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.
- 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: von Boemcken, Marc/Werkner, Ines-Jaqueline/Johannsen, Margret/Schoch, Bruno (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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- 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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