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It used to be said that democracies do not go war with one another, even though democracies are often in the center of wars. This has always been the argument for promoting democracy. In theory, if all the world is organized into democracies of one type or another, there can be no war. Another take on this is the claim that countries that have a McDonalds will not go to war with one another. People who embrace liberal democracy have no reason to fight one another.
Of course, democracy is a loaded term that can mean just about anything. Ireland is a democracy where they put Christians in prison for violating the speech laws. Syria treats its Christian population better than most democracies, but it is not a democracy, so the biggest democracy in the world, the United States, feels entitled to bomb its cities and demand regime change. Norway is threatening to jail a woman for reading a dictionary, which is becoming the norm in democracies.
Strictly speaking, there are no democracies in the world. The so-called democracies have some form of representative government. Issues are not put before the voters or even discussed with the voters. As the late Robert Dahl explained, the so-called democracies are actually polyarchies. Power is invested in multiple people, who are charged with implementing what they perceive as the general will. This is done through a set procedures and institutions.
Dahl further argues that this form of government is the creation of the United States and to a lesser degree France. During the twentieth century, this form of government was imposed on Western Europe and parts of Asia, after having been conquered by the United States in the Second World War. After the Cold War, the collective West then imposed this on the former eastern bloc countries. Therefore, Western democracies are a collection of polyarchies.
This helps explain why the Western democracies are so aggressive. It has been roughly thirty years since the end of the Cold War and in that time the Western democracies have been waging war on the world. The term “regime change” is a term everyone in the world understands, because it is always attached to a war of aggression by Western democracies, usually led by the United States. The current war against Russia by the West is all about regime change in Moscow.
The reason the world’s great champion of democracy has been waging war on the world for the last three decades is that the United States has always been an aggressive warrior country. Since the founding, America has been either at war with some other people, at war with itself or creating the conditions for the next war in the name of spreading democracy. It is fair to say that the reason America exists, as a practical matter, is to make war on the world.
The United States is a country created in war. Integral to the founding was the war for independence, which is central to the American identity. Of course, as soon as America was independent, it refused to repay the French for their help in the war, the result being the Quasi-War with France. Right after that it was the Barbary Wars against Muslim pirates and then the War of 1812. American barely existed for a generation before it was declaring war on the world.
The 19th century was one war after another. In addition to the three wars above, there was the First Seminole War, the Texas Revolution, the Second Seminole War, the Aroostook War, the Mexican–American War, the Third Seminole War, the Second Opium War, the Pig War, the First and Second Cortina Wars, the American Civil War, the Second Samoan Civil War, the Spanish–American War, the Philippine–American War, the Moro Rebellion and the Boxer Rebellion.
All of those wars took place against the backdrop of the endless war on the Indians, as America conquered the continent. If you accept the argument from most conservatives that the real founding of the country was the Civil War, the so-called second founding theory, then it is reasonable to say that the point of American democracy is to make war on the world in order to impose American democracy. This explains the 20th century, which was nothing but endless war.
This brings us to the present. The United States is leading the Western democracies in a war against Russia and its allies. Washington openly talks about regime change in Moscow and Beijing. It has not mentioned regime change in New Delhi, but you can be sure that is on tap, as the Indians move closer to Russia. None of these countries want war with America, but they do not want to be fortified with democracy at the point of gun, so they are fighting a war for survival.
America is a country of roughly three hundred million people in a world that is around nine billion people, give or take. That is three percent of the global population, but responsible for at least half the war mongering in the world. If we add in the population of Europe, then we get to roughly 13% of the global population. It is reasonable to wonder if the rest of the world is going to continue to tolerate this 13% of the population being responsible for over half of the wars in the world.
Putting that aside, the violent nature of American democracy raises an important question about cause and effect. Is it the moral spring of democracy that causes America to wage war on the world? This need to impose her values on the world naturally leads to war. On the other hand, is it the natural fanaticism of the people that leads to the embrace of both the secular religion of democracy and the impulse to impose its values on the world?
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