Path-Dependencies and Foreign Policy
There has been a tendency to pursue regime type explanations as if arguments about democracy and autocracy are likely to be necessary and sufficient. Democracies do not fight other democracies while autocracies fight both democracies and autocracies. Yet, not only is it fair to say that we do not know for sure what it is about regime type that might restrain conflict within some dyads, we also do not know how much relative explanatory credit to give to regime type. Let us assume for the sake of argument that dyadic regime type does restrain war making propensities within democratic dyads. Surely, few would contend that regime type is the only variable of interest or influence. Only if all democratic states were equally likely to go to war with any nondemocratic state at any time could one insist that explanations involving democratic dyads were sufficient to account for why states go to war. No analyst is likely to be comfortable with such a claim.
KeywordsForeign Policy Great Power Liberal Republic Regime Type Authoritarian State
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