From Realism to the Liberal Peace

John R. Oneal

in International Relations Since the End of the Cold War

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199666430
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745607 | DOI:
From Realism to the Liberal Peace

Show Summary Details


Twenty years ago realists, emphasizing the influence of the international system and working in the humanistic tradition, dominated research on the causes of war. Today, liberal theories occupy center stage, and political scientists rely on statistical analyses of pairs of states through time. Epidemiological studies of over 12,000 dyads, 1885-2001, using a liberal-realist model of interstate conflict confirm the pacific benefits of democracy and economic interdependence. Development is also beneficial. Key elements of realism do receive statistical support; but democracy and trade are at least as influential as power, and they are more amenable to social engineering. Realism does not provide a path to world peace. The best hope is continued liberal reforms: the expansion and deepening of democracy and capitalism and the inclusion of more countries in the international economic system. Fortunately, globalization has advanced rapidly in recent decades, making for a generally optimistic prognosis.

Keywords: causes of war; democratic peace; liberal peace; realism; interstate conflict; globalization

Chapter.  9507 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.