The democratic peace is secured not simply (if at all) through explicitly democratic institutions as such, but through a number of social and political norms and institutions commonly associated with democracies. In The Law of Peoples, John Rawls claims that the conditions that secure the peace between democracies can be found in his non-democratic, non-liberal ‘decent’ societies too. I argue that the situation is more complex than Rawls suggests, but that he is still largely correct. Since decent societies pose no special threat to global peace, the democratic peace thesis does not justify efforts to democratize them. This argument is part of Rawls’s larger defense of decent societies.
This is part of an ongoing project, so comments are welcome and appreciated.