The Democratic Peace Theory

787 Words4 Pages
The theory has helped fuel the debate on the causes of war and peace, and according to Rosato, the Democratic Peace Theory is flawed (599). Furthermore, Rosato defines the theory as a post-World War II phenomenon, and therefore limits the temporal applicability (599). Explanations by Rosato of the peaceful interactions between democratic states involve the threat of the Soviet Union and the dominant power of the United States. These conditions lead to initiatives like the North Atlantic Treaty, which allegedly had profound effects in Europe, where most ‘democracies’ can be found, because it eliminates “the security dilemma as a factor in European politics” (Rosato 599). This implies that peace did not have much to do with democracy, but more…show more content…
He recognizes that there are some “conceptual problems” with the theory, but believes that these can be solved in order to come to a sound argument (Ray 31). Like Rosato, Ray admits that the definitions of the concepts ‘interstate war’ and ‘democracy’ can vary, according to the criteria employed (Ray 31). Ray manages to tackle the unclarity of an ‘interstate war’ using the Correlates of War project, which defines an interstate war as a conflict between independent states, that lead to at least 1000 military casualties (Ray 31). As such conflicts do not involve long lasting hostilities and do not last more than a couple of days, albeit with many casualties, it allegedly cannot be considered a war, but more as a major incidence. Since states are democratic in varying degrees, it is impossible to define a democratic state (Ray 31). Due to the issue involved in defining democracy, Ray reformulates the conclusion of the theory as follows: “States that have achieved a certain level of democracy have never fought wars against each other” (Ray 43). Ray argues that, based on lengthy empirical analyses, the most appropriate answer to the question, if democracies cause peace, is “Yes” (43). The efforts of Ray to validate the theory involves a certain degree of flexibility by the interpreter. This is fundamental for coming to scientific explanations of the world, as explained by Ahmed Jamal Anwer: “Scientific theories are not final truth, but conjunctures or hypotheses designed to explain the world” (249). Despite criticisms, James Lee Ray comes to the conclusion that the Democratic Peace Theory does make a valid

More about The Democratic Peace Theory

Open Document