20 Mar

Book Review in Perspectives on Politics

Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict Reviewed by Anja Jetschke (University of Göttingen)

The new issue of Perspectives on Politics (15: 1) contains a review of Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

From the review:Patrick A. Mello addresses a set of important questions: Why and under what conditions do democracies participate in armed conflict? Do constitutional provisions that define limits to participation in military actions, the rights of parliaments to veto participation, or public opinion provide effective constraints on democratic leaders? Are conservative, rightist governments more war prone than leftist governments? Or is military capacity—that is, governments’ ability to actually conduct such interventions—the most effective constraint?

One of the most important findings of Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict is that constitutional provisions matter. They provide effective barriers against the participation of democracies, especially for interventions whose international legal basis is controversial. Thus, where international law fails to prevent such wars, domestic constitutions step in—at least in the case of established democracies. None of the democracies with constitutional constraints have participated in such interventions [Read Further]