The Concept of Democracy by Force Essay

October 14, 2020 by Essay Writer

Democracy is a form of government where all citizens are involved in the process of making important decisions that shape their lives. It gives them equal chances to participate in the process. This is either done indirectly through the elected representatives or directly by the citizens themselves.

The participation involves proposing, developing and creating laws. Democracy includes the economic, social and cultural conditions that allow citizens to equally and freely exercise their political power (Bundu, 2001).

A democratic form of government is contrasted with other forms of governments like a monarchy where the powers are exercised by a single individual or governments where the powers are bestowed upon few individuals.

Examples of such forms of governments include aristocracy or oligarchy (Mackie, 2003). However, the above oppositions that emanated from Greek philosophy elicit controversy since contemporary governments exhibit elements of democracy, monarchy and oligarchy (Lansford, 2007).

Democracy exists in different forms but the basic ones are direct and representative democracies. Both forms focus on the processes through which the citizens exercise their will. Direct democracy fully involves them in the processes of decision making since they are treated as the sovereign power. However, political power in representative democracy is indirectly exercised through elected representatives (Winslow, 2012).

Democracy by Force

Despite the importance of democracy in giving citizens an opportunity to exercise their will, some governments do not embrace it. In such cases, the question remains whether democracy by force should be applied. This is because the efforts made to introduce democratic governance are rendered useless by hostile and negative intentions of selfish leaders who destroy everything.

Such governments leave the rest of the world leaders with no option other than to apply democracy by force. This is done to save citizens of the affected countries instead of leaving them to suffer in the hands of authoritarian leaders (Bohman, 2007). In the absence of democracy, countries experience chaos and civil war, something that compels powerful nations to introduce the concept of democracy by force.

The U.S foreign policies emphasise the importance of promoting international democracy to ensure that citizens of different countries enjoy their freedom. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S government has always been committed towards ensuring that democracy is practiced in every part of the world.

For instance, after the war, Bill Clinton made democratic enlargement the main focus of his administration’s foreign policy. Later, when George Bush took over as the president, he focused on the same issue since it was a key strategy of dealing with terrorism which, according to him, originated from the authoritarian form of governance that was practiced in the Middle East.

As a result, the U.S government invaded Iraq and ousted the administration of Saddam Hussein, which was characterised by oppression. This case was a successful example of democracy by force.

According to neoconservatists, the U.S is morally obligated to enforce democracy in any country since democratic countries do not fight with one another. The authoritarian rule in Iraq was an impediment that prevented liberalisation of the surrounding Arab countries.

Democracy by force was a successful attempt since it removed the oppressive regime that fuelled international terrorism. In addition, stability and liberalisation were boosted in the Arab countries that surrounded Iraq. In this context, democracy by force in Iraq was a success that initiated progress for the country and its neighbors (Hippel, 2000).

Another view held by neoconservatists is that military force is an effective way of achieving democracy in countries ruled by authoritarian leaders. It was not easy to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein and give the citizens a chance to enjoy their freedom.

Democracy by force made it possible for the U.S to bring to an end the reign of the dictator and the oppressive regime that had ruled the country for many years. His removal from power therefore brought freedom to the citizens of Iraq and gave them a chance to enjoy their rights.

It was not possible for the country to progress under the leadership of a leader who was not willing to allow democracy. The concept of democracy by force therefore succeeded in Iraq since the country was liberated and its citizens given a chance to exercise their freedom.

The concept also succeeds in many countries in the sense that it is transferable to all cultures regardless of religious affiliations, social divisions, poverty or lack of experience in handling democratic institutions. This is an idea that is shared by neoconservatists.

Democratic transition is highly influenced by international relations. The success of democracy by force is evident due to the public support that countries like the U.S get in their efforts to enforce it in dictatorial regimes. In addition, the concept has in the recent past been highlighted in academic literature, an indication of its success (Pham, 2005).

Scholars who advocate for democracy point out that democracy by force brings about positive change. This shows its success since it destroys and removes oppressive military and political institutions that operate against popular pressure.

Defeat of the military forces limits the powers of authoritarian leaders and creates new elites who promote democracy. The intervention and occupation measures that democratic powers take increase the costs incurred by the armed forces or other people who use violence to intimidate new regimes.

Consequently, this makes it possible for the new regimes to establish and oversee a military controlled by civilians. This was the case witnessed in Sierra Leone where democracy by force eventually liberated the country (Pham, 2005).

Democracy by force is also successful in the sense that it contributes towards the future success of newly established regimes and reduces their chances of collapsing. One of the privileges that forced democracies enjoy is that they gain access to international resources and links with democratic actors in foreign countries.

In most cases, successful democratic transitions are achieved when authoritarian leaders are removed through democracy by force. Studies conducted by different scholars indicate that there is a strong link between democracy by force and the process of democratisation.

Most existing democracies emanate from deliberate efforts by outside powers to impose democracy where abusive and authoritarian governments exist (Downes, 2012).


Democracy by force is successful in almost all the contexts in which it is applied. This is because the damage that countries suffer in the hands of oppressive leaders is not comparable to the gains associated with democracy by force.

It gives the citizens a chance to enjoy their freedom alongside making it possible for the establishment of new structures that enhance growth in all government sectors. Democracy by force is therefore a successful undertaking in countries where authoritarian regimes reign.

Reference List

Bohman, J 2007, Democracy across borders: from Dêmos to Dêmoi, MIT Press, New York.

Bundu, A 2001, Democracy by Force?: A Study of International Military Intervention in the conflict in Sierra Leone from 1991-2000, Universal Publishers, London.

Downes, A 2012, Freedom by Force:Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and Democratization. Web.

Hippel, K 2000, Democracy By Force. Web.

Lansford, T 2007, Democracy, Marshall Cavendish, New York.

Mackie, G 2003, Democracy Defended, Cambride University Press, New York.

Pham, B 2005, Democracy By Force?: Lessons from the Restoration of the State in Sierra Leone. Web.

Winslow, L 2012, Forced Democracy. Web.

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