- Do democratic states fight each other?
Do democratic states fight each other?
It is commonly believed in political thought that two democratic
nation-states would not fight one another. Russett and Antholis
have noted that this phenomenon is not because democratic states
are innately more peaceful, but borne out by the simple fact that
democracies are on the whole much less likely to attack one another
than comparisons which can be made with others systems of
governance and authority such as military dictatorships.
However, there is a thin and thick end to the wedge of
democratic rights and accountability; no one would suggest that
some of the "democratic" states in Africa for example afford its
citizens the same degree of safeguards and rights as may exist in
more established Western democracies. This is a point that it is
important to bear in mind when assessing this question, as the
strength or stability of the democratic institutions can have an
effect on the outcome. Mansfield and Snyder have noted that
historically and contemporarily, states that are in the
transitional process of democratisation or from democratisation to
another form of regime, are likely to engage in conflicts, and this
is important to bear in mind for those who promote or attempt to
enforce democracy as the best alternative for all