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Assessing the Viability of an Outside Actor Imposing Democratic Governmental Change within an Established State Marcus P. Williamson May 2009 Section 1: Introduction The Democratic Peace Theory1 as presented based upon the thoughts of Emmanuel Kant and debated throughout a Cold War that presented the struggle of Western Enlightenment ideals against Eastern Social principles has debated the reconstructive and rehabilitative powers of an inclusive system of government that allows for the voices of many to be heard and governed by the people of their own choosing. These ideals have not always played themselves out in the idealistic prose presented by optimists in academia and policy. There are varying forms of democracy and differing levels of inclusion, the combination of which can have differing effects in unique situations.

Instituting the supposed inherent benefits included within the Democratic Peace Theory has driven governmental reform in the aftermath of interstate conflict throughout the 20th Century. Before this time, after conflict agreements in the later part of the monarchial led interstate system had fought wars throughout history, but never implemented change in government as part of their post-war reconciliation. At most, the leading family of a state was replaced with one more sympathetic to the victors, but it was almost unheard of until the


The continuing discussion behind the Democratic Peace Theory is too voluminous to cover here, but Jervis (2002) leads us to excellent summaries of the situation as covered by Ray (1995, 1998), Russett (1993), and Russett and Oneal (2001 Chaps. 2 and 3); for critiques see Gowa (1999) and Mares (2001, Chap. 4).

end of World War I that the entire system of government was changed, as was executed in the Weimar Republic in Germany.

This idea has now continued throughout every major armed conflict between states since that time. The ending of World War II saw the governments of Germany, Japan and Italy replaced with a new form of government, a shift from the single party rule that had been in place when the wars had begun. These ideals have seen themselves implemented in modern warfare as well, as the two major conflicts instigated by the United States since 9/11 have resulted in their overthrow of governments replaced with democratic systems that are more compatible with the victorious state. The Democratic Peace Theory ideals have gone full circle as military engagement has begun with the intent of one state to violently overthrow the government of another in order to prevent even the smallest possibility of attack from that state in the future.

Such are the essential tenets of the Bush Doctrine. As outlined in the 2002 National Security Strategy (White House 2002), the element of pre-emptive strikes with the interest of preventing future attacks against the United States has resulted in a policy that desires to push the elements of Western Democracies upon anyone that might pose a potential threat. Using the Democratic Peace Theory as the cover for implementing such change in their foreign policy, the resulting actions have engaged the United States in state building activities that have weighed heavily against the governmentâ€&#x;s political capital at home and abroad, as well as presented troubling economic situations, dominating strategies, and withdrawal from other modes of engagement that are dependent on their ability to act.


This essay is an investigation into the elements of enacting such a policy. Understanding the inherent wish of state protection against future violence from certain aggressors based on past experiences, the question arises if the resulting democratic system of government implemented by force from an outside state will actually result in long term security for all actors involved. The policy of this type is costly and has been popularly argued in an analysis of cost-benefit impressions. This essay will attempt to move beyond those issues and delve into the realm beyond that rationale, particularly when the ideological thought has presented itself with the struggle of defining the worth of an individual life that is saved or spend in the practice of such policy. While this point is a valid one, it cannot be taken into consideration when dealing with this issue due to the immeasurable factors of heightened standards of living due to increased human security, the resulting economic cooperation between states, and other factors. Understanding this, the hypothesis of this essay is that democracy implemented following foreign invasion and forced electoral reform during the ensuing actions of state building will lower international conflict. This statement does not attempt to discuss the morality of implementing such a difficult policy, nor does it imply that the consideration of „human collateralâ€&#x; should not be factors in determining military and foreign policy but tries to determine if such change can result in positive situations if implemented through alternative reforms, such as soft power pressures from foreign actors.

Understanding the international focus of this discussion away from the development of electoral reform in previously established democratic states, questions arise in a multitude of areas. This investigation will focus on three of these main issues: 

What are the characteristics of past attempts to secure violent aggression following a forced regime change?



What determines democratic success in state building practices?


What are some of the determining factors that allow some to work while others fail?

Section two will discuss what determines success in regime change. Section three will investigate some essential factors to be assessed during the course of imposed regime change. Section four will look at new determining aspects that need to be assessed when making the decision to forcefully impose governmental reform. The final section will then establish a norm for future actions, and suggestions for its usage in the modern world.

Section 2: Determining Success in Regime Change

In determining the success of a shift to a democratic government, several variables must be assessed in recognizing the overall change in that reformation. For the purpose of this discussion, the level of violence in interstate situations is to be assessed. This means, the traditional aspects that define the level of democracy, including universal suffrage, the inclusion of opposing candidates for office, levels of free press, and others will not be included. In their place, this investigation will look at pre-conflict levels of interaction verses the levels that follow. This means that not only is the subject country is to be reviewed, but also that of the nation that is imposing this change upon others.

There are several case studies that can be used in this review, but this essay will attempt to not focus on any particular situation. The reasoning for this is that situations are established to differing responses to force change following an armed conflict, were subject to a massive regime change, or are still dealing with levels of state building from a foreign power. Using different cultures to compare in this limited review does have some admitted


drawbacks, the most notable of which is that the modern situations of Iraq and Afghanistan are not yet fully resolved2. Despite this, there has been enough of a democratic shift in government to draw parallels and conclusions to determining the full effect of the conversion.

Interstate conflict is not limited to the levels of conflict incurred between the states in question. Indeed, with the multilateral engagements of the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War, there were numerous nations engaged military action, and many that directly dealt with the post-conflict state building. This understood fact cannot allow us to look at simply the engagements between two nations alone, but overall conflict levels across the region, and actions taken through other fora in global affairs. These aspects are central to the Democratic Peace Theory, but are separate from the inherent policy implemented through the Bush Doctrine in the early 2000â€&#x;s. The allowance for conflict to continue after the initial form of central government is not one that has the ability to continue into the future, but stands directly in the face of this paperâ€&#x;s central theme. If the shift towards democratic systems of government leads to peace not only between two nations, but among all relationships between a nation and other democratic states there must be some overall trend that coincides with this point of transition and future engagements.

As such, we can infer that due to the nature of transitional phases those levels of uncertainty arise. With the vacuum that develops in the new arena of government there are challenges to authority, the difficulty of a constituency that is not accustomed to the ability of a participatory democracy, and the level of control that the people of that new democracy have in regulating the military of their state. Through this time associated with Power Transition Theory related to violent outbreak, there can be an assumed period of heightened 2

Other considerations include the nature of the conflict in its inception (reactionary v. pre-emptive military action); multi-lateral v. uni-lateral development, and the style of government in place before regime change. These issues are discussed further in section five.


violence, both internally and externally, that a newly transitional nation encounters. This may seem as if they stand in direct contrast with the ideas of the Democratic Peace Theory, but these differing ideas complement each other in the realm of short term expectations and long term gains. With these considerations in mind, there must be observable trends that are developed and present an overall outlook that can be applied to situations that will predict the level of future violence that a state will meet in the future following that transition.

Graphing these levels of violence will help in developing the idea of a potential theory regarding understanding the cost benefit analysis of state forced democratic regime change in order to institute long term peace potential. While they are not the only consideration to be taken into account, the limited parameters of this essay allow for only an initial review of the situations, discussion of potential causes, and assessment of potential investigations for future review.

Section 3: Discussing Essential Transitional Factors

Looking at the levels of violence in a transition can be ascertained in a multitude of ways: number of conflicts engaged in, types of conflict, money and resources spent on military expenditures, loss of life, and others. To determine the overall effect that externally imposed democratic regime change can have upon an international system, the breakdown of individual aspects is too limited an option to pursue in order to visualize trends. This section will look at three of those factors: levels of direct military engagement between specific nations, levels of military engagement between specific nations and others, and levels of overall conflict within the nation itself. It is the hope that by looking at these three factors,


general trends will display themselves and present a better understanding for the exact factors that solicit necessary elements to promoting successful forced regime change with the goal of long term peace.

Levels of Direct Military Engagement between Specific Nations

Assuming that two nations have a history of conflict between each other, it is the desire of one to enforce a method of governmental reform that will include future policies that will agree with the primary nation in order to progressively enforce lowered levels of conflict between the two in the future. By looking at the level of pre and post change conflict, it can be ascertained if an imposed regime change is in fact beneficial to supporting those claims. Understanding that regime change applies not only to military levels, but also economic exchange, regional support from common allies, and other factors it is not assumed that this is the „golden ticketâ€&#x; that promotes peaceful interchange between nations. However, these signals do initially promote these actions and can be the tipping point for future interactions on all levels as discussed in section four.

The initial response between nations themselves is the direct result of an absolute surrender in military conflict. These preconditions to the end of hostilities have been an element of post-conflict situations for generations. However, it is the element of situational response to post-nation building and governmental reform that leads to the long term benefits of actions. While many wars are begun under the auspices of retaliatory attack, the need to prevent such an occurrence from happening again is the parlance of having such a need to enact these state building situations to happen. The ability to protect a state from future attack is the long term goal of any military engagement.


Gauging the long term effects of these changes are relatively simple to assess. Looking at the levels of pre and post conflict engagements through operations other than violent conflict, i.e.: economic exchange, peaceful interactions, negotiations in multilateral affairs, ect., will show increased levels of positive interaction. It remains to be ascertained, and is a usual level of academic debate, wither the new reforms and interactions benefit the imposing nation, the imposed, or both. However, it must be understood that regardless of the terms of these agreements, that lower levels of human suffering and increased rights and security are to the benefit of all. The methods used, if an extreme liberal style of democracy or a modified version to fit local needs, must be interpreted as a positive step in the establishment of global security through regime change.

Levels of Military Engagement between Nations and Others

To understand if the institution of democracy, regardless of the style, is a potential method for lowering the overall likelihood of conflict begun by a nation, the levels of actual conflict by both those engaged in the state building activities and the state that is being reformed must be assessed. To ensure the lowering of conflict between states, the participation of both parties involved must show some level of decline not only with each other, but will all rivals around the globe. If the democratic peace theory is to be regarded as a law, then the level of conflict must be lessened not only between the warring nations but also with their hard policy interactions with allies and rivals alike outside of the realm of those who imposed the governmental reform.


The ability for this to be instituted is a relatively difficult thing to measure, and even more difficult to analyze. The ability of a new government is limited, and typically vulnerable to outside attack. The standard topic of limiting these abilities is that of the statebuilding nation has typically left groups of military „peacekeepersâ€&#x; or enforcers to maintain the transition to the new form of government. With this outside state actively involved in the nation of focus requires a new perspective on interactions with the newly established government. A military attack on such a state with outside actors (who presumably have enough military strength to force the change in the first place) will demand a unique perspective by outside forces.

Once the military forces presented by outside state powers have primarily left the newly built state is the tipping point in determining the potential for future military engagements by the new democratically elected government. With the correct situations in place, it is easily possible that democracies will engage in ancient feuds with rivals to impose the newly learned abilities taught to them by the departing nation and its military. The level of continued governance under a free and fair democratic situation is another factor that may play out in potential military attacks in the future. The continuation of such a policy has the potential to slip into an autocracy at some point once a dominant political party has been established and forced out opposition parties once in power. This recession into a democracy in name only as it is ruled by an elite class forces another consideration in the ability of forced democracy by an outside force to be effective in establishing a peaceful nation.

Levels of Domestic Conflict within the Nations Involved


The most telling indicator of a successful forced regime change in the aftermath of conflict may be the level of inclusion by differing groups within the affected nation itself. Assuming that the nation changed has persons of opposing viewpoints in any number of issues demands the ability for each of those positions to feel a sense of inclusion in the process of the new government. While the nature of internal government is subject to the style of democracy to be implemented based on the personality of the society involved within the state itself, it is a vital position that must be one that does not develop a failed state situation (discussed in section four). The power of individual groups to assume power through force is a major consideration in modern conflict studies and has the potential for problems to develop across a wide range of exchange in the future.

Establishing the appropriate style of democracy in a new state government is a task that has been reviewed before with the notion of conflict between groups in established democracies, but the intention of preventative conflict resolution through electoral reform to sway the potential of violence in the future is a notion that must be considered when establishing a form of government in a new situation. The potential for review has been covered by a variety of authors3, but should be thought about in new conflict situations. Section four begins the review of that new style of conflict that is emerging within modern warfare. Known as „Fourth Generation Warfareâ€&#x;, the potential for sub and trans-national actors to influence military engagement is on the rise, and must be a consideration when reviewing democratic reform in post-conflict situations.


A review of this literature has been provided to the class in the module outline, particularly the ideas of power sharing and electoral design as a method of conflict resolution. With the premise of this paper centered on interstate conflict, the ability of establishing conflict prevention is an entirely different approach. As such, understanding the potential for conflict is a method that requires the essential understanding of the sociological needs of a particular situation and implementation of democratic possibilities within that new governmental structure.


Section 4: Understanding the „Tipping Point‟ in Modern Regime Transition

Beyond the traditional aspects of regime building in the aftermath of conflict is the new situation that is developing in the art of warfare itself. The aspect of human security policy may be one of the most obvious sectors of public policy that displays this new reform from the center of Realistic tendencies. With historical military might coming from predominately state actors, the current policy of political science with regard to armed conflict derives itself from late renaissance period literature as defined by the likes of Richelieu and Machiavelli. With the definition of the state as the primary actor controlling the populations of their states through a combination of hard and soft power in the time of predominately monarchical and feudal systems, the development of democratic states and enlightened ideas have shifted the power from the governing elite, to the manipulation of that elite itself by smaller groups within populations.

Understanding the direct strength that a central government has over many aspects of their constituencies lives, the ability to enact sweeping policies that affect both domestic and foreign affairs is one that on first glance lies with the ability of this situation4. It is the situation that develops through democracies that position people in places of power with the ability to manipulate agendas through these representatives of the state that have seen the shift in central tenants of Realism to the Post-international age. The abilities of manipulation that happen within the government itself makes for a new situation that plays directly into the ideas established previously, but outside of the hierarchical systems that dominate the scene. 4

This omits the major situation created by „failed states‟, or those without a strong central government to enforce security. These „failed states‟ are reviewed and published annually by Foreign Policy Magazine. These numbers are also evaulated by The Fund for Peace, and have been written about extensively by Chomsky (2006), Ghani and Lockhart (2008), and Hoffman (2006).


Beyond this idea, it is the ability of individual non-state actors to influence policy and events themselves in human security. The development of armed violent conflict since the end of the bilateral Cold War scenario has involved the SFAs to a higher level due to the lessening interest and abilities of major state powers around the world. With the end of the proxy war influence, individual groups have resorted to violence to establish their claims on various issues using a variety of techniques in order to do so. This implementation has not brought about affects on the groups who are resorting to these methods to institute change, but international groups and organizations have worked with the states directly in order to resolve these problems. Ignoring the direct causation of the conflict by instituting consequences at the state level and not local level has little effect is dissuading the aggression displayed by these SFAs, and will continue to do so as long as this method of policy implementation is used.

The shift in public policy establishment away from the state to other groups has forced the essential conception of engagement of human security away from the traditional definitions of warfare into a new direction. Established as Fourth Generation Warfare5, the needs of the state and individuals living within their boundaries are under pressure from a new type of security. The theory of Fourth Generation Warfare has been identified by Lind et Al. (1989) and Benbow (2008). The main points of this growing identification of warfare are the essential shifting from the strengths of state led militaries to developing a form of conflict that strikes at many different levels of the establishment. Hammes (1994) outlines the tactical traits to 4GW. He notes that 4GW tends to: 5

The first three generations of warfare have been identified by Lind et al. (Ibid) as: 1st Generation: tactics of line and column; which developed in the age of the smoothbore musket. 2nd Generation: tactics of linear fire and movement, with reliance on indirect fire. 3rd Generation: tactics of infiltration to bypass and collapse the enemy's combat forces rather than seeking to close with and destroy them; and defense in depth.


Be complex and long term;

Include elements of terrorism;

Be fought across the spectrum of political, social, economic, and military networks, particularly on that of an enemy‟s culture resulting in sophisticated psychological warfare;

Be fought in a complex arena of low-intensity conflict involving actors from all networks;

Involve a mix of national, international, transnational, and sub-national actors;

Situated with a non-national or transnational base, i.e.: highly decentralized;

Be fought worldwide through these networks.

With a general inability to effectively fight a war on the levels of major state powers, deflecting the focus of conflict to violent military engagement to factors more favorable to smaller actors. The development of this type of engagement will prolong the planned effects of engagement made by the major state and result in a lower estimation of a cost to benefit ratio. Making the traditional battlefield irrelevant shifts these SFAs into a stronger position, more likely to achieve their goals.

With this, groups such as the United States (US) military have made adaptations to this evolving type of warfare. Artelli and Deckro (2008) have made notice of the change in the US Doctrine for Joint Operations to re-align the timing of certain phases of the „Military Operations Other Than War‟ (MOOTW), including the essential development of defining war itself into a broader perspective that includes aspects previously described as „situations short of war that require US military forces‟. Barno (2006) realizes the challenges to future 13

military engagements, noting the idea of a „long warâ€&#x; that will challenge the willingness of democratic actors to engage in conflict over a period of many years. This perception has been the defining component of United States foreign policy in recent years, moving in a new direction from state on state conflict, and is expected to continue well into the 21st Century.

The aspects that this development brings about to the act of state building in international affairs that was not directly applicable in previous state building situations. Understanding that the element of governmental reform does not directly influence the change of a society at all levels brings about the discussion of reconciliation that has been the focus of intra-state governmental reform, developing new and different techniques of democratic capacity to enable the situation that allows for long term peace developments not only within a state, but with others around the globe. These elements are for further discussion in other analysis, but have the potential to undermine the act of externally forced change in peace dealings between nations despite the successful implementation of a general democratic reform. Section 5: Conclusion

The struggle to establish the viability of the Democratic Peace Theory as a method of preventative measures by a state to impose upon another sovereign territory has displayed some success over the past century. With the development of modern military tactics and the ability of sovereignty free actors to display ability for violence outside the realm of governmental reform does pose new problems to that situation. It is in the understanding that these groups play in modern human security concerns that make up the focus for democratic reform in the aftermath of conflict for the future. Without them, the potential for violent


conflict to emerge from the attempts of peace through force will only enable for new groups to emerge and create new violence both within and outside of the reformed state.

The resolution of a new style of government in order to maintain the peace between sovereign nations is directly related to the inclusion of these SFAs within the fora of high politics debate. That is, despite the relatively outlying policy issues that these groups may present their ability to participate and work within a fully functional democracy is the only ability that one may have in establishing a regional and global peace. The need for this relies on the understanding that a state imposing governmental reform upon an established state must face the very real possibility that the democratic state established will not be one that will work towards mutually beneficial agreements between those two nations in the future. The ability to allow for a nation to decide its own fate is difficult to allow, particularly given the amount of investment needed in order to effectively put that change into place. The possibility of using such a cost without any potential benefit results in a shifting of the desire to implement a change through such methods and could result in a lowering of this tactic in the future.

If the potential to use this method in the future persists, one element that will lower the cost in a state-building operation is that of a multi-lateral approach. By spreading the cost of the implementation across many states will lead to a number of positive effects including new associations with states that may not have had much contact in the past, the openness to new ideas to be implemented within the new democratic state, and heightened economic exchange across a variety of markets. The ability for a nation to engage in state-building unilaterally is possible at this moment in history, but is not economically feasible.


The ability for a nation to defend itself against attack is an essential right that has been established in many different documents of international law, but the reaction to those engagements has led to a system of complex ideas that have been implemented in order to try and prevent those engagements from happening in the future will leave many without the necessary capital around the world to implement peaceful negotiations in other arenas in the future. If the ability of a nation to try and impose forced democratic regime change in a state is to continue to be in vogue with the foreign policy of major states, a new approach must be installed to ensure that successful nations are build, and not a complex system of failed states that will result in a backlash of problems that all peoples of the world will be relegated to deal with in the future.



Artelli, M.J. and Deckro, R.F. (2008), „Fourth Generation Operations: Principals for the „Long War‟, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 19(2), 221-37. Barno, D.W. (2006), „Challenges in Fighting a Global Insurgency„, Parameters, Summer, 1529. Benbow, T. (2008), „Talking 'Bout Our Generation? Assessing the Concept of “FourthGeneration Warfare”‟, Comparative Strategy, 27(2), 148 -163. Chomsky, N. (2006), Failed States: the Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, New York: Metropolitan Books. Ghani, A. and Lockhart, C. (2008), Fixing Failed States: a Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gowa, J. (1999), Ballots and Bullets: The Elusive Democratic Peace, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Hammes, T.X. (2005), „Insurgency: Modern Warfare Evolves into a Fourth Generation‟, Strategic Forum, vol. 214 (January), 1-7. Hoffman, F.G. (2006), „Complex Irregular Warfare: The Next Revolution in Military Affairs‟, Orbis, Summer, 395-411. Jervis, R. (2002), „Theories of War in an Era of Leading-Power Peace Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 2001’, American Political Science Review, 96(1), 1-14. Lind, W.S., Nightengale, K., Schmitt, J., Sutton, J., and Wilson, G., (1989) „The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation‟, Marine Corps Gazette, October, 22-26. Mares, D.R. (2001), Violent Peace: Militarized Interstate Bargaining in Latin America, New York: Columbia University Press. Ray, J.L. (1995), Democracy and International Politics: An Evaluation of the Democratic Peace Proposition, Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. Ray, J.L. (1998), „Does Democracy Cause Peace?‟, Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 1, Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews.


Russett, B. (1993), Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World, Princeton: Princeton University Press. Russett, B. and Oneal, J.R. (2001), Triangulating Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, New York: Norton. The White House (2002), National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September, Washington, D.C.


The Viability of an Outside Actor Imposing Democratic Governmental Change within a State