Antinomies of Democratic Arms Control in the 1990s

The project “Antinomies of Democratic Arms Control in the 1990s”, funded by the DFG, applied the assumptions of the Democratic Peace Theory to arms control policies. According to this theory, democracies are war-averse, cost-conscious and inclined to cooperate. This leads to the assumption that arms control and disarmament should be prioritized in security policies pursued by democracies: such states are regarded as instruments for preventing war that work towards reducing arms expenditures and supplement self-help with cooperative, largely institutionalized, security policies. However, observations in the 1990s of the behavior exhibited by a number of democratic states with regard to international arms control policies demonstrated that these states markedly deviate from this assumption. Inclinations to control arms varied greatly among democracies. Based on this preliminary finding, this project investigated variances in arms control policies in the areas of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear testing bans, biological weapons, chemical weapons, conventional weapons, landmines, and small arms (in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Great Britain, France and the US), and attempted to explain these variances using the approach “antinomies of democratic arms control”. This approach recognizes that though the causal mechanisms provided by the democratic peace theory correctly indicate attributes of democratic states, the political “outcomes” derived from these are not inevitable but rather merely contingent. These antinomies reveal alternative paths for development. The project interpreted the anomalies in light of such alternative development paths and attempted to identify the conditions under which these alternatives may bear fruit. Additionally, we assessed the explanatory power of alternative variables, such as power status, perceptions of security, membership in alliances, armament interests, democratic system types and roles/identities. The project completed its empirical investigation in 2008.


The results showed that power status correlates with policies in the areas related to nuclear arms, though not in other areas. Membership in alliances and armament interests may exhibit a modifying effect, but we were unable to identify any systematic causal effects. While membership in NATO did make non-nuclear states succumb to restraint in terms of nuclear disarmament, it did not have an overall effect on arms control; at the same time, membership in the EU for the period under investigation tended to promote arms control. Policies proved to largely be in the hands of departmental bureaucracies while civil society only had selective influence in a few of the investigated democratic states. This implies that democracy only serves as a background factor and not one with direct effects. On the other hand, public opinion did exhibit influence in that bureaucracies and decision-makers anticipated the public’s preferences when formulating policies. For most of the areas and for most countries, identity/role were the most plausible explanation for the manifestation of armament policies. Actors formulated and justified their policies in respect to their established self-perceptions and the associated values and expectations. When power, security considerations and membership in alliances do have an influence, the actors’ impulses likewise pass through the filter of a state’s image. Conflicts between aspects of the identity and the role (outside expectations) of a state’s self-perception can account for certain noticeable inconsistencies in their policies. For the states in our sample that had the most active arms control policies in the period considered (Canada, Ireland and Sweden), we were able to trace how their “proactive imperative” for arms control and disarmament had developed historically and become path dependent as a part of their self-perceptions.

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Die Chance nutzen! | 2013

Fey, Marco/Müller, Harald/Becker-Jakob, Una/Franceschini, Giorgio/Rosert, Elvira/Schaper, Annette/Schmidt, Hans-Joachim/Schörnig, Niklas/Wisotzki, Simone (2013): Die Chance nutzen! Zum Stand von Rüstungskontrolle und Abrüstung, in: Marc von Boemcken/Ines-Jaqueline Werkner/Margret Johannsen/Bruno Schoch (Hg.), Friedensgutachten 2013, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 165-179.

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Ende oder Neuordnung der konventionellen Rüstungskontrolle? | 2008

Hans-Joachim Schmidt, Ende oder Neuordnung der konventionellen Rüstungskontrolle?, HSFK-Report Nr. 3/2008, Frankfurt/M.

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Alte Probleme in neuem Gewand? | 2008

Tabea Seidler-Diekmann, Alte Probleme in neuem Gewand? Herausforderungen an das umfassende Chemiewaffenverbot, HSFK-Report Nr. 2/2008, Frankfurt/M.

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Licht am Ende des Tunnels? | 2007

Una Becker, Licht am Ende des Tunnels? Die Sechste Überprüfungskonferenz des Biowaffen-Übereinkommens, HSFK-Report Nr. 5/2007, Frankfurt/M.

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5
Light at the End of the Tunnel? | 2007

Una Becker, Light at the End of the Tunnel? The Sixth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, PRIF Report No. 79, Frankfurt/M., 2007.

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Wider die Aufrüstungs-Globalisierung: Plädoyer für eine nachhaltige Abrüstungsinitiative | 2007

Harald Müller, Wider die Aufrüstungs-Globalisierung: Plädoyer für eine nachhaltige Abrüstungsinitiative, in: Bruno Schoch, Andreas Heinemann-Grüder, Jochen Hippler, Markus Weingardt, Reinhard Mutz (Hg.), Friedensgutachten, Münster (LIT Verlag), 2007, S. 135-146.

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Multilateralisierung des Brennstoffkreislaufs | 2006

Harald Müller, Multilateralisierung des Brennstoffkreislaufs: Ein Ausweg aus den Nuklearkrisen?, HSFK-Report Nr. 10/2006, Frankfurt/M.

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Libyens Selbstentwaffnung | 2006

Harald Müller, Libyens Selbstentwaffnung. Ein Modellfall?, HSFK-Report Nr. 6/2006, Frankfurt/M.

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While Waiting for the Protocol | 2005

Una Becker/Harald Müller/Carmen Wunderlich, While Waiting for the Protocol: An Interim Compliance Mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention, in: The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 12, No. 3, November 2005, S. 541-572.

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Kleinwaffen ohne Grenzen | 2005

Simone Wisotzki, Kleinwaffen ohne Grenzen. Strategien jenseits der Rüstungskontrolle gefordert, HSFK-Report Nr. 15/2005, Frankfurt/M.

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11
Impulse für das Biowaffenregime | 2005

Una Becker/Harald Müller/Carmen Wunderlich, Impulse für das Biowaffenregime: Ein provisorischer Compliance-Mechanismus als Schritt aus der Sackgasse, HSFK-Report Nr. 7/2005, Frankfurt/M.

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12
Vertrag im Zerfall? | 2005

Harald Müller, Vertrag im Zerfall? Die gescheiterte Überprüfungskonferenz des Nichtverbreitungsvertrags und ihre Folgen, HSFK-Report Nr. 4/2005, Frankfurt/M.

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13
Sicherheit durch Volksentscheid? | 2005

Tabea Seidler, Sicherheit durch Volksentscheid? Das Schweizer Engagement in friedenserhaltenden Operationen und der Landminenfrage, HSFK-Report Nr. 3/2005, Frankfurt/M.

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14
Demokratie und nukleare Rüstungskontrolle | 2005

Una Becker/Harald Müller, Demokratie und nukleare Rüstungskontrolle, in: Götz Neuneck/Christian Mölling (Hg.): Die Zukunft der Rüstungskontrolle, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2005, S. 17-28.

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Abschreckung ohne Ende? | 2004

Simone Wisotzki, Abschreckung ohne Ende? Die ambivalente Nuklearwaffenpolitik Großbritanniens und Frankreichs, HSFK-Report Nr. 11/2004, Frankfurt/Main

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US Nuclear Policy after the Cold War | 2004

Harald Müller/Annette Schaper, US Nuclear Policy after the Cold War, PRIF Report No. 69, Frankfurt/M., 2004.

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Abrüstungsaktivist Irland | 2003

Una Becker, Abrüstungsaktivist Irland: Bündnispartner deutscher Politik im nuklearen Nichtverbreitungsregime?, HSFK-Report Nr. 11/2003, Frankfurt/M.

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Nukleare Krisen und transatlantischer Dissens | 2003

Harald Müller, Nukleare Krisen und transatlantischer Dissens. Amerikanische und europäische Antworten auf aktuelle Probleme der Weiterverbreitung von Kernwaffen, HSFK-Report Nr. 9/2003, Frankfurt/M.

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US-Nuklearpolitik nach dem Kalten Krieg | 2003

Harald Müller/Annette Schaper, US-Nuklearpolitik nach dem Kalten Krieg, HSFK-Report Nr. 3/2003, Frankfurt/M.

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