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Democracy Against Itself, by Jean-Francois Revel

- Abstract

By the end of the cold war, conservatives had developed a strong body of theory on what might be seen as the two main issues of the struggle: deterrence and democracy. Jean-François Revel, the distinguished French writer, was an important contributor to both strands of reflection—notably with his compelling and widely touted 1984 book, How Democracies Perish.

With regard to deterrence, conservatives had always understood that the liberal penchant for conciliation was the wrong recipe for dealing with tyrants and aggressors. Over time, this instinctive insight about the threat and use of force came to be supported by a large body of theoretical and historical writing, including Revel’s, criticizing the liberal vision of international conflict and in particular the liberal idol of arms control.

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