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Wars are not fought for peace and democracy

Wars are not fought for peace and democracy

The Myth

Wars are for peace & democracy


  • Wars for democracy are unsuccessful.
  • The US has a long history or invading and occupying others.
  • War is more likely to happen when there is oil.
  • Forcing democracies does not work.
  • Wars brew hatred and violence in the aftermath.
  • Wars are fought for money.

The evidence

  • Foreign governments are 100 times more likely to intervene in civil wars when the country at war has large oil reserves.
  • Oil dependent economies have favored stability and support dictators rather than emphasizing democracy.
  • The war in Iraq led to deep resentment of the US and helped grow violent extremism.
  • Afghanistan is categorized as an authoritarian regime, ranking at 152 of 167 countries on the Democracy Index (2012).
  • In 2013 Iraq ranked among the eight most corrupt nations in the world.

Further Reading

Bacevich, Andrew J. 2011. Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. Reprint edition. New York: Metropolitan Books.
Hastings, Tom H. 2014. A New Era of Nonviolence: The Power of Civil Society Over War. McFarland.
Nordstrom, Carolyn. 2004. Shadows of War : Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Pilisuk, Marc, and Jennifer Achord Rountree. 2008. Who Benefits from Global Violence and War : Uncovering a Destructive System. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Security International.
Solomon, Norman. 2010. War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. John Wiley & Sons.

The Flashcard

Flash Card Wars for Peace and Democracy

 Download the PDF version.


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