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War and Democratic ConstraintHow the Public Influences Foreign Policy$
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Matthew A. Baum and Philip B. K. Potter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164984

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164984.001.0001

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Conclusion: Information, Constraint, and Democratic Foreign Policy

Conclusion: Information, Constraint, and Democratic Foreign Policy

(p.222) 8 Conclusion: Information, Constraint, and Democratic Foreign Policy
War and Democratic Constraint

Matthew A. Baum

Philip B. K. Potter

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter discusses the implications of the book's theory and findings for future academic research in international relations. It argues that insufficient attention to underlying mechanisms has obscured the consistent role of democratic political institutions in conflict processes. It shows that an essential ingredient for generating democratic constraint is the presence of institutional arrangements—robust opposition and broad public access to media—that minimize a leader's capacity to manipulate the policy information available to citizens. Only when such arrangements are in place can we expect democratic foreign policy to be responsive to the will of the people. The chapter also considers the policy implications of the findings in terms of conflict initiation, conflict reciprocation, and coalition joining. Finally, it offers some prescriptions for media ownership and describes the possible roles of the Internet and satellite television— media technologies that had not yet proliferated globally during much of the period under investigation.

Keywords:   international relations, foreign policy, leaders, democratic constraint, conflict initiation, conflict reciprocation, coalition joining, media, Internet, satellite television

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