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UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND CREATIVE ACTIVITY FORUM
Tatiana Sibaai

The Democratic Peace Theory: A Case Study of the Lebanon-Israeli Wars of 1982

Political Science

ABSTRACT: The Democratic Peace Theory states that no two democratic nation states will go to war with one another. I use the two wars between perceived democratic states, Lebanon and Israel, as a case study to determine whether these instances provide a limit to the theory’s applicability. I use quantitative and qualitative data, including the annual Freedom House rankings, to determine if the definitions of the theory apply to both cases; regime type, democratic government, and level of violence. I also analyze external factors that illustrate the theory’s weaknesses. What is concluded from the data and research is that the cases being studied consist of two democracies that engaged in war with each other on two separate occasions, with several acts of aggression intermittent between the two wars. The limitations of the democratic peace theory presented by these case studies include; a democracy that is not mature cannot be covered under the scope of the theory; conflicts between a democracy and a non-state sanctioned militia within a democracy cannot be covered under the scope of theory; the relations of democratic states that are free but occupy territories that are not free cannot be predicted by the theory; the relations of democratic states that have foreign troops or guerilla militias within their borders cannot always be predicted by the theory. The 1982 and 2006 wars between Lebanon and Israel are marginal cases that highlight the democratic peace theory’s weakness at the margins, despite its general strength.