International Relations and Emergent Order

diZerega, Gus. Democracy and Peace: The Self-Organizing Foundation of the Democratic Peace. Review of Politics, 57:2, Spring, 1995. 279-308.

Alone among human societies, democracies do not fight wars with others of their own kind. The reason is because they are self-organizing systems rather than instrumental hierarchies, like undemocratic states. Alternative approaches such as Waltz’s use of systems theory are critiqued. Excerpts can be found at under “Politics.” Entire paper may be downloaded at http://www.dizerega.peace.pdf. This argument is also present in diZerega, 2000.

Meade, Walter Russell. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How it Changed the World, Knopf, 2002. 374 pp.

Criticizing the usual view of American foreign policy as frequently inept, Meade suggests the twists and turns and seeming inconsistencies that characterize democratic foreign policy are actually very adaptive and consistent with long term American national interest. Meade distinguishes between four competing approaches using simplified but revealing labels: Hamiltonians, Jeffersonians, Wilsonians, and Jacksonians. Their complex interplay is responsible for the success of American foreign policy.

Ray, James Lee. R.J. Rummel’s Understanding Conflict and War: An Overlooked Classic? Conflict Management and Peace Science, 16:2, Fall, 1998. 125-147.

Ray offers an overview of Rummel’s work on conflict, which exceeds in scope his emphasis on the democratic peace. Rummel’s Understanding Conflict and War develops 33 inter-related propositions concerning the causes of conflict. Among the more surprising of Rummel’s findings are that international relations are a libertarian exchange society which tends to be more peaceful than domestic politics and that international law is more effective than national law. Further, democracies are correlated with greater peace not only with one another but also when being only one party in a potential conflict. Ray shows that recent research supports Rummel’s findings and that his theoretical model suggests a promising alternative to rational choice and formal modeling for understanding international conflict.

* Rummel, R. J. Home site: Freedom, Democracy, Peace, Power, Democide, War.

Rummel’s home site offers an enormous variety of information and sources developing his research into the peaceful character of democracies compared to other forms of government. An invaluable research tool in this field. It may be accessed at

*Rummel, R. J . Power Kills: Democracy as a Method of Nonviolence. New Brunswick, US: Transaction, 1997.

Rummel is perhaps the earliest contemporary pioneer of the argument that democracies differ from other governments because they are radically less violent. No democracy has ever fought a war with another and are internally substantially more peaceful as well. Further, Rummel documents this argument with sophisticated statistical studies once ignored but now increasingly acknowledged. In studying why democracies are so much less prone towards collective violence, Rummel developed the concept of a”social field”, a spontaneous order, and the “antifield”, a political attempt to override such orders.

Titles not yet annotated:

Rummel, R. J. Understanding Conflict and War, vol. 2: The Conflict Helix. Sage Publications.

%d bloggers like this: