Can Democracy Create World Peace? Democratic Peace Theory: Misguided Policy or Panacea


Program Description:

Can democracy create world peace? The Democratic Peace Theory finds that the probability of any two democracies engaging in war is 32/6876 = .0047; of not engaging in war is .9953. Beyond academics, last two presidential administrations embraced this research as a policy objective and way to build world peace. Yet this view rests on three problematic assumptions. The first holds that democracy will be welcomed and can be transplanted with relative ease. Secondly, democratically elected governments may not guarantee peacefully interests. Here “one must be careful what one wishes for” as democratically elected leadership may not always be benign and may pursue agendas in contrast to American interests. A third concern is how do you create a world of democracies? Can “gunpoint democracy” work or does it present a contradiction to the ideas of conflict resolution through nonviolence? This presentation will explore these issues and whether the quest for democratic universalism is a misguided and dangerous foreign policy or a panacea to interstate war.


Alynna Lyon

Alynna Lyon is an associate professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire. Her research focus includes world politics, international organizations, U.S. foreign policy, humanitarian intervention and peacekeeping and the international relations of Middle East politics. She is faculty advisor for the UNH Model United Nations and is past Chair of Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration section of the International Studies Association and Vice Chair of the Human Rights Section.

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