Democracy Or Demography?: Sources of Victory in Modern War
How much influence does the regime type of a country have on its ability to win an international war? Upon closer inspection, very little. A careful study of the process by which peaceful citizens are converted into instruments of state-sponsored destruction shows that countries with democratic systems of government perform no better in international wars than their non-democratic counterparts. Instead, it is the size of the population asset that the states leadership can gather, leverage, and deploy in combat that has historically mattered most for victory in war. Population sizes of countries in the international system are so varied that it is virtually impossible for a small nation to withstand the military onslaught of a more populous foe, a finding that reintroduces some basic tenets of realism to modern foreign policy discussions. The importance of the size and quality of a countrys population is demonstrated via statistical analysis on a novel dataset of international wars since 1816, as well as detailed case studies of the Arab-Israeli Wars and German invasion of France in 1940.
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ability alliance analysis Arab Arab-Israeli argument armed forces army asset management autocracies autocratic initiator autocratic regimes average battle battlefield Biddle British capture Chapter coding conflict Correlates of War correlation country’s country’s population dataset decision defeated democracies democratic attackers democratic countries democratic defenders democratic initiators democratic regimes democratic targets dependent variable deployed determine dyads Egypt Egyptian enemy engage explanation factors fighting findings France French German Germany’s historical impact individual initiators and targets international system international wars iron/steel production Israel Israeli Lake’s larger levels leverage materiel measure military effectiveness military power mobilization non-democratic North Korea North Vietnam opponents outcomes participants particular political Polity IV population advantage potential predictor problem regime type Reiter and Stam rent-seeking risk aversion sample side significantly soldiers Stam’s statistically significant success superior tactical tanks territory total population troops Vietnam waging war outcomes win wars World World War II