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Why do democracies win wars? This is a critical question in the study of international relations, as a traditional view--expressed most famously by Alexis de Tocqueville--has been that democracies are inferior in crafting foreign policy and fighting wars. In Democracies at War, the first major study of its kind, Dan Reiter and Allan Stam come to a very different conclusion. Democracies tend to win the wars they fight--specifically, about eighty percent of the time. Complementing their wide-ranging case-study analysis, the authors apply innovative statistical tests and new hypotheses. In unusually clear prose, they pinpoint two reasons for democracies' success at war. First, as elected leaders understand that losing a war can spell domestic political backlash, democracies start only those wars they are likely to win. Secondly, the emphasis on individuality within democratic societies means that their soldiers fight with greater initiative and superior leadership. Surprisingly, Reiter and Stam find that it is neither economic muscle nor bandwagoning between democratic powers that enables democracies to win wars. They also show that, given societal consent, democracies are willing to initiate wars of empire or genocide. On the whole, they find, democracies' dependence on public consent makes for more, rather than less, effective foreign policy. Taking a fresh approach to a question that has long merited such a study, this book yields crucial insights on security policy, the causes of war, and the interplay between domestic politics and international relations.
Numerous democratic nations have been singled out by NGOs for brutality in their modus operandi, for paying inadequate attention to civilian protection or for torture of prisoners. This book deals with the difficulties faced when conducting asymmetric warfare in populated areas without violating humanitarian law.
That democracies do not wage war against each other is now a well-documented pattern in international politics. However, our theoretical understanding of what accounts for this so-called democratic peace is limited. What is so special about democracies that keeps them from fighting fellow democracies, even though they fight wars against (perceived) non-democracies? Knupling contributes to the debate by classifying and synthesising different theoretical explanations for democratic peace at the analytical levels of the state and the international system. He digs deep into the workings of the democratic political system and the orientations of its foreign policy-leaders that culminate in collective action in the international arena. A central theme is that processes of integration -- taking place both within as well as among democracies -- lead to the formation of a common identity. Democracies construct "friends" and "foes", basing their judgment on the way other states resolve their domestic conflicts. Knupling supports his argument with a discussion of conceptual, methodological and epistemological problems of democratic peace.
Liberal democracies have always accepted the need to go to war, despite the fact that war can undermine liberal values. Wars may be won or lost, not only on the battlefield, but in the perceptions of the publics who pay for them. Presentation is therefore increasingly important. Starting with the First World War, the first major war fought by liberal democracies after the emergence on mass media, Liberal Democracies at War explores the relationship between representations of liberal violence and the ways in which the liberal state understands 'rights' in war. Experts in the field explore crucial questions such as: · How have the violences of war perpetrated in their names been communicated to publics of liberal democracies? · How have representations of conflict changed over time? · How far have the victims of liberal wars been able to insert their stories into the record?
That democracies do not wage war against each other is now a well-documented pattern of international politics. However, our theoretical knowledge of this so-called democratic peace is limited. We do not know what impedes democracies from fighting fellow democracies, even though they fight wars against (perceived) non-democracies. This volume contributes to the debate by way of classifying and synthesising different theoretical accounts of democratic peace at the analytical level of the state and the international system. It digs deep into the workings of the democratic political system and the orientations of its foreign policy leaders which culminate in collective action on the international arena. A central theme is that processes of integration - taking place both within as well as among democracies - lead to the formation of a common identity. Democracies construe their "friends" and "foes", basing their judgment on the way other states resolve their domestic conflicts. This argument is supported by a discussion of conceptual, methodological and epistemological problems of democratic peace. The volume concludes with a presentation of policy recommendations and a short summary in German.
By their nature, democracies clearly have greater constraints than autocratic regimes on their freedom of action as they have to meet constitutional, legal and moral criteria in their use of force. This collection analyses a number of case studies showing how democracies have won small wars.
Gil Merom argues that modern democracies fail in insurgency wars because they are unable to find a winning balance between expedient and moral tolerance for the costs of war. Small wars are lost at home when a critical minority shifts the balancing element from the battlefield to the marketplace of ideas. This minority, representing the educated middle class, abhors the brutality involved in effective counterinsurgency, but also refuses to sustain the level of casualties resulting from fighting in other ways.

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