Are democratic states better at ensuring peaceful relations between themselves amid large shifts in the distribution of power than nondemocracies? Although the democratic peace research program is well established, its arguments have been only loosely applied to cases of great power rise and decline. Daniel M. Kliman’s provocative new book, Fateful Transitions, seeks to fill the gap.
Kliman’s thesis is straightforward: yes, rising and declining democracies can
more readily ensure peaceful, cooperative relations between themselves than when rising states are nondemocratic because rising democracies can more readily reassure other states over their future behavior. In this telling, rising democracies can successfully convey information about their often benign intentions and, even when intentions are not benign, provide access opportunities for declining democracies to shape their long-term ambitions. Conversely, the closed nature of nondemocratic societies, their opaque decision making, and the absence of domestic checks and balances means that rising nondemocracies are less able to convey information or allow decliners to modify their intentions; the resulting uncertainty primes the system for competition.
Kliman’s work is a valuable contribution to the literature on the strategic choices of rising and declining gre
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Voting and the Electorate
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.