Democracy, Regional Security Institutions, and Rivalry Mitigation: Evidence From Europe, South America, and Asia

Weiffen, Brigitte; Dembinski, Matthias; Hasenclever, Andreas; Freistein, Katja and Yamauchi, Makiko (2011). Democracy, Regional Security Institutions, and Rivalry Mitigation: Evidence From Europe, South America, and Asia. Security Studies, 20(3) pp. 378–415.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2011.599206

Abstract

The fact that democracies maintain peaceful relations with each other is regarded as one of the few law-like correlations in international relations, but the causes of this empirical phenomenon remain contested. This paper tries to fill this theoretical gap by attributing the remarkable stability between democracies to inter-democratic institutions. At the same time, it contributes to the debate on the need to differentiate among international organizations in order to assess their peace-building effects. We identify transnational and trans-governmental linkages as crucial features that distinguish inter-democratic from traditional institutions with non-democratic or mixed membership. In order to explain these institutions’ peace-building effect, we analyze the impact of international institutions on rivalry mitigation with a view to five pairs of states: France-Germany, Greece-Turkey, Argentina-Brazil, Indonesia-Malaysia, and Japan-South Korea. Those dyads all look back at a history of rivalry, conflict, and mutual threat perceptions, and they are located in highly institutionalized regional settings but vary with regard to their political regime type. The controlled comparison of cases demonstrates that the embeddedness of international institutions in transnational and trans-governmental linkages corresponds to each member's regime type and that these institutional differences are responsible for the varying extent of rivalry mitigation.

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