As Daniel Pipes puts it:
The positive prong involves promoting democracy. The historical record shows that democratic countries almost never make war on each other and tend to be prosperous. Therefore, elections appear to be what the doctor ordered for the maladies of the Middle East.
This theory is so central to the foreign policy of the US and its lapdogs that it is crucial to consider its weaknesses and why it might fail.
Democratic Peace Theory started off claiming that democracies would not be warlike. War was the tool of demagogues, voters would not allow it. That theory, obviously, is entirely incorrect, and no-one sane still attempts to uphold it.
So the theory adjusted to its current form: democracies do not wage war on each other. And is applied to mean that, as long as we (Western democracies) convert them to democracy, countries will stop being a threat to us.
Overwhelmingly, to date, this has proven true. But there are historical factors that theorists believe may have caused this, and which splay doubt over the utility of the theory in a place like Palestine.
Consider the adjustment: why did the theory have to change shape? Because democracies have not proven to be, by any stretch of a whiskey-sodden imagination, peaceful. For Exhibit A I give you... Australia. How many times Australia has waged war across the past 100 years? How many of those occasions did we act in direct self defence?
OK, you feel the wars may be justified, but they are wars: democracies may act on different motives at times, but they are not peaceful by definition. Just as dictatorships are not necessarily warlike. "Peaceful" and "Righteous" are different concepts.
There is every reason to conclude that the countries we recognise as democracies haven't waged war on each other because they have mostly been, until recently, allies. With common interests.
Daniel demonstrates the blind siding of the Right when he asks whether Hamas will prove the exception to the theory. Ask the same question of Israel:
Will Israel stop taking military steps against Palestinians, irrespective of provocation, merely because they are now demonstrably a democracy?
Of course not.
Regardless of whether you believe it was justified or not, voters in the US, Australia, Israel and now Palestine are perfectly capable of making a democratic statement in favour of the use of military might, including against another democracy.
Democratic Peace Theory may have some relative merit, maybe democracies are less likely on the whole to wage war, but it cannot be blandly applied to any region, any conflict, any peoples.
The theory, which underpins Bush doctrine, is demonstrably deeply flawed. Democracy may be a feature of the bulk of peaceful nations, but it needs a populace who have moved, in education and ideology, beyond the primitive urge to wage war at every opportunity.
The theory is flawed for the same reason that the old dictator's cliche - 'democracy represents the imposition of Western culture' - is flawed: a functioning democracy will more or less reflect the people within that country.
If they hate the US, or Israel, or want to murder all the civilians of a particular race, unfortunately that's the government you'll get following free and fair elections.
I offer no defence of the election of Hamas. It is a statement by the Palestinian people, a tragic one, and they as well as their leaders may be held to account for it.