Democracy at the Point of Bayonets

Democracy at the Point of Bayonets

by Mark Peceny

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No country has worked harder to coerce others to adopt liberal institutions than the United States. This book examines the promotion of democracy during U.S. military interventions in the twentieth century, showing it to be one of the central ways in which the United States attempts to reconcile the potential contradictions involved in being a liberal great power.

Examining interventions from the Spanish-American War through recent actions in Bosnia, Mark Peceny shows how the United States has encouraged the institution of free elections and other liberal reforms—often at the point of bayonets. Peceny applies statistical analysis to ninety-three cases of intervention and presents six case studies: Cuba and the Philippines after the Spanish-American War, Vietnam during the Kennedy administration, El Salvador during Reagan's first term, and Clinton's interventions in Haiti and Bosnia.

By forging a synthesis of realist and domestic liberal approaches, Peceny illuminates the roles that both security concerns and liberal values play in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy. He shows how presidents often initially choose proliberalization policies to serve U.S. security interests and how Congress exerts pressure when presidents fail to take the initiative. Under these circumstances, he shows, presidents use the promotion of democracy to build domestic political consensus and to legitimize interventions.

Although the United States has failed to promote democracy in most interventions, Peceny demonstrates that it has often had a profound and positive impact on the democratization of target states. His study offers new insight into the relationship between American power, the promotion of democracy, and prospects for the liberal peace in the decades to come.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271042152
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 10/13/1999
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 638 KB

About the Author

Mark Peceny is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico and a contributor to The Peruvian Labyrinth: Polity, Society, Economy, edited by Maxwell Cameron and Philip Mauceri (Penn State, 1997).

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Acknowledgments xi
The Promotion of Democracy and the Liberal Peace
Presidents, Congress, and the Promotion of Democracy
The Spanish-American War and the Foundations of the Pro-Democratic Compromise
Kennedy and Diem: The Presidential Path to the Promotion of Democracy
The Duarte Solution: Congressional Pressure and Reagan's Policy Toward El Salvador, 1981--1984
Democratic Enlargement in Haiti and Bosnia
The Impact of U.S. Intervention on Democratization
Leader of the Free World
References 225(16)
Index 241

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