Introduction to IJWP September 2016
This issue of IJWP has articles that discuss three topics: peace within democracies, the relationship between participation in IGOs and state military spending, and Korean unification. All of these articles relate to the issue of justice and security of groups, whether politically or culturally united. No state wants to lose its power and no cultural group wants to lose its identity or be treated as inferior. Violence can erupt between or within states when one entity attempts to dominate or exploit another, rather than recognizing an inherent right of others to exist and act in the world.
In principle, democracy reflects a level of consciousness that considers everyone as having an inherent right to exist and to cast a vote for a common future. In practice, there is no existing democratic political regime that entirely reflects this ideal. The institutions of governance, whether between states or within states, have not been well-enough perfected to eliminate unequal treatment under the law. Many factions, whether they be political, economic, or cultural sub-groups, have been able to influence political systems to favor their own interest at the expense of others. And, the institutions of culture often fail to transcend an in-group / out-group group-centered consciousness that would treat other ethnic groups, economic interests, or political parties with due respect. This can happen both in the process of establishing a new democratic entity, or with the corruption of an existing one. Continue reading →