Democracies rarely if ever fight one another, but most students of the democratic peace agree that they participate in wars as frequently as autocracies. They tend to win the wars that they participate in. Democracies frequently build large alliances in wartime, but not only with other democracies. From time to time democracies intervene militarily in on-going conflicts. The democratic peace may have contributed to a normative justification for such interventions, for the purpose of promoting democracy and eventually for the promotion of peace. This is reinforced by an emerging norm of humanitarian intervention. Democracies may have a motivation to intervene in non-democracies, even in the absence of on-going conflict, for the purpose of regime change. The recent Iraq war may be interpreted in this perspective. A strong version of this type of foreign policy may be seen as a democratic crusade. This paper examines the normative and theoretical foundations of democratic interventionism and conducts an empirical examination of interventions in the post-World War II period. Particular attention is paid to possible changes in interventionary patterns after the Cold War.
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