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This is profound. It is as though we found a cure for cancer. In democracy we have a cure for war and a way of minimizing political violence, genocide, and mass murder. This is to foster democracy. Now, many who are unfamiliar with this research will have dozens of questions to ask, from the definition of liberal democracy to the what abouts..., like what about the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the US. Space does not allow for covering these possible questions, but I should say that notable scholars and political scientists have investigated them, including dozens of possible exceptions, and concluded that there is no clear case of democracies making war on each other.
Thank about it. A solution to war! And a practical one. Had someone said this to me over thirty years ago when I began my research on war and violence, I would have laughed and thought the person terribly naive. But now I'm convinced of this and so have others become so when they have done their own research on this.
But this solution raises a variety of questions. For example, what about nuclear weapons and the nuclear threat? The answer is now simple: democracies do not threaten each other. We have no fear of the nuclear weapons that France and Great Britain have. Indeed, in a world of democracies, there should be complete nuclear disarmament, for democracies have no need for military forces against each other.
What about social justice? I believe (and I have argued in my book on the Vol. 5: The Just Peace) that democracy provides the most universal principles of social justice-that through democracy people are empowered to define what social justice means to them. But also, at the international level the most universal and widely accepted definition of human rights is in terms of democratic procedures and liberties. Virtually all nations, regardless of their internal governance, have formally subscribed to the 1945 United Nations Charter (Articles 1 and 55), the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly, and the covenant passed by the General Assembly in 1966 on Civil and Political Rights. And the UN as the most representative international body is now trying to encourage democratization.
And to so wage democracy is also to wage peace and denuclearization.
* From the pre-publisher edited manuscript of R.J. Rummel, "Waging peace through democracy,"Waging Peace Bulletin 4 (Winter 94/95).
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