In This Review

International Security and Democracy: Latin America and the Caribbean in the Post-Cold War Era
International Security and Democracy: Latin America and the Caribbean in the Post-Cold War Era
Edited by Jorge Domínguez
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998, 356 pp

In the great debate over democracy and war, scholars have largely ignored Latin America and the Caribbean. They should reconsider. Since the end of the Cold War, states in the region have settled their most dangerous civil wars and turned more cooperative. A democratic transformation has begun while military spending has dropped and cooperation on security matters has risen.

This book seeks to disentangle the complex relationship between democratization and international security in Central and South America. Detailed empirical chapters are accompanied by thematic discussions of civil-military institutions and subregional patterns of interstate relations. One chapter makes the intriguing case that Argentinian peacekeeping participation has reinforced civil-military relations and democratic institutions. Others claim that democratization has no direct effect on the settlement of disputes, citing the argument that democracies are as likely as nondemocracies to fight with other nondemocracies, while both democracies and nondemocracies have taken steps to reduce the likelihood of war. In some cases, such as Venezuela's border disputes, democratic politics have actually made peace harder to reach. Rather than advance a general theoretical argument, however, the book usefully underscores the complex relationship between regime change and security relations. The consolidation of democracy and peace are indeed related, but the lines of causation are more intricate and interwoven than often thought.