The Nature of Politics

Democracy is not always a sure thing. Collapsing democracies tend to show great national fervour, for example Cuba; its democratic collapse sparking one of the greatest crisis of the Cold War. These types of states often occur when a nation is economically and politically unstable. An example of this is Napoleon's coup d'etat in 1799 France. In a system of authoritarian rule decisions are made efficiently because very few people are involved in the decision making process.

The leader or elite group at the head of the government decides on new policies and economic measures, then makes sure that the public abides by them by using tactics of force and indoctrination. The extreme nationalism that is born from propaganda and government sponsored youth organizations encourages people to work harder for the benefit of their country. Newly motivated work forces easily meet their production goals. If the leader of a dictatorship is a competent one the country can rise to hold a great amount of international power, as demonstrated by the Soviet Union.

Building up the military is an important step to gain power. A strong military will discourage other countries from attacking and also discourage the citizens of the country from rebelling. This trend in authoritarian states to have a strong military foundation reveals that the states manifesto from the outset is not one of peace or negotiation but of total control. The force of nationalism, and new laws that can be easily (e. g. conscription) allow military strength of dictatorships to multiply quickly as seen in Nazi Germany in the 1930's. According to Schumpeter democracy (democratic capitalism) does lead to peace

> The arising opposition to "war, expansion and cabinet diplomacy" in the capitalist world. > The association between capitalism and peace parties. > The capitalist world has found ways to prevent war. He also stated that the USA has been the least imperialistic. For example not conquering over half of Mexico in the 1846-1848 war. Conversely the entering of the USA into the Vietnam conflict riding on the back of an arguably questionable cause can be seen as very hostile and not avoiding war at all: but rather in an attempt to create a democratic world, hunting for war.

During the 1950's, the United States began to send troops to Vietnam, during the following 25-year period, the ensuing war created some of the strongest tensions in US history. Almost 3 million US men and women were sent thousands of miles to fight and on both sides over 2 million were killed. It was America's fear and paranoia that the world would 'fall' to communism that it took radical action to try and halt it (domino theory). For a time this paranoia turned America into an aggressive democratic state internationally and we may be seeing this happening again with the unrest in the Middle East.

In the Global society that we live in it is hard for a state to isolate itself. Democratic governments are more likely to favour free trade and beneficial trade agreements with other states. To maintain fluent and fair trade international peace is very important and it may become increasingly hard for authoritarian states to trade successfully with democratic states if they are violating human rights. If every state were a democracy then ideally there would be general peace.

Immanuel Kant, the great German philosopher, predicted in 1795 that a world of democracies would create what he called "perpetual peace. "2 But while authoritarian states that are fundamentally hostile and are not striving for peace exist, especially those who violate international law and oppress their citizens, democratic states will struggle to be peaceful. 1 Maters, Roger D. 1989. The Nature of Politics. New Have, CT: Yale University Press 2 Arnold Beichman: fellow at the Hoover institution. Taken from his writing on Political Democracies Paul Charles Gaffney