3/04) By Steven Geoffrey Gieseler

Introduction by AmericanDeplomacy.org: “Democracies do not make war on each other, and the more democratic, the less violent nations are in general.’ This theory of war avoidance is the subject of much peace literature published in recent years. The author provides an overview of the field and addresses the question of its continued validity in light of the war in Iraq.”

Gieseler’s conclusion is that, “There will always be honest and well-meaning scholars, indifferent moral relativists, and self-interested tyrants who will for different reasons dismiss the idea that democracy is inherently just and peaceful. Adherents to the ‘Democratic Peace’ in whatever future incarnation it might take must not give the floor, so to speak, but dictate the terms of the debate.”

So, this blog.


Democide Vs. Other Causes of Death

July 1, 2009

[First published February 1, 2005] A question I often get is how all the murder committed by governments, virtually all by criminal dictatorships (sorry, that was redundant—I need only say dictatorships) compares to other causes of death, such as war and diseases. So, below I present such a comparison chart for the world’s average annual democide rate 1900-1987 to the world’s annual death rate from other causes (this is one of a number of my attempts to visualize the world’s democide toll— link here).

Tears all around

Note that governments murdered more people than all deaths combined due to traffic accidents, war, homicide, and alcohol.

The total murdered by governments over 1900-1987 was 170,000,000; a less systematic update of the toll brings it to 174,000,000 for 1900-1999. [I have had to update this democide to 262,00,000] Shocking, yes? Now, think about how little is said about democide in textbooks and the media. Even more astounding, isn’t it?

For a chapter long dissection of the meaning and definition of democide, see this link.

And so, democide goes on in North Korea, Sudan, the Congo, China, Laos, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, and dozens and dozens of other dictatorships, mainly not some big episode of murder that would make the news, but as the day-by-day operation of government agencies. In other words, murder is a normal daily operation of these thugdoms.

How do we account for this continuing carnage? In these post-Cold War years, it’s the bloody success of immoral noninterventionism and obsolete realpolitiks.. Stability trumps stopping the murderous thugs, you know.


Link of Note

”Congo death toll up to 3.8m” (12/10/204) Guardian Unlimited Special Report

“Six years of conflict in Congo have claimed 3.8 million lives – half of them children – with most victims killed by disease and famine in the still largely cut-off east, the International Rescue Committee said yesterday.

“More than 31,000 civilians die each month as a result of the conflict despite peace deals, the group said, citing mortality surveys prepared with the aid of on-site medical teams. The association has for years produced the most widely used estimate of deaths in the country.”

Much of this is democide. And it goes on. And on. And on.


The EMP Threat

June 28, 2009

[First published June 27, 2005] During the Cold War, I was intensely focused on the Soviet -American nuclear balance and our deterrence strategies versus a possible Soviet first strike capability. I’ve carried over to our time this focus on city attacks, almost completely forgetting about a fear that a Sovieet EMP nuclear attack was a major danger. I should not have, for now in this era of rogue nuclear states, an EMP attack is the most likely and dangerous, since it requires just one weapon and little accuracy.

On exploding, a nuclear weapon produces a blast of x-and gamma-rays that if triggered high above the United States would devastate the whole country’s infrastructure, disabling power grids, computers, microchips, electronic and electrical systems of information, including cell phones, and components of airplanes, and cars. For an important article on this, read Frank J. Gaffney’s “EMP: America’s Achilles’ Heel “. He is President of the Center for Security Policy and former assistant secretary of defense for international security policy. He says:

The emerging threat environment, characterized by a wide spectrum of actors that include near-peers, established nuclear powers, rogue nations, sub-national groups, and terrorist organizations that either now have access to nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or may have such access over the next 15 years, have combined to raise the risk of EMP attack and adverse consequences on the U.S. to a level that is not acceptable.

Worse yet, the [EMP Threat] Commission observed that “some potential sources of EMP threats are difficult to deter.” This is particularly true of “terrorist groups that have no state identity, have only one or a few weapons, and are motivated to attack the U.S. without regard for their own safety.” The same might be said of rogue states, such as North Korea and Iran. They “may also be developing the capability to pose an EMP threat to the United States, and may also be unpredictable and difficult to deter.” Indeed, professionals associated with the former Soviet nuclear weapons complex are said to have told the Commission that some of their ex-colleagues who worked on advanced nuclear weaponry programs for the USSR are now working in North Korea.

Even more troubling, the Iranian military has reportedly tested its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile in a manner consistent with an EMP attack scenario. The launches are said to have taken place from aboard a ship—an approach that would enable even short-range missiles to be employed in a strike against “the Great Satan.” Ship-launched ballistic missiles have another advantage: The “return address” of the attacker may not be confidently fixed, especially if the missile is a generic Scud-type weapon available in many arsenals around the world. As just one example, in December 2002, North Korea got away with delivering twelve such missiles to Osama bin Laden’s native Yemen. And Al Qaeda is estimated to have a score or more of sea-going vessels, any of which could readily be fitted with a Scud launcher and could try to steam undetected within range of our shores.

Given how one nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States would be a catastrophe as well as disable our ability to respond to the attack, this puts North Korean and Iranian nuclear developments in a new and more dangerous light.

Link of Note

“Will Bush’s Idealism Lead U.S. To Lose ‘War With Islam’?” (6/7/05) Book Review by Mort Kondracke

Kondracke says:

It certainly is no summer beach read, but you’ll be edified – and lots of people will be angered – by Robert Merry’s new book, “Sands of Empire,” a rich and deep critique of President Bush’s alleged “Crusader State” foreign policy.

I think that Merry, president and publisher of Congressional Quarterly, is far too pessimistic in saying that Bush is leading the country toward “calamity” by pursuing a policy of “humanitarian imperialism.” But Merry not only argues his case forcefully, he also bases it on intellectual history dating to the 17th century.

Colleague says: The book — Robert Merry — Sand of Empire — argues that Bush is going to undermine the US because he is in the tradition of utopian idealists who try to impose values, which as any good conservative can tell you, can’t be done…

Kondracke does the review, and notes the author has a core view centered on two schools of history: Progress vs. Cycles. Bush is a Progress guy, while “reality” is more Cycles (as with Huntington)….

The book seems most flawed in its apparent utter lack of understanding about democracy — that democracy is not an imposition of values, but the very antithesis. In fact, democracy is the only form of government that is explicitly anti-utopian: there is no state imposition of values; rather the state is a mechanism by which people can work out the inherent conflicts about values, peacefully.

Why can’t these otherwise bright people remember basic civics-govt 101 lessons? Maybe because they never really learned them. Maybe because the book is really a front for the more important agenda: hate – defeat Bush. Maybe because even though the author of the book is the publisher of Congressional Quarterly, he can’t see what is in front of him: peaceful resolution of an endless series of conflicts, without utopian value impositions by the state. Maybe because the guy is really not too bright after all….

Visualizing democide
Graphical experiments on visalizing democide


Genocide Versus Democide

June 25, 2009

[February 4, 2005] I want to comment on the UN report denying genocide in Darfur. But, first I want to clarify the difference between genocide and democide. Often in this blog I use the latter term democide for murder by government, as do some of my links. But the more popular term is genocide, as in the aforementioned UN report.

What are the differences and similarities between democide and genocide? As defined, elaborated, and qualified in my Death By Government). Democide is any murder by officials acting under the authority of the central government. That is, they act according to explicit or implicit government policy or with the implicit or explicit approval of the highest officials. Such was the burying alive of Chinese civilians by Japanese soldiers, the shooting of hostages by German soldiers, or the starving to death of Ukrainians by communist cadre.

Genocide, however, is a confused and confusing concept. It may or may not include government murder, refer to wholly or partially eliminating some group, or involve psychological damage. If it includes government murder, it may mean all such murder or just some. Boiling all this down, genocide can have three different meanings (on this, see my encyclopedia entry here).

One meaning is that defined by international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This makes genocide a punishable crime under international law, and defines it as:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Note that only the first clause includes outright killing, while the other clauses cover non-killing ways of eliminating a group. I will call this definition the legal meaning of genocide, since it is now part of international law.

Regardless of this definition and doubtlessly influenced by the Holocaust, ordinary usage and that by students of genocide have tended to wholly equate it with the murder and only the murder by government of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion. This equating of genocide with the killing of people because of their indelible group membership I will label the common meaning of genocide.

What about government murdering people for other reasons than their indelible group membership? What about government organized death squads eliminating communist sympathizers, simply fulfilling a government death quota (as in the Soviet Union under Stalin), or the murder of those who criticized government policy? None of such murders are genocide according the legal and common meanings. To cover such murders, some students of genocide have stretched its meaning to include all government murder, regardless of group identity. This may be aptly named the generalized meaning of genocide. In this meaning, genocide = democide.

As obvious, the problem with the generalized meaning of genocide is that to fill one void it creates another. For if genocide refers to all government murder, what are we to call the murder of people because of their nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion? It is precisely because of this conceptual problem that the concept of democide is useful.

For understanding and research, the legal view of genocide is too complex and subsumes behavior too different in kind. I argue, therefore, that genocide should ordinarily be understood as the government murder of people because of their indelible group membership (let the international lawyers struggle with the legal meaning), and democide as any murder by government, including this form of genocide.

This understood, governments murdered about 170,000,000 people in the last century, 1900-1987. Around 38,000,000 of that was genocide. For what governments committed what and when, see Tables 16A.1 of my Statistics of Democide (link here).


Link of Note

”20th Century Democide” By R.J. Rummel

A narrative and statistical overview.

Power kills, absolute Power kills absolutely . . . . The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects. The more constrained the power of governments, the more it is diffused, checked and balanced, the less it will aggress on others and commit democide. At the extremes of Power, totalitarian communist governments slaughter their people by the tens of millions, while many democracies can barely bring themselves to execute even serial murderers.


Global Peace And Human Security Are Not Hopeless

June 24, 2009

[First published February 17, 2005.] Yes, There is Hope. Great Hope

With all the mass murder by thug dictators in such countries as North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Congo, Iran, and the like, with terrorists murdering people wholesale, and with the apparent inability to stop or prevent most of it, the post-World War II exclamation, “Never Again,” seems hopeless. Such is the feeling I get from reading news items on the latest democide (murder by government) and murder bombing, and some of the email I receive. And, I must admit, I have contributed to this pessimism with my country-by-county, year-by-year estimates of the world’s democide. Clearly, as I’ve pointed out, a slow motion nuclear war has taken place, with my conservative estimate of 262,000,000 murdered by governments in the 20th Century.

And it continues into this century.

But, it is not hopeless. We are not faced, nor are our children faced with such democide in perpetuity. We do have the ability to turn “Never Again” into reality for all.

We should recognize some facts. One is that democracies by far have had the least domestic democide, and now with their extensive liberalization, have virtually none. Therefore, democratization (not just electoral democracies, but liberal democratization in terms of civil liberties and political rights) provides the long run hope for the elimination of democide. Second, that the world is progressively becoming more democratic, with from 22 democracies in 1950 to something like 121 democracies today (about 89 of them liberal democracies), gives substance to this hope. A third is that democracies don’t make war on each other, and the more democratic government, the less its foreign and domestic violence, AND DEMOCIDE. And fourth, the democratic peace and the fostering of democracies worldwide is now the core organizing principle of American foreign policy.

Already, the growth in the number of democracies has decreased the amount of international war and violence (see my, “Democracies Increase and Ipso Facto, World Violence Declines,” “Democracies Up, Violence Down Again, Media Still Blind”). And this will continue. Eventually, at some point in the future, virtually the whole world will be democratic. Then, perhaps, in the presence of the world’s major presidents, and prime ministers, the President of the Global Alliance of Democracies can uncover a statue of Irene, the Greek Goddess of peace, in Geneva, with these words on its base:

“Now, Never Again”


Link of Note

”Ending Slavery” (2/12/05) By Thomas Sowell

To me the most staggering thing about the long history of slavery — which has encompassed the entire world and every race in it — is that nowhere before the 18th century was there any serious question raised about whether slavery was right or wrong. In the late 18th century, that question arose in Western civilization, but nowhere else.

It seems so obvious today that, as Lincoln said, if slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong. But no country anywhere believed that three centuries ago.

Many pessimists feel about ending democide as humanists in the 16th and 17th centuries felt about ending slavery. It always has been and always will be. Moreover, while we now see democide as horrible, a black mark on humanity, and what must be stopped, like slavery, this is only a modern view. Historically, democide has been accepted as an inevitable aspect of war, and a necessity of governance.

Sowell’s article is a good reminder of how we once viewed slavery, and how what we once thought was as natural to society as a division of labor, was virtually eliminated in a century.