Concert of Democracies

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A Concert of Democracies or League of Democracies is an alternative international organization proposed by Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay in a May 2004 Washington Post op-ed. The concept is broader than a military organization, hence “concert” instead of “alliance.” In a subsequent article in The American Interest,[1] they affirm that roughly 60 countries would qualify for membership under these criteria. They conceive such a "Concert" as a "D-60" group within the UN.

Around the same time, following a 2004 exchange with Jean Elshtain on just war theory, John Davenport of Fordham University proposed a "federation of democracies" in a 2005 article.[2] He developed this further by analogy with arguments for the American federation,[3] and contended that only a federation of democracies could reliably undertake humanitarian interventions to stop mass atrocity crimes.[4] He also defended this proposal against criticisms by Stephen Schlesinger in an online exchange.[5]

G. John Ikenberry and Anne-Marie Slaughter have also called for the creation of a “Concert of Democracies” in the final report of the Princeton Project on National Security, Forging a World Under Liberty and Law: U.S. National Security in the 21st Century (September 2006). Most recently the concept has been supported by former United States Presidential candidate John McCain.[6]

According to the Princeton Project's final report released on September 27, 2006, this alternative body's purpose would be to strengthen security cooperation among the world’s liberal democracies and to provide a framework in which they can work together to effectively tackle common challenges - ideally within existing regional and global institutions, but if those institutions fail, then independently, functioning as a focal point for efforts to strengthen liberty under law around the world. It would serve as the institutional embodiment and ratification of the "democratic peace".[7]

On September 16, 2006, Anne Bayefsky at the Hudson Institute, published a nearly identical proposal to establish an organization called the United Democratic Nations in The Jerusalem Post. Unlike the Princeton Project scholars, Bayefsky and other conservative scholars view the institution as a replacement for the United Nations, which they view as illegitimate and ineffective.

Possible membership[edit]

Political scientists have argued that the criteria for inclusion in a Concert of Democracies are by no means clear-cut. The main factors for membership most agreed upon are regular, competitive, free and fair elections, and protection of individual rights and the rule of law.[citation needed] Other progressive thinkers, such as Daniele Archibugi have argued that the same purposes will be better served by a democratic reform of the United Nations.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ivo Daalder & James Lindsay, Democracies of the World, Unite,, January - February 2007 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  2. ^ John J. Davenport, "Just War Theory Requires a New Federation of Democratic Nations,” Fordham International Law Journal 28 no.3 (Feb.2005): 763-85.
  3. ^ Davenport, “A Global Federalist Paper: Consolidation Arguments and Global Government,” Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (2008): 353-75.
  4. ^ Davenport, “Just Wars, Humanitarian Intervention, and the Need for a Federation of Democracies,” The Journal of Religious Ethics 39 no.3 (2011): 493–555.
  5. ^ "For a Federation of Democracies: A Response to Stephen Schlesinger,” Ethics and International Affairs 23 no.1 (Spring 2009), Online Roundtable supplement:
  6. ^ Liz Sidoti, “McCain Favours a ‘League of Democracies’,, April 30, 2007 [1]
  7. ^ Robert Kagan, “The Case for a League of Democracies”, Financial Times, May 13, 2008 [2][permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Daniele Archibugi, The Global Commonwealth of Citizens. Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy, Princeton University Press, 2008, [3]

External links[edit]