chapter  9
30 Pages

The democratic peace and civil society as constraints on major power warfare

ByWILLIAM R. THOMPSON

Asking whether the democratic peace and civil society arguments foretell the waning of major power warfare is not unlike asking whether European infantry and cavalry could have defeated Asian infantry and cavalry in the 1500s. This latter question arose recently on a world history web-list and lends itself to a variety of answers: yes, no, maybe. The basic problem is that whatever the perceived advantages and liabilities of European and Asian armies in the 1500s, in the sixteenth century they rarely clashed as armies east of the Ottoman Empire. In the absence of much in the way of real world tests of the proposition that one region’s armies were inferior/superior to the other’s, any definitive answer is rather problematic.1