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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

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