The Triumph of the Liberal Democratic Peace and the Dangers of Its Success

Authored by: Fuat Gursozlu

The Routledge Handbook of Pacifism and Nonviolence

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138194663
eBook ISBN: 9781315638751
Adobe ISBN:


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Liberal democratic peace theory (henceforth LDPT) is based on two propositions:

Liberal democracies rarely fight each other.

Liberal democracies are as war prone as any other states in their relations with non-democratic states.

Immanuel Kant provided the first formulation of LDPT in his “Toward Perpetual Peace” (1795). LDPT has become immensely popular since the publication of Michael Doyle’s two essays in 1983, which advanced the most sophisticated philosophical arguments in support of LDPT. Drawing on Kant’s “Perpetual Peace,” Doyle argues that the “dovishness” in relations between liberal democracies is the result of three pillars: liberal democratic norms dominant in these societies, liberal democratic institutions, and the shared commercial interests between liberal democracies. Together these three pillars establish grounds for peace among liberal states (Doyle 1986: 1162). There exists “a separate peace between liberal democratic states” (Doyle 1983a: 235).

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