Newsflash! Democracy doesn't instantly turn every nation it touches into Shangri-La! Democracies -- especially brand-new ones -- don't abandon bellicosity, and even established democracies only refrain from fighting other established democracies.
All of this is revealed in two remarkable caches of documents, apparently heretofore untapped by anyone in the Bush administration or sympathetic to it; the document caches are known as "world history" and "the last couple of decades' worth of newspapers."
...In a series of studies culminating in their new book, "Electing to Fight," the political scientists Edward D. Mansfield and Jack Snyder argue that new democracies are often unstable and thus particularly warlike. Mansfield and Snyder note that democratizing countries often lack the rule of law, organized political parties and professional news media. Without those restraining institutions firmly in place, empowering the public can mean empowering bellicose nationalists. As communism crumbled in Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Franjo Tudjman in Croatia used populist nationalism to fuel their rise to power -- and to start a blood bath.
Mansfield and Snyder try to prove that young democracies without fully formed domestic institutions are especially aggressive; their examples range from France's disastrous 1870 attack on Prussia to Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus to Vladimir Putin's continuing brutal clampdown in Chechnya. At best, scholars agree, the democratic peace exists only when established liberal democracies face one another. Confronting nondemocracies, established democracies are about as warlike as normal dictatorships. Think of Britain, France and Israel's attacking Egypt in 1956, or Bush's invasion of Iraq. When a democratic government squabbles with a dictator, it often doesn't trust the dictator enough for serious negotiations, and war is a likely result. Elihu Root, who'd been Theodore Roosevelt's secretary of state, said in 1917: "To be safe, democracy must kill its enemy when it can and where it can. The world ... must be all democratic or all Prussian."
...Mansfield and Snyder cite writers like Samuel P. Huntington, who gingerly emphasizes that democratization works best in proper sequence: first establishing functioning institutions -- political parties, courts -- and then allowing widespread elections. Poland and Chile democratized successfully, Mansfield and Snyder say, but Iraq, it seems, has not. They warn that "unleashing Islamic mass opinion through a sudden democratization could only raise the likelihood of war." ....
But -- but -- but freedom is good! And people want good things! And when they have good things, they'll shun bad things! Purple fingers! Purple fingers! Purple fingers! Pay no attention to that commando unit throwing dead Iraqis into a ditch!