Democratic Peace Theory Essay Sample

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The impression that democratic countries are known to be more peaceful than non- democratic countries have been argued by most theorists, who have brought about the liberal understanding of international politics. This is understood by Immanuel Kant’s edition of democratic peace theory; DPT (Shimko 2009). This composition critically analyses the democratic peace theory that is comprehensively argued by theorists and academics, studied by experts in international relations, and skilfully practised by politicians thus presenting a wide-ranging observation of the theory. Five differing explanations about the peace theory will be mentioned and diverse notions and beliefs will be assessed.

This composition will classify whether spreading of the democratic peace theory will guarantee international peace or not, the examples that will be mentioned below of the democratic peace theory will reveal and criticize the true extent of how effective the theory is in reality. The composition simplifies the fundamental theories which establish the disputes between democracy and war. Furthermore, the composition reveals the belief of the democratic peace theory. The composition identifies and reviews angles in which theorists and academics justly believe that the democratic peace theory subsists, and that the origins come about from the qualities of many democracies around the world. Hence, supporters of the democratic peace theory believe that the mutual understanding of peace comes about due to the social norms, culture and political establishment.

From the structural viewpoint the key alternatives of the democratic Peace Theory claims that the decision makers and elected officials are held responsible to a large constituency in a government, this perceives war an unfavourable choice by the government officials and the general public. This is due to the drawbacks that can occur with war, for example war casualties, high expenditure and damage to infrastructure. Therefore it can be stated that the restraining effects of public opinion have a strong say. (Layne 1994). The regular voter will no longer support the obligatory leader for commencing a redundant war; this delivers a strong official force for the political candidates to expect the outcome of the elections before choosing to go to war. However this outlook does not perceive the general public and selected government to be liberally incorporated, although on the whole, democratic structures that allow the people of the nation to control decisions made by the government will reduce the chances of a democratic leader initiating war between other liberal democracies. This will make it difficult for leaders of other parties other than liberalists to persuade and influence the nation to go to war with establishments such as freedom of speech, competitive oppositions and political diversity. It is stated however that the normative view point of the peace theory to be more forceful in action and consistent than the structural view point (Geller and Singer 1998).

In the normative view point of Democratic Peace Theory, “normative explanations attribute the democratic peace to shared liberal and democratic norms that makes it impossible for democracies to fight one another” (Brown 1998 p.18). It can be argued that liberal and democratic morals clarify the amity that continues to subsist among democratic nations. This view about democratic culture promotes goodwill and harmony amongst democratic nations that will help resolve disagreements in the best possible manner. According to the Democratic Peace Theory, influential government officials will sort out their discrepancies in reconciliation. Furthermore democracies that care and act in behalf of their people’s concern are perceived to be respected, however non-democracies that act aggressive and have traits of tyranny towards people of their own state are considered being a threat to international peace. Therefore it can be seen that perception is of immense significance and that even if a state is a democracy, if it isn’t perceived as a true democracy by the other democracies then the democratic peace plan will not hold. An example of this would be how the United States of America did not see England as a democracy and started war in 1812.

Though few academics consider the structural and normative explanations to be equally restricted in some parts, it has been more meaningful merging these idea’s together. Therefore states that have law enforced, competitive political systems, free press, fair elections and a true democratic system are likely to have norms that are considered as democratic norms. Thus the two explanations above mentioned go hand in hand with one another which help in the development of political solutions and society to be more nonviolent over time.

On a monadic assumption, critics of the Democratic Peace Theory state that democracies that are liberal are not likely to go to war with states that are not democracies (Oerding 2009), this is due to the verification of information that has been passed down from history which criticises the monadic suggestion which states that democratic states are less likely to use power despite of the government type of the competitor state. This could be possible as democratic states still to this day operate in a world where the trend of democracies is increasing, especially after the cold war which has lead to many states adopting democracy. Therefore it can be seen that power politics is still an essential part of democratic states, especially with the great degree of Disagreement between democratic states. Also democracies that do initiate war are more likely to win against non-democracies; this is due to the fact that the politicians that have been elected choose to go to war with states that are considered to have less power, in addition democratic states prefer to go to war with states that they can win in quick time. Examples of this would be the United States of America going into war with Afghanistan.

However on a dyadic perspective of the Democratic Peace Theory: the study that democracies become alliances with one another is believed. Therefore if an autocratic state is in transition of becoming a democracy, it is believed that conflict is reduced by 40 percent. Moreover proof indicates that if an autocratic regime starts to change to a democracy, the trend rate would increase heavily, this would bring about international peace as the world to a large extent would be democratic, and this not only would secure world peace but also benefit people with economic transactions and many more advantages. It is habitually argued by realists that democratic judgment disables policymakers to make the right choices which would benefit the state in the long run; this is due to the Democratic Peace Theory in which it suggests that the people of the nation should have power in deciding fundamental decisions. Therefore realists believe that a states foreign policy would not be one of strength. However as mentioned before in the above texts it can also be an effective foreign policy depending on the peoples agenda on what they want. Therefore as much as realist may argue about the Democratic Peace Theory not being practical, it has been understood from real world examples such as the United States that democracies can assure security by making powerful ideologies that may convince the people of the nation to act upon important issues. These reasons alone have given us proof of democratic peace and give a strong foreign policy.

In conclusion the structural and normative viewpoint of the democratic peace theory gives a clear indication to why global democracy will enhance global peace in the long run. Democratic supporting establishments create an intricate manner for governments to kick off warfare without the approval of the people entitled to vote; therefore the associated enriching norms signify democracies want a peaceful way of sorting out conflict between rival states. This will fabricate an affirmative qualitative change up: democracies are the least likely to start up war as they believe that there is much to lose with unnecessary wars as mentioned early. Furthermore, a rise in democracies could widen liberal peace to a larger number of countries, and would enhance the likelihood of winning war against autocratic regimes that have the possibility to harm humanity. It is clear to see that there are many difficulties with adapting to democracy with examples of civil wars occurring; nevertheless this process should be implemented if global peace is to come about. Helping international organisations to strengthen up with norms and principles that symbolize liberal ways will encourage trade and industry interdependence and many other beneficial transactions with non-democracies. This will also help resolve insecurities between states so that global peace can be obtained.


1) Burchill, S. et al., 2009. Theories of international relations. 4 Edition. England, UK: Palgrave macmillan. Pp 60-61

2) Brown, Micheal. E, 1998. Theories of War and Peace (International Security Readers). 3 Edition. The MIT Press. Pp 18-22

3) Collins, A., 2007. Contemporary Security Studies. 1 Edition. Oxford University Press, USA. pp 28-32

4) Democratic Peace Theory and Its Critics | The Blirg. 2012. The Democratic Peace Theory and Its Critics | The Blirg. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].

5) Geller, Daniel. S., 1998. Nations at War: A Scientific Study of International Conflict (Cambridge Studies in International Relations).1 Edition. Cambridge University Press, pp 86-88

6) Monadic Peace from a Synthesis of Methodologies | The Yale Review of International Studies. 2012. A Monadic Peace from a Synthesis of Methodologies | The Yale Review of International Studies. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].

7)Oerding, S., 2009 Why do democratic states not fight each other? A systemic approach to the democratic peace. Munich, Germany: GRIN Verlag, pp 8 – 10

8)Shimko, Keith L., 2009. International Relations: Perspectives and Controversies. 3 Edition. Wadsworth Publishing, pp 89-113

9)SDI Encyclopedia – Democratic Peace Theory. 2012. SDI Encyclopedia – Democratic Peace Theory. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 05 November 2012].

10) The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century by James Ostrowski. 2012. The Myth of Democratic Peace: Why Democracy Cannot Deliver Peace in the 21st Century by James Ostrowski. [ONLINE] Available at:

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