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Pax Democratica

A Strategy for the 21st Century. By James Robert Huntley.

James Robert Huntley: Pax Democratica. A Strategy for the 21st Century, Foreword by Lawrence S. Eagleburger, The Ipswich Book Company Ltd., Ipswich, Suffolk UK 1998, ISBN 0-333-71767-8.


12.11.1998 · Reviewed by Heidi Kübel


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Tokyo: The Economic Union of the Democracies decides on a joint reaction to the economic crisis in South East Asia. Washington: The Defense Union of the Democracies reflects on solutions to the Congo conflict. Members send their common forces for a peace-building operation in Central Africa. London: The Iraqi democratic opposition meets representatives of the Union for Democratic Education to plan the next broadcast series in Iraq. Rio de Janeiro: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Democracies decides on the budget of the Intercontinental Community of Democracies for the following year.

Just a fanciful vision? In Pax Democratica, James Robert Huntley, a former diplomat and researcher on transatlantic relations and democratization, shows the basis of that future vision. The book demonstrates the necessity of shaping a new world order and tells what its architecture might be like. Huntley bases his vision on realistic grounds by showing how organizations such as NATO, EC, or the European Court of Human Rights have proved that joint action is possible in the fields of security, economy, and human rights. The central and convincing idea of the book is that these organizations can serve as building blocks for an intercontinental community of all the democracies worldwide.

The history of the 20st century is one of wars and mass murder, perpetrated by dictatorships. But the 20st century is also a century of democratization and international cooperation. Democracies, says Huntley in support of the well-known thesis, do not wage war on each other, and they do not authorize mass murder among their people. International cooperation supports democratization and international peace by founding rules for internal and external behaviour of states, and by realizing the mutuality of interests which were previously called national interests. Therefore democracy-building and community-building are works in process that must be supported today. The success of the European Union in bringing lasting peace, unprecedented prosperity, working democracy and respect for human rights shows the benefits of following the approach that Huntley advocates.

At the end of the 20th century, democratic legitimacy and power in the international system are for the first time in history in the same hands. The democratic countries are the leading powers in the political, economic and military sphere. Will the world's democracies make use of this opportunity for achieving a 21st century of global security, econonomic prosperity, sustainable development and increasing democratization? After the hegemonic eras of Pax Romana, Pax Britannica and Pax Americana, will mankind see a Pax Democratica in the 21st century?

Huntley's book aims at demonstrating concrete steps to fouding an international order in which relations among as well as within the states are guided by the principle of democracy. The core structure of this new international order would be an Intercontinental Community of Democracies. Member countries, sharing democratic values and common interests, try to solve the future challenges through common planning, decision-making and execution of the democracies' policies. Because many of these future challenges surpass national interests, decisions would be taken with a majority without a veto right for so-called vital interests. The most stable and influential democracies (USA, Japan, Germany, Great Britain and France, he suggests) would take a leading role in Huntley's concept for establishing the community and deciding on the guidelines. This plan raises the dilemma between effectiveness and legitimacy that international organizations from the League of Nations to the European Union could not yet solve, and which Huntley also leaves unsolved. But the benefits of a Pax Democratica give a valuable incentives not to acccept traditional Realpolitik, but to reflect on what should and, if we really try, can be done in international politics.


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