An Introduction to International Relations Theory: by Jill Steans, Lloyd Pettiford, Thomas Diez and Imad El-Anis

By Jill Steans, Lloyd Pettiford, Thomas Diez and Imad El-Anis

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Additional info for An Introduction to International Relations Theory: Perspectives and Themes (3rd Edition) 3rd (third) Edition by Steans, Jill, Pettiford, Lloyd, Diez, Thomas, El-Anis, Imad [2010]

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However, liberalism should not be confused with pacifism. While some liberals might indeed be pacifists, it does not necessarily follow that a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes entails the rejection of the use of force whatever the circumstances. Clearly, even ‘peace-loving’ peoples and states could not be expected to forgo the right to use force in order to defend themselves from hostile aggression or, perhaps, if there was no other way to right a wrong. AUTHOR BOX Michael Doyle Michael Doyle’s work is particularly associated with democratic peace theory.

Thus, they concluded, liberal states do not fight wars with each other. The implications of such a finding were that there existed in world politics a liberal ‘zone of peace’. Moreover, democratisation along liberal lines was a recipe for peace. The prescriptive implication was that, in the interests of advancing world peace, foreign policies should include democratisation and human rights as central planks. Democratic peace theory is sometimes held to be the closest IR has come to establishing a ‘law’ of international relations (in the scientific sense).

Today, variants of democratic peace theory exist which shift the emphasis towards understanding whether liberal democracy is ‘war inhibiting’. Peace and security are closely connected in liberal thought. The League of Nations (see box) was supposed to guarantee the security of states through a system which identified threats to ‘peace and security’ and allowed collective action to be taken against aggressive states, to deter or stop them. Clearly, since insecurity was itself a possible cause of war, a system of collective security would strengthen the international order and make peace more likely.

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