'Democracy' has a large definition , but I want to concentrate on this :

Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny,
thus focusing  on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to
oust them without the need for a revolution.[4]

Many powerful nations, such as USA support dictatorship countries like Saudi Arabia ,Egypt (especially before the revolution) and many others. There are many well documented examples of such alliances. This source describes a few.

So can a democratic country support a dictatorship leaders and still be called a real democracy?.(There are many justifications for such actions, but whether or not they are just is another subject altogeather)

Likewise, can a democratic country invade countries for resources ? For example, the :1954_Guatemalan_coup_d'etat or the war on Iraq, which many suspect was primarily motivated by a desire to control more oil resources. There are many other examples.

How can Karl's description of democracies as a contrast to dictatorships describe nations which frequently help and support dictatorial nations?
If democracies are characterized by 'People controlling their leader(s)' .. Do the people really accept such behavior as supporting dictatorship countries and declaring wars to take another civilization's resources ?.

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  • If the majority of country A's people want their country to invade country B (for its resources or whatever) or support country C's dictator, does that make country A less democratic? And if so, why? At the end of the day, country A's leaders are doing what their people want them to do. – yannis Jun 20 '14 at 15:18
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    The United states is a representative republic, not a democracy. – SoylentGray Jun 20 '14 at 16:01
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    -1 for the usual and fully wrong canard that war in Iraq (which resulted in much higher oil prices for USA than simply buying oil from Saddam like the French were doing would) was "war for oil resources". It's interesting that you didn't use Russia's invasion of Ukraine as an example (where they seek to annex resource rich areas) – user4012 Jun 23 '14 at 19:01
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    I agree with DVK - Iraq was supposed to be a show of power to distract from the fact that the US was unable to achieve its primary goal in Afganistan(actual not stated) and lacked the will to expand the war to Iran and Pakistan(thankfully) to achieve that goal. It worked too because everyone mostly quit talking about our failure to subdue the Taliban or capture Osama bin Ladin. – SoylentGray Jun 23 '14 at 19:11
  • @DVK I though that one of the main reason of the iraq war was oil resources, especially now most companies that extract oil are usa. are there topics in stackoverflow speak about iraq war ? If now I will ask one with full demonstration. – Moudiz Jun 24 '14 at 6:40

Yes, Democracies definitely can do those things.

The literal definition of a democracy is: "rule of the people", and so long as the people of a nation are ruling themselves, they're a democracy.

How they deal with wars and alliances with foreign nations is outside the scope of whether or not they're a democracy.


"opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution".

Leaving aside the wholly wrong canard that war in Iraq was "for control over oil resources" (hint: the control remained fully in the hands of Iraqui government; AND the oil price is more than it would be if US simply purchased oil from Saddam):

  • The war in Iraq was unpopular with the populace.

    So, the leaders (currently ruling party, GOP, as of 2003 to 2005) were FULLY ousted in the space of 2 years and 2 elections (Senate flipped in 2006 elections, House and Presidency in 2008).

  • In contrast, population largely supported Eisenhower's anti-Árbenz actions believing them to be stopping of Communist spread, (rightly or wrongly is irrelevant).

    So, Eisenhower administration did not suffer electoral defeats over it

Democracy in action.

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