Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historically)

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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Captain Seafort » 2014-05-16 01:24pm

Thanas wrote:
Metahive wrote:What about those times the West used underhanded means to get rid of democratically elected people it didn't like in other states and replaced them with more pliable dicators? Like Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran?
That is a valid criticism of this theory and bravo to you by bringing it up instead of engaging in shitflinging. Indeed, this is one of the better examples of a democracy (another even better one would be Allende / Pinochet, as there you had an even better case of a western democracy attacking.
Alternatively it proves the theory right because in neither case did one democracy directly attack another - they used catspaws instead.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-16 01:29pm

Yeah but I don't think this is quite what the proponents of the theory have in mind.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-16 01:58pm

Fuck you too Thanas, you know perfectly well Lebanon and Israel are both modern and democratic (functionality of Lebanon's democracy is admitted, like I said before, by the Western powers themselves). You just dislike the outcome of the votes.

Comparing Lebanon's political parties to NSDAP is the worst case of Godwin, but even that taken into account, yes, Hitler won elections and yes - at the time the NSDAP did not yet convert Germany to a Fuhrerprinzip-based dictatorship it was a democracy.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-16 08:58pm

Stas Bush wrote:Fuck you too Thanas, you know perfectly well Lebanon and Israel are both modern and democratic (functionality of Lebanon's democracy is admitted, like I said before, by the Western powers themselves). You just dislike the outcome of the votes.
I don't dislike anything in Lebanon, I got no bone in that fight. But Lebanon is also not a modern democracy, despite whatever you may claim. Where does it rank on the index of civil liberties, where does it rank on the case of press and in any case having a theocratic ministate controlling one third of the country is definitely not being a modern democracy. In case you are wondering, I would even dispute Israel being a modern democracy as required by the theory, certainly when you have an apartheid state it cannot be a modern democracy where everyone gets to partake in the political process.

Also, I require you to provide proof with regards to my cheering on Israel and their policies, or a retraction of that lie.
Comparing Lebanon's political parties to NSDAP is the worst case of Godwin, but even that taken into account, yes, Hitler won elections and yes - at the time the NSDAP did not yet convert Germany to a Fuhrerprinzip-based dictatorship it was a democracy.
You are missing the point, which is that just because you are winning elections does not mean you are a democracy. Even then, by the time Hitler started the war, Germany was clearly not a democracy anymore.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by PKRudeBoy » 2014-05-16 09:46pm

Thanas wrote:
Metahive wrote:What about those times the West used underhanded means to get rid of democratically elected people it didn't like in other states and replaced them with more pliable dicators? Like Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran?
That is a valid criticism of this theory and bravo to you by bringing it up instead of engaging in shitflinging. Indeed, this is one of the better examples of a democracy (another even better one would be Allende / Pinochet, as there you had an even better case of a western democracy attacking. Even if one were to argue that those were not modern democracies, the fact is that they were on their way there before being stopped by other western powers. I don't know how people answer that, as I said I am not a proponent of the theory. My guess is that they would argue that either the context of the cold war or the fact that imperialism is not dead yet would be the answer, furthermore they would also probably claim that they only claim that democracies "rarely" attack each other. But I don't know if this has ever been brought up or rebutted.
I would argue that Chile is a special case. While Pinochet may not have been elected when he assumed the role of head of government, he was specifically asked by both the legislative and judicial branches of the Chilean government to remove Allende from office for abuse of power. While this doesn't excuse his own abuses of power later on, being requested by both the supreme court and the chamber of deputies to launch a coup seems to me like one of the most justifiable reasons to launch a coup ever.

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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2014-05-17 03:53am

PKRudeBoy wrote: I would argue that Chile is a special case. While Pinochet may not have been elected when he assumed the role of head of government, he was specifically asked by both the legislative and judicial branches of the Chilean government to remove Allende from office for abuse of power. While this doesn't excuse his own abuses of power later on, being requested by both the supreme court and the chamber of deputies to launch a coup seems to me like one of the most justifiable reasons to launch a coup ever.
The Chamber of Deputies passed a resolution against Allende. Since when is a dispute between different branches of government an invitation to depose all of the elected government and form a military junta? That's if you ignore all the evidence of military planning and CIA involvement that precedes that resolution by months.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-17 04:15am

Thanas wrote:But Lebanon is also not a modern democracy, despite whatever you may claim. Where does it rank on the index of civil liberties, where does it rank on the case of press and in any case having a theocratic ministate controlling one third of the country is definitely not being a modern democracy.
Once again exaggerations. Just because people vote for someone you don't like it does not mean Lebanon is not a modern democracy. Same goes for Israel. People can vote for conservatives, for religious fanatics, for imperialists. Their presence in the parliament does not mean the state is not a modern democracy, otherwise you are simply engaging in a No True Scotsman (which is exactly my beef with you here). Israel and Lebanon are both modern and democratic - they are, at the very least, well past the stage of European colonial metropoles in the 1950s-1960s, which you dare to qualify as 'true democracies'. By slandering the few Arab democracies there are as non-democratic, you are engaging in a very dangerous game - this logic is close to 'Israel's the only democracy so it can attack these dictatorial Uh-rabs all it wants' that the American and Israeli right wingers use routinely.

Winning elections does not mean you are a democracy. Winning free elections means you are one. Both 2005 and 2009 elections in Lebanon were not judged unfair or unfree, unlike say the elections in Belarus. Same goes for Israel - I have not heard claims that elections are unfree.

You stubbornly reject the possibility of free and fair elections bringing nationalistic coalitions to power which are shaped by decades of conflict, and which then choose to continue or renew the conflict. You do this simply because you want to defend the theory, not because you actually believe this. You then handpick the criteria and say Western Europe and the US are 'true democracies' (but only after WWII - god forbid we look at their earlier actions!), but, for example, Lebanon and Israel of the 1980s and 2000s aren't! What a travesty.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-17 05:23am

Stas Bush wrote:Once again exaggerations. Just because people vote for someone you don't like it does not mean Lebanon is not a modern democracy. Same goes for Israel. People can vote for conservatives, for religious fanatics, for imperialists. Their presence in the parliament does not mean the state is not a modern democracy, otherwise you are simply engaging in a No True Scotsman (which is exactly my beef with you here). Israel and Lebanon are both modern and democratic - they are, at the very least, well past the stage of European colonial metropoles in the 1950s-1960s, which you dare to qualify as 'true democracies'.
Do they have a functioning, free civil society with free dialogue, do they have a monopoly of force by the state, do they have free press, do they have religious freedom? None of that applies to Hizbollah or Hamas, yet is important to be able to claim being fitted under the democratic peace theory.
By slandering the few Arab democracies there are as non-democratic, you are engaging in a very dangerous game - this logic is close to 'Israel's the only democracy so it can attack these dictatorial Uh-rabs all it wants' that the American and Israeli right wingers use routinely.
Oh please. My record on Israel, despite your desperate need to turn it into something it is not so you can feel superior in your self-rightousness is quite clear.

BTW, have you gotten around to finding the posts of me cheering on Israel yet, liar?
Winning elections does not mean you are a democracy. Winning free elections means you are one. Both 2005 and 2009 elections in Lebanon were not judged unfair or unfree, unlike say the elections in Belarus. Same goes for Israel - I have not heard claims that elections are unfree.

You stubbornly reject the possibility of free and fair elections bringing nationalistic coalitions to power which are shaped by decades of conflict, and which then choose to continue or renew the conflict. You do this simply because you want to defend the theory, not because you actually believe this. You then handpick the criteria and say Western Europe and the US are 'true democracies' (but only after WWII - god forbid we look at their earlier actions!), but, for example, Lebanon and Israel of the 1980s and 2000s aren't! What a travesty.
If a nationalistic party came to power in France and would want to wage war with Germany over the Saar or vice versa, then that would be clearly a violation of the theory. But to claim that Lebanon is a democracy which qualifies under the theory (that part is important) with one third being a state within a state funded by Iran is just simply dishonest. Attack the theory for not taking those states into account but do not claim that it was crafted to fit those states.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-17 08:07am

Are you implying 80's and 2000's Lebanon has no civil society while Britain or Switzerland of the 1940s has it? I just want to understand. That is got to be the most baffling thing I ever heard.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-05-17 03:44pm

Thanas wrote:Popularity among idiots has never been a reason to dispute the worth or validity of theories. If it were, evolution should be considered the worst theory ever out there considering the amount of harm it caused due to people not understanding it (social darwinism, colonialism, civilization theory etc.)
You misunderstand. I think the theory is dubious for various reasons including a mixture of its proponents using a no true scotsman fallacy or having a small sample size. I think one of the reasons it persists despite being dubious is because its lends itself well (intentionally or not) as a justification for various actions, including imperialistic ones.
George Bush used almost everything out there and the kitchen sink to justify his politics, using theories he did not understand beyond some buzzwords and most likely he just namedropped them in a pathetic attempt to seem smart or justify his actions. Bush using a theory is the same as Hitler using survival of the fittest as justificaiton of the jews - it should be discounted as idiotic per se and not being considered a reflection of the theory.

In any case, even if we assume that this was his intent - to reduce war by turning Iraq into a democracy (which I don't believe a bit) - then he seriously failed to understand even the basic premise of the theory, that of discussion and exchange between nations. As a democratic Iraq would have been surrounded by autocracies I fail to see how that would have even been possible.
I suspected in his wettest dreams he didn't want to stop at Iraq, and anyone a democratic Iraq would naturally be friends with a democratic America.

Although again I wasn't discrediting the theory because Bush specifically used it per se, I am arguing it lends itself to be used. Whereas survival of the fitest was not meant to be an "ethical" theory, the link between the premise that "true democracies rarely wage war on each other" to the action of "promoting democracy" seems more obvious to me compared to the evolution example.

I would say that suspicion in general depends on a lot of factors, of which this theory might enhance some perceptions or not. After all, proponents of democracies have no qualms about dealing most dictatorships. Heck, not even Europeans are unwilling to deal with dictatorships. And just speaking from a personal point of view, I as a civilian would automatically be more wary of any state that is not accountable to its people simply because they might decide to disappear me without me having a say about it.
I would agree largely with your statement about a lot of factors and the theory enhancing some perceptions. Ultimately though, as someone who leans towards empirical evidence, I would judge behaviour more important than perception.
Besides, the theory is mainly a reflection of the fact that democracies have used treaties and diplomatic process to bury resentment and resolve territorial disputes, whereas dictatorships generally do not. Even "enlightened" dictatorships like China and Vietnam are currently involved in BS disputes about some islands instead of resolving the things through decades of rapproachment and conciliation. Dictatorships generally do not give up significant territorial claims like, say, Germany and France did with the Saarland and Alsace-Lorraine. Instead these are kept, like in the case of China and Vietnam.
I think you are being selective here. European democracies still have territorial disputes with each other, for example Gibraltar. Also the territorial disputes between China and Tajikistan was settled with China only gaining a fraction of the disputed territory. What they "gave up" was larger than territories involved with the current dispute it has with Vietnam. If I were tasked with trying to explain that, I would most likely go for pragmaticism as an explanation (ie China is more willing to make concessions when it has other concerns) rather than a democracy vs autocracy mindset. Even if my hypothesis is wrong, the Tajikistan issue would suggest its more complicated than democracies are more likely to negotiate and prefer non peaceful means.

I don't see this theory being that important in threat assesments. If it were, Europe would not be currently in talks with Asian dictatorships to expand their business. The chinese threat largely seems to exist in the mind of the USA as well and even then it is more the fear of losing regional supremacy than anything about a democracy. And quite frankly, I am pretty sure dictatorships have a much better propaganda apparatus to sow the fear of the west.
1. You're most probably right that its predominantly the US who thinks about a China threat in this manner. I will also admit the "they aren't a democracy" is most probably just another reason along with "we might lose our hegemony" as a justification in their minds for their fear.

2. Even if autocracies have better propaganda apparatus, its not really that relevant to my point.

Sure. That doesn't bode too well for China though, what with their internal and external wars. It bodes less well for the USA, but it is not as if one nation would get off squeaky clean here.
I would just like to add that this observation can be extended to various European nations. But I am going to hazard a guess that a lot of people don't think of European nations as most likely to start a war. They tend to like that Asian nation who hasn't fought one since 1979.
Do you consider Putin's Russia a democracy? I don't. I also probably would not count the Ukraine as a democracy right now.
Democracy is on a spectrum. Modern day Western democracies would more democratic than say the US at the time of the civil war, which in turn would be more democratic than classical Greece. I am no expert on Putin's Russia, but I would have thought since they allowed women to vote, they would be further along the spectrum than say 19th century USA.
However, I would disagree that if a democratic country breaks the premise of the theory then that it is not a true democracy. But no modern democracies have ever fought a war against each other, so at least the basic premise seems to be correct.
You already answered early to Metahive. But I also noted the case of US actions against Iran in the 1950s and Chile as well in the 1970s. I see this in some ways parallel to Athens destruction of Melos. A case where geopolitical alliances (Melos to Sparta, Chile leaning towards the second world) outweighing any shared supranational ideology (democracy).
I don't believe capital punishment is a human rights violation. Where have I said so? I have said I don't believe in it and consider it immoral, but last i checked being immoral =/= human rights violation.
I had mistakenly assumed since various human rights groups contend that capital punishment is a human rights violation that you had similar views. Thus I will withdraw this statement.
Thanas wrote:- while it is true that a democratic process can help states to become more friendly to each other, it might also have negative effects if populists get elected
Agreed.
- The time frame is too small and there are too many external and internal factors to really bookmark the impact of any factor, whether it be economic, political etc. to be declared more important.
- It is - as of now - unverifiable.
I would agree that if they are going to narrow the window so to speak to post WWII they have a really small sample size making it difficult to prove.

I would also add that if we take at face value their definition of democracy (quoted in the OP) then I can make a case that a lot of nations we consider democracies will not be considered so under such a definition. In effect making this theory even harder to prove because you further reduce the sample size.
- Democracies are not the only ones thriving for peace. Bismarck, an autocrat, always sought conciliatory war goals in those wars he did fight. After his victory over France, he alone kept the peace in Europe for close to 30 years whereas other (elected, if not democratic in the modern sense) leaders tried to entice another war.
Makes sense to me.
- Modern democracies of this day are so entangled in webs of alliances and mutual dependencies that one would be a great nutjob to start a war with another modern democracy.
A lot of modern democracies are also economically powerful, or allied to a powerful state. This also serves as a deterrent.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-19 01:15pm

Stas Bush wrote:Are you implying 80's and 2000's Lebanon has no civil society while Britain or Switzerland of the 1940s has it? I just want to understand. That is got to be the most baffling thing I ever heard.
I will respond to that as soon as you dig up the quotes of me supporting Israel and chearing them on. Post proof or redact that outrageous lie.

*************************
mr friendly guy wrote:You misunderstand. I think the theory is dubious for various reasons including a mixture of its proponents using a no true scotsman fallacy or having a small sample size. I think one of the reasons it persists despite being dubious is because its lends itself well (intentionally or not) as a justification for various actions, including imperialistic ones.
Political theories always persist, no matter the horrors caused by them. Just think of communism and fascism - both still have a lot of adherents despite being easily the most destructive theories of the last century. Without having seen numbers on this I would be very wary of saying "people support it because they are condoning imperialist actions".
I suspected in his wettest dreams he didn't want to stop at Iraq, and anyone a democratic Iraq would naturally be friends with a democratic America.
He also thought they would be greeted like the GIs in paris in 1944. That right there should tell you enough.
Although again I wasn't discrediting the theory because Bush specifically used it per se, I am arguing it lends itself to be used. Whereas survival of the fitest was not meant to be an "ethical" theory, the link between the premise that "true democracies rarely wage war on each other" to the action of "promoting democracy" seems more obvious to me compared to the evolution example.
I think the link there is at least as strong as the link between surivival of the fittest and colonialism/social darwinism, or colonial anthropology. I think we both agree that perversions of theories should not be used to discount the original theory, no?
I would agree largely with your statement about a lot of factors and the theory enhancing some perceptions. Ultimately though, as someone who leans towards empirical evidence, I would judge behaviour more important than perception.
Well, I don't see anybody related with the theory arguing that the EU or USA should democratize other countries by force, except for the abovementioned idiots.
I think you are being selective here. European democracies still have territorial disputes with each other, for example Gibraltar. Also the territorial disputes between China and Tajikistan was settled with China only gaining a fraction of the disputed territory. What they "gave up" was larger than territories involved with the current dispute it has with Vietnam. If I were tasked with trying to explain that, I would most likely go for pragmaticism as an explanation (ie China is more willing to make concessions when it has other concerns) rather than a democracy vs autocracy mindset. Even if my hypothesis is wrong, the Tajikistan issue would suggest its more complicated than democracies are more likely to negotiate and prefer non peaceful means.
I agree that this is most likely a simplification, but then again all huge theories like that only work if you simplify things. Regarding china - I admit I am unfamiliar with the territory they gave up, what was its worth (in regard to minerals, oil etc.)? Because IIRC dictatorships don't give up lands with either historical significance (Tibet) or resources (Tibet again, Spratley and Parcels).

I would just like to add that this observation can be extended to various European nations. But I am going to hazard a guess that a lot of people don't think of European nations as most likely to start a war. They tend to like that Asian nation who hasn't fought one since 1979.
Well, part is because European nations have a really hard time starting any wars without anything propelling them towards that course. Proxy wars are started all the time by all nations with colonial past, but you rarely see true European boots on the ground. I am not sure if that makes democracies waging wars more aggressive, more idealistic or just plain complicated.
Do you consider Putin's Russia a democracy? I don't. I also probably would not count the Ukraine as a democracy right now.
Democracy is on a spectrum. Modern day Western democracies would more democratic than say the US at the time of the civil war, which in turn would be more democratic than classical Greece. I am no expert on Putin's Russia, but I would have thought since they allowed women to vote, they would be further along the spectrum than say 19th century USA.[/quote]

Probably, although their elections don't really matter so that makes it a bit difficult.

You already answered early to Metahive. But I also noted the case of US actions against Iran in the 1950s and Chile as well in the 1970s. I see this in some ways parallel to Athens destruction of Melos. A case where geopolitical alliances (Melos to Sparta, Chile leaning towards the second world) outweighing any shared supranational ideology (democracy).
If you are getting the info about Melos from the Melian dialogue, then let me stop you right there as that is propaganda. The war is much more complicated than that and involves a lot more factors.
I would agree that if they are going to narrow the window so to speak to post WWII they have a really small sample size making it difficult to prove.
Yeah, I think the main problem with that is that this theory was tailored to European and american nations, while trying to explain why despite there being more territorial differences during the later half of the 20th century there were no further wars between nations who had more or less continously waged war for several millennia. There are a hosts of theories explaining that, among them is this one.
I would also add that if we take at face value their definition of democracy (quoted in the OP) then I can make a case that a lot of nations we consider democracies will not be considered so under such a definition. In effect making this theory even harder to prove because you further reduce the sample size.
Sure.
A lot of modern democracies are also economically powerful, or allied to a powerful state. This also serves as a deterrent.

True, or they got a larger common enemy, or they got a pacifist electorate, or they fear the costs etc. There are a hosts of reasons.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-19 04:43pm

Well, Thanas, nobody pulled your tongue to say this:
Thanas wrote:The arab "democracies" were no more democratic than the Holy Roman Empire was Holy or Roman.
What this means is that they were undemocratic. You not only put it as Arab democracies being not democratic, but also strengthened the oh so clever point by putting democracy in brackets.

How about you stand by your words now? How fucking can you name a state that opressed half the world's population rendering them voteless serfs, a 'true democracy', and just a post later mock states that did not do anything like this as a 'untrue democracy' despite them having a democratic tradition, and being subjected to foreign (Israeli or US) open or covert aggression, not to mention constantly struggling with refugee crises that US and Israeli wars in the Middle East produce?

Or maybe that's too much for you to admit this statement was not fair to the Middle East?
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-19 05:02pm

I see you are still unable to find proof for your lies regarding my support for Israel. How about you do that, liar, or are you going to pretend that never happened?

This is an official challenge. Put up or concede that you were lieing.
Stas Bush wrote:What this means is that they were undemocratic. You not only put it as Arab democracies being not democratic, but also strengthened the oh so clever point by putting democracy in brackets.

How about you stand by your words now? How fucking can you name a state that opressed half the world's population rendering them voteless serfs, a 'true democracy', and just a post later mock states that did not do anything like this as a 'untrue democracy' despite them having a democratic tradition, and being subjected to foreign (Israeli or US) open or covert aggression, not to mention constantly struggling with refugee crises that US and Israeli wars in the Middle East produce?
Lebanon is not fitting the criteria of the theory because it is not a state where there is a monopoly on power by the state, where there is a civil society where everybody is protected equally and where the nation does not have a state within a state. You certainly do not have one political group being indicted in the murder of the prime minister and you do not have armed thugs of a political organization defacto controlling a third of the state.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-05-19 09:38pm

Thanas wrote: Political theories always persist, no matter the horrors caused by them. Just think of communism and fascism - both still have a lot of adherents despite being easily the most destructive theories of the last century. Without having seen numbers on this I would be very wary of saying "people support it because they are condoning imperialist actions".
Well its a fair point that a lot of irrational beliefs (ie one where the evidence doesn't support it) persists.
I think the link there is at least as strong as the link between surivival of the fittest and colonialism/social darwinism, or colonial anthropology. I think we both agree that perversions of theories should not be used to discount the original theory, no?
Obviously perversions should not be used to discount the original theory. I am just pointing out I can see how George W Bush went from "democracies rarely attack each other" to "we must democratise other nations" even if I feel its flawed (because he didn't consider the cost, the likelihood of success etc). Whereas with the theory of evolution, if one actually understands it, to stretch it to social darwinism is a bit of a reach. Because what Darwin meant by survival of the fittest isn't quite what the social darwinists think as this cartoon aptly illustrates.

Now this disagreement we have is relatively minor and just a matter of scale.

Well, I don't see anybody related with the theory arguing that the EU or USA should democratize other countries by force, except for the abovementioned idiots.
I was mainly referring to people distrusting another nation say China because they aren't a democracy. That may lead to increase chances of a conflict over some other reason. I don't think even Bush was crazy enough to try and democratise a country much bigger (in both area and population) and with a stronger military than Iraq. Given this such a conflict would likely be of a limited nature, ie clash over some disputed islands.

I agree that this is most likely a simplification, but then again all huge theories like that only work if you simplify things. Regarding china - I admit I am unfamiliar with the territory they gave up, what was its worth (in regard to minerals, oil etc.)? Because IIRC dictatorships don't give up lands with either historical significance (Tibet) or resources (Tibet again, Spratley and Parcels).
On the Tajikistan issue this link might help.

As you can see the border deal was done ratified in 2011 (although agreement had been reached earlier), where China gained 1122 square kilometres of area which was a fraction of the 28,000 square kilometres disputed since imperial times. Contrast to the Paracels which only has 8 square kilometres of land and 15,000 square kilometres of maritime territory).

I would also point to Spain's reluctance to give up the Basque regions or the richer Catalonia. EU members are democracies right? :D

On another note, almost all of China's land borders (not the maritime disputes) have been settled which includes with other autocracies (Vietnam), countries which you would consider non democratic (Russia) etc. This involved some nations giving up small amount of areas, so which ever way you look, an autocracy did give up some territory. Heck even Putin's Russia was willing to give up some of the Kurils in the dispute with Japan, but democratic and nationalistic Japan didn't want to.

The only land border dispute that China hasn't settled is with democratic India which still insists on a British treaty with the Republic of China which the Chinese didn't even sign, and which the British themselves (since 2008) now acknowledge as um, invalid. Yeah well given that China didn't sign the treaty, I guess I can see why it had problems.
If you are getting the info about Melos from the Melian dialogue, then let me stop you right there as that is propaganda. The war is much more complicated than that and involves a lot more factors.


Well the Melian dialogue was something Thucycides added in for effect. But I am mainly going from Melos was a secret ally of Sparta while professing neutrality / or was believed to be a secret ally of Sparta while professing neutrality, and Melos was a democracy by the standards of the time. This being a democracy didn't stop Athens who was also a democracy. The dialogue while haunting is somewhat irrelevant to my main point because Athens still destroyed a democracy even if the Melian did or did not say what was in the Melian dialogue.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Thanas » 2014-05-19 10:19pm

mr friendly guy wrote:Obviously perversions should not be used to discount the original theory. I am just pointing out I can see how George W Bush went from "democracies rarely attack each other" to "we must democratise other nations" even if I feel its flawed (because he didn't consider the cost, the likelihood of success etc). Whereas with the theory of evolution, if one actually understands it, to stretch it to social darwinism is a bit of a reach. Because what Darwin meant by survival of the fittest isn't quite what the social darwinists think as this cartoon aptly illustrates.

Now this disagreement we have is relatively minor and just a matter of scale.
Agreed, I just want to point out that the same thing that happened here is what happened to evolution. "Survival of the fittest" turned into "therefore we must make our race stronger by eliminating bad people" whereas "Democracies rarely attack each other" turned into "therefore we must destroy dictatorships by turning them into democracies".

I was mainly referring to people distrusting another nation say China because they aren't a democracy. That may lead to increase chances of a conflict over some other reason. I don't think even Bush was crazy enough to try and democratise a country much bigger (in both area and population) and with a stronger military than Iraq. Given this such a conflict would likely be of a limited nature, ie clash over some disputed islands.
I don't think people distrust China because it is a dictatorship. People distrust China because they are large, powerful and have a horrible record when it comes to acting like decent people, such as their unwavering support for genocidal assholes like Sudan. Being a dictatorship is not really the most important sticking point. If China would not do these things, people would distrust them far less. (And before you ask, does that make them worse than Kissinger, for example? No.)
On the Tajikistan issue this link might help.

As you can see the border deal was done ratified in 2011 (although agreement had been reached earlier), where China gained 1122 square kilometres of area which was a fraction of the 28,000 square kilometres disputed since imperial times. Contrast to the Paracels which only has 8 square kilometres of land and 15,000 square kilometres of maritime territory).
I don't see anything in there disputing my theory that dictatorships would not hand over valuable land, reads like it was empty sace.
I would also point to Spain's reluctance to give up the Basque regions or the richer Catalonia. EU members are democracies right? :D
Indeed and a majority of the Basque people are opposed to independence while Catalonia has not voted. So the issue is not that clear....
Well the Melian dialogue was something Thucycides added in for effect. But I am mainly going from Melos was a secret ally of Sparta while professing neutrality / or was believed to be a secret ally of Sparta while professing neutrality, and Melos was a democracy by the standards of the time. This being a democracy didn't stop Athens who was also a democracy. The dialogue while haunting is somewhat irrelevant to my main point because Athens still destroyed a democracy even if the Melian did or did not say what was in the Melian dialogue.
Well, this gets back to the issue of what a democracy is under the theory and I don't think one can argue with a straight face that any of the states you mention fit that theory.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-20 01:35am

Thanas wrote:I see you are still unable to find proof for your lies regarding my support for Israel.
Your support manifested right here in your pathetic slandering Arab democracies. Nothing else is needed. Your mockery, your derison of the Middle East as incapable of modern democracy and yet listing all the genocidal colonial powers as 'true democracies' shows just what kind of a person you are.
Thanas wrote:You certainly do not have one political group being indicted in the murder of the prime minister and you do not have armed thugs of a political organization defacto controlling a third of the state.
Just because the level of internal violence is similar to Italy's Years of Lead - the 1970s, nothing less! - it does not fucking disqualify a state, no matter how hard you wish for this to happen. So pardon me, but your Western-centric view is showing here again.

Unless you wanna go fullblown Euroatlantist retard and claim Italy was not a 'true' democracy in 1960-1980. I dare you motherfucker, to say this is so, cause they had problems with 'monopoly on violence' and all that.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-05-20 04:36am

Thanas wrote: I don't think people distrust China because it is a dictatorship. People distrust China because they are large, powerful and have a horrible record when it comes to acting like decent people, such as their unwavering support for genocidal assholes like Sudan. Being a dictatorship is not really the most important sticking point. If China would not do these things, people would distrust them far less. (And before you ask, does that make them worse than Kissinger, for example? No.)
I am not sure. Even here in this thread its been used as a justification, and if that poster is to be believed others in his country of New Zealand take that view. This isn't the first time I have seen that view expressed that if they aren't a democracy = less trustworthy. That frankly is a poor way of assessing things.

I don't see anything in there disputing my theory that dictatorships would not hand over valuable land, reads like it was empty sace.
The Palmir mountains have at least coal. Also supposed to have potential gold, uranium and other cool stuff. Sure China could have just ended up getting the parts where most of the natural wealth lie, but in the absence of detailed geological surveys there is no way for them to know that when they negotiated the borders.

I should also point out Britain does not want to give up Gibraltar, which according to wiki has "negligible" natural resources. It might have some strategic value back in the day of the British empire when the British actually had an empire involving parts of Africa, but I can't see that being useful in the days of the EU.
Indeed and a majority of the Basque people are opposed to independence while Catalonia has not voted. So the issue is not that clear....
Er the proposed Basque referendum was declared illegal in 2008 by Spain and prevented from occurring. A decision which was apparently backed by European court of human rights.

Catalonia wants to vote, but the fact that Spain won't even allow it speaks volumes. Lets be frank here. Any country with separatist regions can then say "well that region hasn't voted, so the issue is not that clear," while at the same time preventing such a vote from happening. Can some democracies play the high moral ground in these type of situations involving "giving up important regions?". Sure the UK can with the Scottish referendum. But not all of them can. Spain being a pertinent example.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Siege » 2014-05-20 04:54am

Stas Bush wrote:Unless you wanna go fullblown Euroatlantist retard and claim Italy was not a 'true' democracy in 1960-1980. I dare you motherfucker, to say this is so, cause they had problems with 'monopoly on violence' and all that.
I'm sorry, but so what if he did claim that? How would stating that Western democracies also occasionally have serious problems be inconsistent with the notion that democracies exist on a spectrum of how well realized they are?

If Lebanon isn't quite up to the same level as Iceland in terms of the criteria that Thanas mentioned that doesn't mean it's automatically a horrid dictatorship, it just means it's got a ways to go before it's on the same level as Iceland in terms of those criteria. The same is true for Italy, or The Netherlands, or for that matter Myanmar.

You seem to get hung up on the 'true democracy' thing as if anything that doesn't make whatever criteria are selected to qualify for 'true democracy' cannot be a democracy at all. I don't think that's what anybody is saying. The only thing it means is that states that don't qualify failed certain benchmarks. Could be they have disenfranchisement problems, could be they have free press issues, could be the separation of powers isn't quite up to snuff.

So what if the conclusion then is that in a certain period of time Italy, because of violence monopoly concerns, didn't make the criteria? I would have no problem whatsoever with that. It's not like states cannot permanently or temporarily backslide. Maybe Italy made the qualifications before and after, but not during that particular period. Again, that doesn't mean it failed all criteria, it just failed a particular one. Maybe it even failed more than one. That still doesn't mean it was not a democracy, it just means it wasn't quite Iceland.

You could take issue with the criteria, or with the rather arbitrary cutoff point beyond which something would qualify as a true i.e. fully realized democracy, or even with defining states along this particular spectrum at all. But if we take those three things as gospel for a moment then I see no issue with concluding that certain states, Western or not, fail or failed certain of the defined touchstones at a certain point in time. That's just the chosen methodology in action.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-20 05:42am

Siege wrote:I would have no problem whatsoever with that.
The problem is, Thanas based his entire narrative on post-WWII Europe being a bastion of peace because its member states qualified as true democracies. The way this thing is looking - that's more and more like 'no True Scotsman' in the worst ways. He constantly overlooks examples which might damage his precious thesis by routinely evading the issue of a militarily stronger and ethnically different democratic state fighting a weaker one, for example, by either saying something is imperfect in one state's democracy, or in some other state's democracy...

I'm sick and tired of listening to this crap over and over again: 'well these guys fought each other, and despite being way more democratic than the colonial metropoles of the 1940s, they were imperfect and so they don't qualify'. How about the United States - by that time clearly a fully fledged democracy, btw - fighting the First Philippine Republic in the early XX century, and also commiting genocide and direct breach of the Hague convention it signed just one year prior? Oh right: Thanas will then say the US was not democratic in 1900, or that the First Philippine Republic was not democratic enough by the time to qualify, or something. No True Scotsman again.

If I bring up LA democracies that attacked each other late in the XX century, Thanas will say they have a high level of violence and again - completely ignore that say, France and Italy had a high level of violence after WWII, which should technically put them in the same category and thus invalidate the idea that their perfect or true democracy is responsible for the post-war state of things.

Britain and Ireland fighting each other in the early XX century - both having nearly identical democratic systems? Also no go, and no doubt Thanas will simply say that was pre-WWII so it doesn't count because the government had no monopoly on violence (though in case of Britain and Ireland the logical question is to ask how the fuck are they supposed to have fought if the colonial British govt kept this monopoly). Or the Dutch state - a 'true democracy', because we're talking about post-war times - bitterly resisting Indonesian independence until the very end, despite the fact that Indonesia became a liberal democracy in 1950s, immediately after the hostilities died down.

Not to mention that invading with limited or special forces to install your dictator is generally thought of as war, but Thanas conveniently ignores the direct role of the US in the creation of the Guatemalan dictatorship. A democratic leader is deposed by CIA goons with CIA guns, and US aviation bombing Guatemala - and yet, despite this very clear act of aggression against a real democracy, Thanas sticks to his 'post war true democratic peace' narrative.

All this means that directly resisting democracy and fighting nations that are, will be or are striving to become democratic is perfectly possible for a democracy. And so on, and so forth. Not only is this theory false, it is also dangerous as it lulls people into a false sence of complacency - 'hey, they're democratic so no war between them and us is possible!' - wrong.

The greatest problem I have with it is that it ignores, downplays or downright rejects the possibility of democratically elected leaders attacking another democracy. By carefully handpicking nations one can construct a version of history where democracies have nothing to fear, and if some nation gets attacked by a democracy... well it's them not being democratic, because democracy attacking democracy = impossible, right? That's why. By brushing off Lebanon as undemocratic, by saying Israel doesn't qualify, by saying early democracies don't qualify (only mature ones) this makes it look like an irrefutable theory - because whenever there's a fact that could refute it, you can just change goalposts or paint the state in conflict as not democratic enough. It sets the stage for rewriting history in such a fashion that inconvenient examples and rough edges, such as the US-Philippine war, will be expunged from public memory and a narrative of the like Thanas peddles ('true democracies equal peace in Europe!') will remain.

It will be hard to explain just how exactly democratic (well, certainly more democratic than fucking colonial Britain of all places!) nations explode in ethnic violence or go to war - like Yugoslavia, Russia and Ukraine, et cetera. It will be hard to understand that people in former Yugoslav remnants kept the democratic system, but because of their nationalism and prejudice they did vote for separation, and eventually graduated to support of war and violence as a method of ensuring it - their local governments were elected with popular support and the lack of greater dialogue between parts did not mean there was no uniform democratic will inside individual enclaves.

By saying true democracies don't fight because they have a high degree of cultural exchange - that's postulated as fact! - people are left unprepared for the reality, when culturally closed societies like Japan or Korea, formally democratic, are having precious little exchange with the outside world and, in fact, may very well be embroiled in another conflict if some dispute isn't resolved peacefully.

There's clearly enough to say the theory is only working for NATO members since they are held together by a strong military-political alliance, and this has jack and shit to do with democracy. Serbia had several elections before NATO attacked it over Kosovo. The result was support for the nationalists, and those weren't the type of '99%' elections, no. Those elections were fair enough and results were split. Democracy engaging in ethnic cleansing attacked by other democracies... In Europe. Close to the year 2000. 50 years after WWII.

I guess that is too much for Thanas to handle or honestly admit.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Siege » 2014-05-20 07:07am

Stas Bush wrote:The problem is, Thanas based his entire narrative on post-WWII Europe being a bastion of peace because its member states qualified as true democracies.
I don't think that's his narrative. I think he's explaining the democratic peace theory as he understands it. That doesn't mean he ascribes to the theory himself; he even expressed criticism himself.

How about the United States - by that time clearly a fully fledged democracy, btw - fighting the First Philippine Republic in the early XX century, and also commiting genocide and direct breach of the Hague convention it signed just one year prior? Oh right: Thanas will then say the US was not democratic in 1900, or that the First Philippine Republic was not democratic enough by the time to qualify, or something. No True Scotsman again.
As you said yourself in your very first reply in this thread, naming any colonial empire a true democracy is a travesty. Therefore the USA at the turn of the 20th century was not a true democracy by virtue of its actions in the Philippines.

It's either one or the other: either it's a true democracy and we conclude that true democracies can in fact engage in colonial endeavours, or it is not a true democracy because true democracies can not engage in colonial endeavours. You can't have it both ways.

Me, I would say that the USA cannot have been a fully fledged democracy engaged in reprehensible colonialist behavior, because engaging in reprehensible colonialist behavior by definition means you're not a fully fledged democracy. I think you will agree. I think Thanas will agree too.

That means there's simply no way even nominally democratic states before WW1 qualify as fully realized democracies by our modern standards. These states often held extensive colonial holdings, they disenfranchised the poor and all women, their governments were highly authoritarian, the standards of their press was simply terrible, etc. They were democracies, yes, but they still fell well short of every criterion for 'true' or fully realized democracy that we might care to name.

That's the point I think Thanas has been trying make since his first post: the theory that democracies rarely make war on other democracies is only true if you define 'democracy' in a way that excludes everything before WWII, as well as a bunch of nations whose governments are democratically elected but don't fit certain criteria (state monopoly on violence, freedom of the press, etc.)

Clearly there's massive and glaring problems with that approach. It's an extremely narrow definition of democracy that strays dangerously close to if not outright into No True Scotsman territory. You've pointed this out, so have I. But I don't think Thanas disagrees with this; I'll let him speak for himself, but as far as I can tell he's only pointing out that if you accept that narrow definition, then the statement 'democracies rarely make war on other democracies' is true.

It probably bears pointing out that that's a very weak statement for such a strongly constricted definition of democracy. Even narrowed down to this point it's not "never make war on each other", but only "rarely".

That aside, your point is that this definition "ignores, downplays or downright rejects the possibility of democratically elected leaders attacking another democracy". I agree. That's the biggest problem with this theory: it sets the bar for what it means to be a fully realized (or 'true', whatever) democracy so high that only a handful of nations in the history of democracy actually qualify for it. That to me feels like cherry picking the evidence and constricting the definition to the point where the theory ceases to be a meaningful.

But that's a problem with the theory and its working definitions. Not with Thanas, who as far as I can tell doesn't actually subscribe to it but is simply trying to explain how it works.

My point is, I don't think the two of you are actually disagreeing on the big issue here. You may be misreading his explanation of democratic peace theory as a defense of it when it's not. Reading this thread it feels to me like he's saying "this theory is true if you use this definition" and you vehemently disagree because "this theory is only true if you use this definition". That's not actually disagreement, you know?
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-20 07:53am

Maybe not: but then again, why even defend a theory that is clearly designed to obfuscate some unflattering truths? Namely, one of those unflattering truths is that democracies (contrary to the Kant-Payne foundations of the ideas about republican peace) can vote to go to war, or elect leaders that make them go to war. The second truth that is hidden behind the 'peace' term is that democracies can be aggressors while non-democracies can be on the defensive. That is a very important piece of evidence, which is hidden by the 'democratic peace' formula. The idea that a democracy can be an aggressor was rejected by the founders of republican peace ideas, but history itself has proven it true: often democracies aggressively attacked small, non-democratic nations, under the flimsiest excuse or even without such excuse.

Then we enter the modernization of the failed Republican Peace theory: the DPT. The DPT is meant to salvage the failed RPT, never formalized as a theory, by saying democracies only rarely go to war against each other. No explanation is given as to why this modification radically improves the state of this theory; after all, if a democracy can behave as an aggressor, attack a weak but non-democratic nation to conquer it, steal its resources or simply out of militaristic fervor when engaging in something as vague as 'War on Terror', how would being democratic protect you?

That's the question! How would it help you if the only thing that's needed to attack you is to say you aren't fully democratic? Former WARPAC and new Yugoslav states were first cast as imperfect democracies, but when they started attacking each other over ethnic disputes, territory, etc. or when the time came to attack them, the mass-media narrative quickly switched to them being dictators.

Hell, Guatemala, Iran and others genuinely tried democracy after their archaic regimes fell, but it was violently destroyed with direct assistance from the world's most powerful democracy... for no other reason than geopolitical dominance in certain regions.

This is why I wonder if the DPT even is a true theory, or just a ruse to salvage what's left of the obviously failed idea that a democracy can never be an aggressor cause people will never vote for war except for self-defense. And that's why I'm so angry with Thanas - because saying the nation somehow involved in a war suddely is no longer a 'true' democracy is exactly the type of narrative that is employed by the militaristic media to exclude nations that happen to fall under the war hammer of a more developed country, from the list of democracies, thereby making them 'fair game'.
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by mr friendly guy » 2014-05-20 07:57am

I would also like to point out that according to some of the definitions used by the DPT as I listed in my OP, some wars aren't really wars at all. You need at least 1000 casualties. It doesn't mention whether its military or civilian, but using that logic the Russo-Georgian war in 2008 isn't really a war. If that's not a no true scotsman fallacy, then David Tenant isn't Scottish because he doesn't support Scottish independence. :D
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-20 08:04am

I would add here too that Siege mentioned disenfranchisement as a reason to disqualify a democracy as not true. Thanas said the same (see his comments earlier on the slave-holding USA).

But the real proponents who forged the modern DPT were sexist, racist, elitist and exclusionist:
Small and Singer (1976) define democracy as a nation that ... allows at least 10% of the adult population to vote, and (3) has a parliament that either controls or enjoys parity with the executive branch of the government.
Doyle (1983) requires (1) that "liberal régimes" ... have representative governments. Either 30% of the adult males were able to vote or it was possible for every man to acquire voting rights as by attaining enough property. He allows greater power to hereditary monarchs than other researchers; for example, he counts the rule of Louis-Philippe of France as a liberal régime.
Ray (1995) requires that at least 50% of the adult population is allowed to vote and that there has been at least one peaceful, constitutional transfer of executive power from one independent political party to another by means of an election. This definition excludes long periods often viewed as democratic. For example, the United States until 1800, India from independence until 1979, and Japan until 1993 were all under one-party rule, and thus would not be counted under this definition (Ray 1995, p. 100).
Rummel (1997) states that "By democracy is meant liberal democracy, where those who hold power are elected in competitive elections with a secret ballot and wide franchise (loosely understood as including at least 2/3 of adult males)
However, the US from 1800 on was still slave-holding. Britain and other nations had no female suffrage, but under the DPT proponents and creators' own definitions those were democracies. Of course, this also means that the theory is false since a multitude of bloody conflicts between states that qualify as democratic arise in the XIX-XX century timeframe, but I see no reason not to underscore this point.

And Thanas did say that he thinks post-WWII Europe is composed of 'true democracies', otherwise the whole theory is pretty much useless. However, decolonization continued until the 1970s. Bloody wars were being waged by France, Britain, Netherlands to keep their possessions - wars which were just the same as wars waged by Portugal, despite the latter not being a democracy. Hard to say then what is exactly the difference? And if we disqualify colonial powers from being 'true democracies' (something I proposed to do in the very first post), the DPT is simply gone. The time window shrinks to 30-40 years maximum.

By my logic Lebanon and Israel - with all their problems, refugees and wars! - were more true democracies than what DPT proponents think are true democracies.
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Siege
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by Siege » 2014-05-20 09:00am

If the original proponents of this theory qualify a slaveholding and/or colonial states where women aren't allowed to vote as a liberal democracies then their and my definitions of what it means to be a liberal democracy are quite a ways apart.

That aside, I gave my opinion of the theory in my first reply in this thread. It seems my suspicions about the political motivations behind it may not have been far off. But I don't think those motivations are shared by anyone in this thread.

I will say that an argument could be made that nations that involve themselves in aggressive war disqualify themselves as fully realized democracies. I'm very sympathetic to the idea that bombing other people flat without giving them a say in it is extending the reach of the state in a highly undemocratic fashion. Suffice it to say though that this says something only about the attacker, not the defender. And it too begs the question of what it actually means to be a 'fully realized democracy' to begin with.
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K. A. Pital
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Re: Democracies rarely attack other democracies (historicall

Post by K. A. Pital » 2014-05-20 09:47am

Just as you said above, Siege, its either or. Either we exclude everyone but Norway, Denmark and Iceland (not what the DPT proponents envisioned; the republican Pax, or peace, was meant to be good precisely because there were many democracies, not few), or we start including more countries... but then the theory starts creaking violently. If it is stretched to the XIX century, as many want to (obviously due to the pro-US bias of many of those researchers), then it explodes, since the US did so much shit at the time including it in the list of democracies actually harms the whole construct. Not to mention the others.
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