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American Political Science Review

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Democracy, Democratization -- Government policy -- United States, Peace


Proponents of the democratic peace are accustomed to criticism. Early refutations of the research program's findings focused on questions of measurement and statistical inference. Skepticism about such matters has not fully subsided, but many more now accept the democratic peace as an empirical regularity. The aim of recent complaints has shifted to democratic peace theory. The typical approach has been to highlight select historical events that appear anomalous in light of the theory and the causal mechanisms it identifies. Sebastian Rosato's (2003) is one such critique, noteworthy for the range of causal propositions held up for scrutiny and the unequivocal rejection of them all. But Rosato fails to appreciate the dyadic logic central to democratic peace theory, and much of his criticism is therefore misdirected. Those cases that remain unexplained by the theory are not especially problematic for this progressively evolving research program.


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