Disarmed Democracies

Domestic Institutions and the Use of Force
David P. Auerswald
Shows how different political structures affect the ability of democracies to use force in international disputes


In Disarmed Democracies: Domestic Institutions and the Use of Force, David P. Auerswald examines how the structure of domestic political institutions affects whether democracies use force or make threats during international disputes. Auerswald argues that the behavior of democracies in interstate conflict is shaped as much by domestic political calculations as by geopolitical circumstance. Variations in the structure of a democracy's institutions of governance make some types of democracies more likely to use force than others. To test his theory, Auerswald compares British, French, and U.S. behavior during military conflicts and diplomatic crises from the Cold War era to the present. He discusses how accountability and agenda control vary between parliamentary, presidential, and premier-presidential democracies and shows how this affects the ability of the democracy to signal its intentions, as well as the likelihood that it will engage in military conflict. His findings have implications for the study of domestic politics and the use of force, as well as of U.S. leadership during the next century.

This study will interest social scientists interested in the domestic politics of international security, comparative foreign policy, or the study of domestic institutions. It will interest those concerned with the exercise of U.S. leadership in the next century, the use of force by democracies, and the future behavior of democratizing nations.

David P. Auerswald is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University.

Praise / Awards

  • "The logic of the case selection and the author's lucid explication of crisis processes and outcomes make this book overall a successful attempt to evaluate the effect of institutional variations among democratic governments on foreign policy decision making."
    —James Lee Ray, American Political Science Review, Volume 95, No. 3
  • ". . . an important book relating variations in democratic institutional structures to the use of force by three selected democracies—the U.S., Britain, and France—from the Cold War era to the present."
    —M. A. Morris, Clemson University, Choice, April 2001
  • "The book will lead readers to think and develop their own conjectures. . ."
    —Erik Gartzke, Journal of Politics, Volume 63, No. 4
  • ". . . a well-researched and carefully reasoned study that contributes to our understanding of why democracies choose conflict or threats in international relations. "
    Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research

Product Details

  • 216 pages.
  • 9 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-02647-0

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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