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Are democracies more likely to be peaceful than authoritarian states?

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Introduction

Are democracies more likely to be peaceful than authoritarian states? To answer this question we first need to define and contrast the two different types of state. An authoritarian state is one that enforces a policy of strict obedience, compliance and may use tyrannical and domineering measures to obtain this. A vote system may be in operation but any dissenting section of the population may come under threat from the government in control thus making the vote a mere stage show. Unlike the above a democratic state sees individual freedom as paramount to the success of a capitalist democracy, which has a system of government influenced by the whole population via the use of representatives. We assume the word peaceful used in this context is the opposite of war but war is the most extreme consequence of the bad reaction between two or more states. Actions of other states may cause another to experience civil unrest, civil panic and changes in legislation; most commonly an occurrence in democratic states as seen in light of 9/11, which I will discuss later on in the essay. 1945 and the end of World War II was a significant turning point with regards to peace between democratic states. Before 1945 'The League of Nations' was an attempt to avoid conflict like the Great War from recurring. ...read more.

Middle

The present day UN can be seen as a more successful version of the League of Nations. It seems that democracies are constantly striving after peace but in turn is this making their states less peaceful? In the year 2000 the UN had 189 members and one of its main objectives stated in the UN charter was to "Maintain international peace and security....promoting and encouraging respect for human rights...". By no means is the UN ever seen as the aggressor, rather the international police force that deals with breaches of human rights on a large scale or tries to prevent usually authoritarian states from warring. This coalition of what are now hundreds of democratic countries must reveal that at the core democratic states are more peaceful. Maybe democracies have come to see that negotiation and deliberation over difficult international disputes is a far better and cost effective way of resolving them as opposed to war and oppression. However not all authoritarian states enact a policy of genocide on a section of their population; some states have had authoritarian rule and it has improved the state of the country. Democracy is not always a sure thing. Collapsing democracies tend to show great national fervour, for example Cuba; its democratic collapse sparking one of the greatest crisis of the Cold War. These types of states often occur when a nation is economically and politically unstable. ...read more.

Conclusion

Almost 3 million US men and women were sent thousands of miles to fight and on both sides over 2 million were killed. It was America's fear and paranoia that the world would 'fall' to communism that it took radical action to try and halt it (domino theory). For a time this paranoia turned America into an aggressive democratic state internationally and we may be seeing this happening again with the unrest in the Middle East. In the Global society that we live in it is hard for a state to isolate itself. Democratic governments are more likely to favour free trade and beneficial trade agreements with other states. To maintain fluent and fair trade international peace is very important and it may become increasingly hard for authoritarian states to trade successfully with democratic states if they are violating human rights. If every state were a democracy then ideally there would be general peace. Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, predicted in 1795 that a world of democracies would create what he called "perpetual peace."2 But while authoritarian states that are fundamentally hostile and are not striving for peace exist, especially those who violate international law and oppress their citizens, democratic states will struggle to be peaceful. 1 Maters, Roger D. 1989. The Nature of Politics. New Have, CT: Yale University Press 2 Arnold Beichman: fellow at the Hoover institution. Taken from his writing on Political Democracies Paul Charles Gaffney ...read more.

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