A little over a week ago, I got into a tussle with a commenter/twit in the comments thread of this posting. In it, he mocked Victor Davis Hansen’s assertion that “democracies don’t go to war with each other,” calling it bogus. I challenged him to cite a few examples of democracies waging war against each other.
The first one was tough to repudiate: the US Civil War. I argued that the Confederacy wa never a fully established independent nation; otherwise, it would not have been a “civil war.”
His second example was laughably easy to shoot down: Israel/Lebanon, 2006. Israel went to war IN Lebanon, not WITH Lebanon; their war was with Hezbollah — a terrorist Islamist group that holds a good chunk of Lebanon hostage at the behest of their masters in Damascus.
The third one stumped me: The India-Pakistan War from 1947 to 1949. I am by no stretch of the imagination a scholar of that particular part of the world and its history, but a brief poking through Wikipedia showed that both nations became independent of the British Empire in 1947, but India officially became a Republic in 1950 — and Pakistan in 1956. I don’t know what their form of government was between those dates.
That didn’t stop the twit, who simply pronounced that “all three of my examples are correct” and “I have several more but I’ll keep them in reserve,” then declared the matter closed.
I’m not so quick to grant him the victory, so I’m calling in the cavalry — namely, you folks.
First, were India and Pakistan democracies when they had their war?
Secondly, are there any actual examples of established democracies (note how I’m excluding the US Civil War there) going to war with each other?
Have at it in the comments. I’ll be watching with interest.