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The Antinomy of Democratic Peace

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Research on the ‘democratic peace’ has neglected the fact that democracies fight wars that no one else would, particularly to preserve international law and to prevent human disasters and large-scale violations of human rights. What is more, data on average probabilities of democratic war involvement have obscured that there have been vast differences in democracies' use of military force. This article demonstrates that the causal mechanisms of established approaches to the democratic peace do not preclude democracies' involvement in war. Most importantly, the ambivalence of the Kantian tradition allows for two competing logics of appropriateness that can be used to construct two ideal types: whereas, militant democracies conceive of their entire relation to non-democracies as antagonistic, and frequently fight wars to de-throne dictators, pacifist democracies believe in a modus vivendi with autocracies and try to assist their transformation into democracies.International Politics (2004) 41, 494–520. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800089
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: aPeace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), Leimenrode 29, 60322 Frankfurt/Main, Germany., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 December 2004

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