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.
The simple premise underlying the book is that wars between states and wars within states are generally fought by rational people for particular political goals or perceived interests. War is better understood as a methodology rather than an ideology. When the context, issues and actors in these armed conflicts change then it is often possible to control, or even transform such violence.
By bringing together a number of existing debates from peace and conflict research as well as scholars of international relations, the book examines the dynamic forces that lie behind the ending of wars and how these have changed over time. Examples are drawn from a wide range of armed conflicts to analyse the efforts that have been made to move from War-War to Jaw-Jaw, or more typically Jaw-War. Efforts at third-party intervention, mediation and political negotiation across a range of conflict zones from Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa are discussed in full. Neither idealistic nor fatalistic, this book is a must-read for all students of international politics and security studies.
The importance of domestic politics in the formulation of foreign policy;
The benefits and costs of seeking security through military power at the expense of expanding networks of shared national and transnational institutions;
The incentives of other states to bandwagon with a strong but unthreatening hegemon and 'free-ride' on benefits it may provide rather than to balance against a powerful hegemon.
The degree to which hegemony and democracy undermine or support each other.
By applying theories of collective action and foreign policy, Russett explores the development of American hegemony and the prospects for a democratic hegemon to retain its influence during the coming decades. This collection is an essential volume for students and scholars of International Relations, American Politics, and US Foreign Policy.