Why Democracies Don't Fight Each Other: Democracy and Integration

Author/s (editor/s):

Harvey Starr

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1996/3 (PDF, 2.71MB)

Harvey Starr, 'Why Democracies Don't Fight Each Other: Democracy and Integration', IR Working Paper 1996/3, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, June 1996.

While a large and growing literature has emerged which investigates the impact of the expansion of democracy on foreign policy and international politics, much of it has been characterised by insufficient attention to theoretical and conceptual clarity. To address such problems, this essay is an exercise in concept clarification. Most importantly, this article stresses that the democratic peace is a subset of the processes and results of integration, that it fits within an integration framework, and that it works according to processes already identified by integration theory which permits the synthesis of a number of 'contending' explanations for the democratic peace. As part of this argument, the article also stresses the transparent nature of democracy, emphasising the importance of the mutual perceptions of two democracies that the other is clearly a democracy. Finally, this article reminds scholars that the focus of the democratic peace proposition is on war. This is crucial for the testing and extension of theories that explain the democratic peace. While it is important to explore our theories in terms of their extension to other conflictual phenomena, we must be careful in specifying exactly what these relationships should look like.

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