It is all the more surprising that there has never been a war between two democracies, because the number of democracies has grown along with the number of wars in the past decades: that there has never been such a war ought to be regarded as an improbable occurrence: One must see the hypothesis that democracies work through their conflicts without violence as empirically well-confirmed.
Nevertheless, a condition for the survival of democratic peace is that the praxis of foreign policy in democracies should distinguish itself from the praxis in dictatorships. The Wikileaks documents show, however, that Kant’s criterion of publicity has been abused not only by dictatorial regimes but also by U.S. diplomacy and, it is likely, by all Western states. The outrageous reasons given for the war in Iraq are only the most obvious and most scandalous example until now. The public was intentionally misled. Had they been adequately informed, they would presumably not have approved of the second Iraq war.
This war was directed against a dictatorial regime and therefore doesn’t disprove the hypothesis of democratic peace. Nevertheless, the justification for this hypothesis rests on the assumption that the foreign policy of democratic and dictatorial regimes will be conducted in fundamentally distinct ways.
This fundamental difference is called into question by the Wikileaks documents. It is about time that we orient the foreign policy of democratic states according to the principles of clarity and truth. The citizens of a democratic state have a right to know the strategies of their government and its motives.