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Does Democratization Pacify the State? The Cases of Germany and Iraq


  • Author’s note: I would like to acknowledge the comments and advice of John Myhill, Dov Levin, Carmela Lutmar, Ranan Kupreman, Korina Kagan, Galia Press-Bar-Nathan, Bill Thompson, and the anonymous reviewers of ISQ. I would like particularly to acknowledge the substantive help of Moran Mandelbaum, who provided extremely useful and insightful assistance for the research and the writing of this article. The author is also grateful for the generous financial assistance of the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), founded by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.


Miller, Benjamin. (2012) Does Democratization Pacify the State? The Cases of Germany and Iraq. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2012.00733.x
© 2012 International Studies Association

Does democratization pacify states—and thus their respective regions—or does it make them more war-prone? This is both a theoretical issue within the literature on democracy and peace, and an empirical issue, as in some regions democratization led to peace and in others it resulted in violence. To answer the posed question, this study probes the “state-to-nation balance” model as it makes the preliminary argument that democratization is not the underlying cause of either large-scale violence or peacemaking. Democratization, thus, is at best an intervening variable and in some cases has no major effects on war and peace. Rather, it is the state-to-nation balance model that better explains the war- and peace-proneness of states and regions. For an exploratory probe of this argument, the study examines Germany and Iraq—two key powers in their respective regions—and the changes they have gone through since World War I until today. The paper shows that when democratization takes place within a state-to-nation balance, it tends to have stabilizing effects and warms the peace. In contrast, within a state-to-nation imbalance, it is probable that democratization will have destabilizing effects.