Why New Democracies Sign Arms Control Treaties

September 20, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

At its most basic level the Democratic Peace Theory says that democracies behave differently than other countries in the international system. It is generally thought that this is the case because there is something intrinsically good about democracies. David Bosco reports on a study that suggests that democracies do behave differently – but only because it is in their interest to do so. Highlights:

  • Compared to non-democratic countries, newly democratic governments are more likely to sign arms control agreements.
  • The helps enhance their reputation.
  • But more importantly a country’s leader may choose to sign the treaty in a bid to thwart any opposition. By signing onto an arms control agreement the international community will punish anybody who is violating the treaty – and the people violating it are likely to be those that are trying to overthrow the democratic government.
  • The strategy is effective. Countries that sign these treaties are less likely to see democracy reversed.

Read more about how arms control treaties are different from human rights treaties, and quotes from the author of the study over here.

Source: Foreign Policy