The studies which we carried out within the research programme “Antinomies of Democratic Peace” focussed on the policies of Western Democracies. We compared arms control policies, approaches towards the “revolution in military affairs” and changes in the model idea of a democratic soldier after the end of the Cold War. The objective was to understand the significant differences in the policies of democracies. We found that it is not sufficient to focus on systemic constraints or on external attributes such as status and power potential, and that the differences between democracies cannot be explained without studying internal factors: These differences result largely from the specific shape which the liberal-democratic political culture of a country has taken in the course of its historical development. One variant insists on distancing itself considerably from non-democratic systems and on a pro-active world policy aimed at implementing democratic values; the other variant prefers a policy of restraint and of intersystem cooperation. These different internal norm systems also affect the details of policies in the various fields of security policy and lead to – at times considerable – tension even between democracies. Their potential for causing and/or exacerbating conflicts throughout the world has also become apparent.
In the new research programme "Just Peace Governance", Research Department I has been charged with the task of studying which opportunities and constraints for a peaceful and just world order emerge from the ways in which states deal with their instruments of force. Having started with our insights into the security policies of democracies, we are now focussing our attention on comparing different political systems and cultures. One can currently observe a contest between different ideas on justice in world politics: On the one hand, there are the manifest or latent justice claims of non-Western states and their frustration and resentment over the perceived injustices of today's world order that are reinforced by the hegemonic position of the West and centuries of Western hegemony; on the other hand, there are the universalist claims of Western policies which demand considerable concessions from non-Western partners with regard to their national sovereignty. At the heart of our research projects lies the question of to what degree this confrontation creates risks in the area of security policy, and how such risks can be treated constructively and productively.
Head of Research Department:Harald Müller
Research Fellows:Una Becker-Jakob