||7. Relevance for Peace Researchers and Activists||Page 19|
Internal military intervention needs to be addressed because it can endanger or block the development of democracy, which is an important prerequisite for a transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace. Evidence from a number of studies shows that democratic countries do not go to war against each other (Gleditsch, 1992). Although the definition of democratic countries in these studies does not preclude the presence of internal military interventions, it is evident that such interventions can endanger a democracy.
We need a refined concept of democracy that takes into consideration all aspects of militarism, including internal interventions. A country that relies on military force to resolve conflicts among its citizens should not be considered as an ideal democracy. In this respect, one may note that a study of the motivation of urban rioters in the United States found that they were angry at their continued exclusion from US economic and social life, which they felt was the result of discrimination rather than of personal inadequacy (Caplan & Paige, 1968). The authors focused on participants in the 1967 riots in Detroit and Newark, but there is no reason to believe that the results would be any different from the participants in the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
Although the abolition of war eventually will require the abolition or conversion of all military institutions, this may not occur if these institutions are relied upon to maintain internal control. Therefore, one of the tasks for those who would abolish war should be to help develop alternatives to internal military interventions. No one expects that the conflicts that have led to these interventions in the past, whether ethnic, racial, or class conflicts, are going to disappear, but it should be possible to promote the development of new means of conflict management that do not involve or threaten the use of violence. Anti-war activists should playa catalytic role in the development of such alternatives.
Of course, the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace cannot occur abruptly, but must take place in a series of stages. During these stages, it may be useful to distinguish between types of military intervention, some of which may be more justifiable than others. For example, were the interventions to uphold civil rights legislation in the US South in the 1950s and 1960s justifiable in a way that other military interventions were not? This question might be related fruitfully to debate on when and if force is justifiable in the case of UN peace- keeping. But whether or not some military interventions can be justified in the short term, there is no doubt that in the long term we need to develop non-military means of peace-building and to promote societies in which internal military interventions are no longer needed or carried out.
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