KANT’S PERPETUAL PEACE IN A WORLD OF CRISIS 1.0
The Life and Works of Immanuel Kant
2.1.1 The Notion of Perpetual Peace 2.1.1. Definitive Articles 2.1.2. Perpetual Peace and European Union 3.0
Global Peace: Facts on Ground
Other Attempts on Global Peace
Kant’s Perpetual Peace in Global Perspective
In the face of increasing concern posed by global insecurity in the recent times, the issue of charting a clear path to peace and mutual coexistence has assumed a heightened urgency. In an effort to tame the perverseness of human nature, which is nakedly revealed in the antagonistic relations between nations, myriads of theories have been elucidated and are constantly fashioned to forestall increased incidences of international confrontation. This becomes very pertinent when we consider the development of Information and Communication Technology, which has reduced the world into what the Canadian writer, Marshall Mcluhan, described as the Global Village. With this, there is only a thin difference between global development and global annihilation, with the world knitted in such a way as what affects one affects the other. The choice a ‘tiny’ country on the planet earth makes today can determine the future of the universe. Hence there is need to x-ray certain propositions provided as panacea to global sociopolitical and economic crisis to contain the effects of radical opinions and beliefs which may arrive from any part of the worls. Among these theories, the 215-year old vision of Perpetual Peace by the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, stands out as an old solution to our perennial problem. How this satirical statement by the erudite philosopher
would be relevant in a world, which common denominator is technology, remains the core objective of this essay. It is an attempt to use Kant’s prognosis to answer the questions of global insecurity and common good.
THE LIFE AND WORKS OF IMMANUEL KANT (17241804)
Immanuel Kant was born in Konigsberg in East Prussia, Germany, on April 22, 1724. Sixteen years later, he entered the University of Konigsberg, where he read theology and physics. In 1746, his father, who emphasised inward morality and piety died, and Kant had to fend for himself. He worked as a family tutor for nine years and later lectured at the University of Konigsberg. He was appointed to the chair of Logic and Metaphysics in 1770. In 1771, he published his Magnum Opus, the Critique of Pure Reason, where he analysed how the mind itself structures our understanding of reality by conceptual categories. Considered by many as the greatest philosopher of Enlightenment, Kant gave fresh understanding to several old problems. He argued that God, freedom and immortality are transcendental ideas essential to moral life. In fact, his categorical imperative became a guide for conduct. “Act according to the maxim which can at the same time make itself a universal Law”. This was to be relevant in all his later works including the treatise on perpetual peace. A person of goodwill, according to Kant, will treat others as end and not means. Two things he discovered filled his mind with increasing wonder and awe; the starry heavens above and moral laws within. It was these that structured his entire moral philosophy. A very disciplined man that lived all his life in Konigsberg, Kant delivered popular lectures and followed a regular routine. Before his death on February 12, 1804, Kant had published several books and shaped moral philosophy in the Enlightenment age. He gave philosophy a critical perspective and showed how, by using higher human reason and justice, the world can transcend the brutal strife and arguments of war.
2.1.1 THE NOTION OF PERPETUAL PEACE In 1795, when Prussia ceded France territory west of the Rhine in order to partition Poland with Russia and Austria, Kant’s major work on peace, titled ‘Perpetual Peace’ was published. It was an expression of Kant’s
indignation to this arrangement. He actually wrote the work as a peace treaty to be signed by nations in Europe. Perpetual peace could be described as a state of affairs where peace is permanently established over a certain area. It is a state of harmonious relations, free from disputes and transcends mere absence of war. In his treaty on peace, Kant gave six preliminary articles as sine qua non for a perpetual peace among states: No treaty of peace shall be held valid in which there is tacitly reserved matter for a future war. No independent states, large or small, shall come under the dominion of another state by inheritance, exchange, purchase or donation. Standing armies shall in time be totally abolished. National debts shall not be contracted with a view to the external friction of states. No state shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another state. No state shall, during war, permit such acts of hostility, which would make mutual confidence in the subsequent peace impossible. He equally added that since all states are equal, no state has the right to wage punitive war because just punishment must come from a supervisory authority not an equal. Cognisance of the difficulty men encounter living together in a state devoid of rancour, which is part and parcel of natural state (status naturalis), Kant established the three definite articles. The first definite article states “The civil constitution of every state should be republican”. This will ensure that the maintenance of the principles of freedom, equality and common legislation reign supreme. By republican, Kant implies representation of people but not necessarily as is obtainable in democracy, which he said may likely become despotic, when an individual (autocrat) or a few (aristocracy) become the leaders. He sees democracy as muddling together the powers of the executive and legislative. The only constitution that derives from the idea of the marginal compact, and on which all juridical legislation of a people must be based is the republican. Besides its purity – having sprung from the pure source of the concept of law - it gives favourable prospect for the desired consequence i.e. perpetual peace.
The second definite article has it that “The law of nations shall be founded on a federation of free states”. Here, he tries to establish the rights of states through a league of nations. In the federation, a supreme legislative, executive and judicial power may be established to reconcile the differences between nations amicably. It must be noted that the arguments of pro-war philosophers like Hugo Grotius and Gallic Prince that law is the “prerogative which nature has given the stronger that the weaker should obey him,” have no space in Kant’s treatise. It is peace treaty that ends wars. This will come as more republics associate with each other and form a federation. For this to work, states must give up their savage (lawless) freedom in order to find a greater freedom and security within the constraints of public law. Each state may and should for the sake of its own security, demand that the others enter with it into a constitution similar to the civil constitution, for under such a constitution can each be secure in its right. The third definite article states that, “The law of world citizenship shall be limited to conditions of universal hospitality”. Everyone has the right not to be treated as an enemy when arriving in another land. How prophetic Kant was when he observed: “The narrower or wider community of the peoples of earth has developed so far that a violation of rights in one place is felt throughout the world”. Thus, he did not consider a law of world citizenship high-flown nor exaggerated but rather indispensable for human right and perpetual peace. In the Science of Right, Kant discussed the right of mankind, which is necessary for global peace. This gives rise to the right of nations, international law and universal right of mankind. Ethically, people ought to be treated as ends in themselves and not as means to some ends. He posited the three rights of peace as neutrality, alliance and guarantee. Neutrality is a right to remain at peace even though wars are nearby. Alliance is the right of states to federate and defend themselves against a common aggression. This gives no room for external aggression or internal aggression. Guarantee is the right to have peace secured so that it may continue when it has been concluded. Kant believed that the guarantee for perpetual peace is the design and process of world history, which we call providence. This spells why people, though have spread throughout the earth, have been forced to be good by their contact and laws.
2.1.2 KANT AND THE EURROPEAN UNION.
Kant’s prognosis on peace was principally meant for the unification of Europe torn apart between the East and West. Although published after several attempts by Gotfried Leibniz in Corporis Juris; Saint Pierre’s Peace Plan; Rousseau and Bentham’s respectively, Kant’s treatise on peace, although not totally distinct from these, provided a unique corpus that shaped European politics, about more than a century later. There were some other works emanating from his thought like Immanuel Kant And Iraqi War (2004) by Roger Scruton and Immanuel Kant And Iraqi, A Reply, among others. Though incisive and provocative, these largely represent other volumes of literature that tend to reduce Kant’s work to a stop gap that can fix even the Nigerian/Biafra war. By the end of the 18th century, the idea of perpetual peace was not much pronounced in Europe. However, it arose afresh at the end of a century that had begun belligerently and culminated brutally with Napoleon’s revolutionary wars. In the midst of fear and uneasiness in Europe, the French revolution promoted the idea among many, including Kant, that reason itself could be realised in politics. Hence, Kant emphasised that peace in Europe could only be achieved and secured by increasing the importance of the rule of law in relations between states. He refused to see political elites as guarantors and enforcers of peace for more fundamental reasons than mere political pragmatism. No matter how well painted, a saint who embodies in his or her person, the responsibility for international administration and enforcement of justice, would, Kant fears, quickly become a despot. In the post cold-war era, at the end of East –West confrontation, European vision of world order become increasingly aligned with Kant’s guidelines. In fact, Europe began to enter a Kantian historical paradise of peace and prosperity. Hence, Europe’s political history in the decades after the Second World War, from the slow expansion of EU to the end of East-West conflict, could be described as a step-by-step realisation of Kant’s venture. Although it may be naivety to believe Kant’s treatise was the handbook used in the formation of EU, one can however, see the background of his work in the contemporary European balance of power. Between European states, this remains a distinct feature EU has from United Nations, and a singular reason why overwhelmingly superior powers like Britain found it difficult initially to belong to the union. I say initially because it was recently that British government began to shake off some of her policies that were incompatible with the one specified in code of EU. Unquestionably, a political realist, Kant would not see the equally overwhelming superior powers fit into his project and that could have been his reason for limiting his ambitious theory to Europe. Nevertheless, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE), the European Union and possibly the European part of NATO can justifiably be considered to a certain extent as embodiments of a federation of states as Kant might have envisioned them.
GLOBAL PEACE IN A NUCLEAR WORLD
There is definitely no accurate parameter to measure peace globally. The attempt by the Global Peace Index (GPI) to measure the relative position of nationsâ€™ and regionsâ€™ peacefulness, although has received various endorsements, has its weaknesses. However, the experience of tension in a world that is engrossed in armament and nuclear technology makes the relative peace we enjoy a mere absence of war. It is palpable everywhere. Rumours and speculations ride the desert winds and cruise across the horizon like the squall line of a coming sandstorm. On daily basis, people hear different stories of instability; violence and war. In the Middle East, there is a belief, whether rightly or wrongly, that America wants not just their oil but the control of it and its 100 million Muslims. Unfortunately, the Taliban and the al-Qaeda network that have their origin in this zone wreck havoc that makes believe in the myth of western quest for dominance absurd. Many countries here like Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc believe the United States in becoming overbearing. The Arabs are hence doing anything to stop the subjugation. The North Korea and Iran have refused to fully comply with the rules of nuclear disarmament. They want to keep weapons that will place in their palms, the destiny of the world. They are always on the brink of destabilizing Eastern Asia. Palestinians believe Isreal illegally occupy their land and must be forced out of Palestinian territory. The Taliban are moving back to Afghanistan, and the al-Qaeda network, which unfortunately is spreading to various countries are recruiting suicide bombers. In Africa, it is largely intra state conflicts bordering on leadership tussle, tribal chauvinism and religious fundamentalism. It is a crude and primordial fight shrouded in ignorance and selfishness. While in Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Niger, Chad, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, among others, it has become full blown, other countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Liberia, and so on are managing to maintain the equilibrium, amidst several ethnic and primordial interests seeking primal relevance. It is a pure re-living of the wars of empires, centuries ago, but now as internal wrangling.
Many efforts at securing peace through broad international cooperation have not achieved the desired results. The efforts of League of Nations, and its successor, the United Nations, only show how worst it could have been in a world devoid of treatises, where human nature was allowed to express itself. Under Bush doctrine, the U.S attempted to export democracy, and forcibly too to some nations in a belief that it would guarantee peace but the Islamic nations proved resistant. On their own, they tried exporting Islamic models and often forcefully try to win followers so as to establish theocracy, which unfortunately yielded more violence. Hence this inherent conflict between existing political systems is the bane of global peace. Democratic Approach that has gained wider acceptability is at odds with Islamic law and communist thinking. Therefore, effecting peace through any of these would mean forcing people into compliance. There is therefore a need to create a mould that will tolerate these differences and establish a common ground from the best of the options to ensure global peace. It Kantâ€™s categorical imperative simply born out of reason, on which the foundation of his perpetual peace was laid, is taken as the holy write to guide all religions and cultures involved, this common ground will sure become a reality.
OTHER ATTEMPTS ON GLOBAL PEACE.
In the history of political thought, Kantâ€™s treatise on peace is not unique. It is part of a long tradition of works attempting to answer the question of how war, the scourge of humanity could be ended. It is probably safe to say that the act of preferring solution to the constant crises that envelop the human race has always been part of human interaction and social development. Every society has created various means of regulating disputes, among its own members and between it and other societies. Various would-be world conquerors have promised that their rule would enforce global peace. Unfortunately, no empire has ever extended its authority over the entire world, and this makes it absurd to talk of universal peace. Typical example of such like Roman Empire recorded incidents like Jewish Revolt, British Raji etc. The Islamic expansion in Africa was fiercely resisted by many less organised states like the Igbo and Yoruba in Southern Nigeria. Even the British Empire had its own form of resistance from their colonies. These incidences are quite different from what Iran, North Korea and others today pose to United
States. Therefore, the suitability of imperial peace has been an issue of serious debate. Imperial peace is transient because no empire has lasted forever. It has always stood on forces pulling it to several sides with it striving to maintain equilibrium. The imperial peace therefore lasts as long as another empire has not risen. In the same vein, several religions have also prophesied how their divinity would ensure perpetual peace. Unfortunately, the fact that religion thrives on emotion and is hardly acceptable everywhere ensures that most conflicts in the world have generated from this zone. In fact, whenever there is no clear distinction between religion and politics, the result has been unfortunate. Hence, many have argued that the peace religions offer is more of spiritual than physical. The idea of peace formulated as theories have also occupied several philosophers, poets, political scientists, among others. As early as 1313 A.D, an Italian poett, Dante Alighieri wrote De Monarchia, a political treatise promoting the idea of a universal emperor in the temporal sphere (as distinct from the pope in the spiritual realm), who would use his power to create conditions of peace. Four centuries later, Gottfried Leibniz, in his work Corpus Iuris Gentium (1693) considered this same possibility although not in detail. In 1773, Frenchman, Charles Castel advocated for an international organisation responsible for maintaining world peace. He proposed that Europeâ€™s royals yield some of their sovereign rights to a federal body charged with safeguarding their interests. Next was Abbe Charles-Irenee Castel de Sainte-Pierre (16581743), who studied both the theory and practice of politics and was particularly influenced by Plato, Bodin Machiavelli, and Grotius etc. In his Paix Perpetualle (1680) which was later expanded to a two-volume edition in 1714 was targeted at reaching an everlasting peace in Europe. Initially, he wanted to include all the nations of the world but later limited his confederation to Europe to make it possible and easier. He went a step beyond Thomas Hobbes who said that the protection and benefit of individuals lies in unity in the states to say that to safeguard the peace between nations, there must be a unifying federation. There must be laws founded on justice, equality and reciprocity. He used the confederation of German and Helvetian states, and the united provinces of Netherlands to demonstrate the practical advantages of such union. Another fascinating individual and a French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau produced unorthodox ideas that raised flurry of
interests in the 18th century. His republican sentiments for liberty, equality and brotherhood eventually led to French Revolution. He favoured ‘elective aristocracy’ not hereditary but republican. His work about a federation to establish lasting peace was actually a summary and critique of the plan devised by Abbe de Sainte-Pierre. He still suggested a federal form of government to unite all states in the manner seen in the Germanic Body, the Helvetic League, the ancients and the Greek Amphicytons, Latin Feriae and the City League of the Gauls. In the federation, every important power must be a member, the laws they legislate must be binding; a coercive force must be capable of compelling every state to obey the common resolve, and no member may be allowed to withdraw. He proposed five articles:The first established a permanent alliance with a congress so that all conflicts may be settled and terminated by arbitration or judicial pronouncement. The second article determines which nations shall have a vote, how the presidency shall pass from one to another, and how contribution quotas shall be raised to provide for common expenses. In the third article, you read that existing boundaries shall be permanent, which discourages further territorial expansionism. There are specifications on how violators shall be banned and forced to comply by means of the arms of all the confederates in the fourth article. And finally, the fifth article recommends a majority vote at the start, but three-quarters after five years, and unanimity, should there be need to change the articles. All these articles will enable them to make collective conquests, protect themselves from aggression, weaken a too powerful neigbour, and maintain rights against attacks, among others. In another light, Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) proposed that disarmament, arbitration and the renunciation of colonies would produce perpetual peace. He merely relied on Kant’s preliminary articles but on none of his three main points. Contrary to the modern theorists, he relied on public opinion, even against the absolute monarchy as existed in places like Sweden. A graduate of Oxford University, Bentham’s essay, ‘A Plan for a Universal and Perpetual Peace’, published after his death in the Principles of International Law has two main propositions – to reduce military forces in Europe and to emancipate colonies. He laid emphasis on the importance of peace proposal, even as he observed that the world did not seem yet ready for it. He solicited for the prayers of Christians, and for the welfare of all civilized nations. He had three goals- simplicity of government, national frugality and peace. Although Bentham’s plan is quite sketchy, and obviously not comprehensive, he did show the usefulness of disarmament and the dangers of colonialism and secrecy. He believed in the power of public opinion and also how effectively it
was sequelled in his time. Unlike Saint-Pierre and Rousseau, he did not really present the executive and legislative powers for a federal system; rather, he established the principles of an international judiciary and open public opinion on international affairs. His position has since attracted several followers. Not too long after, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels envisioned world peace through a classless world order. In a co-authored work, The Communist Manifesto, in 1848, they denounced the activities of the rich whom they accused of unbridled capitalism. These bourgeoisies, as they called them, exploit the working class whom they called the proletariats. They encouraged revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisies and create a class of equality. All these approaches and more have come and gone, but to date, none have actually led to universal peace. Though peace is more of a process and never a destination, these theories ought to lead man to walk deeper in that direction of peace.
KANT’S PERPETUAL PEACE IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Kant’s prognosis is certainly not a utopian venture. That is, according to Thomas Moore’s elaboration in his work Utopia (1516), a treatise that compares an existing condition with an imaginary alternative in which the commentator finds himself without being able to explain what path was necessary to arrive there. Kant’s peace treatise is of a different order. Rather than ‘entering’ the condition of perpetual peace, it considers the step necessary to reach the goal. Hence in contrast to a widely held interpretation, Kant’s work is a political guide rather than the sketch of a utopia. In some ways, Kant’s essay resembles, yet differs significantly from modern democratic peace theories. He speaks of a republican (republikanisch), not democratic states which he said have representative government, in which the legislature is separated from the executive. He did not discuss universal suffrage, which is vital to modern democracy and quite important to some modern theorist; though his commentators dispute whether it is implied by his language. Most importantly, he does not regard republican governments as sufficient by themselves to produce peace; freedom of emigration (hospitality) and a league of nations, which are all necessary to consciously enact his six-point programme. Unlike some modern theorists, Kant claimed not that republics will be at peace
only with each other, but are more pacific than other forms of government in general. As earlier stated, the European Union (EU), which is an international organization of independent states, was formed to promote international peace and security in verisimilitude to Kant’s road map to peace. The United Nations (UN), formed in 1945 for the same purpose, on the other hand becomes to a large extent, a global attempt to seek in Kantian proposition, albeit not directly, a perpetual peace. UN replaced the League of Nations formed in 1920, under the wisdom of Woodrow Wilson, which was powerless as United States never joined it until it was dissolved in 1946. The birth of UN could be said to be borne out of the old idea that a confederation of peaceable princes could produce a perpetual peace. However, UN is more or less structured to fit a mould by Clarence Streit, in his work, Union Now (1938), where he described a confederation as a union of democratic states modelled after the Constitution of the United States. He argued with Kant that trade and the peaceful ways of democracy would keep this union perpetual, and counted on the joint efforts of the union to deter war. Hence, UN is largely a universal state but with a slight deviation from Kant’s confederation, although the differences just as the similarities might not have been envisaged by the founders. This discrepancy is largely responsible for the resurgence of spoilers from Asia, Middle East and Africa, and many others that feel short-changed in the whole arrangement. This may account for why some of the countries here still believe progress and development is determined by the level of opposition mounted against the West. Kant’s model of peace seeks to downplay the old world order of centralized system of government that is hierarchical in nature to a horizontal structure that is to a certain extent obtainable in EU. The Kant’s system would hence allow the old top-down system to be flattened into a more open model. Another important feature that would guarantee Kant’s articles will present a system that is unified and also actually decentralized. In this, every government will have the power to influence the direction of the unifying body. This is a semblance of what is today regarded as a process model, which according to Rifkin, “a new generation of political scientists and policy analysts favoured as a process approach to governance that would replace the old closed hierarchical model with a new open-systems model” (The European Dream). Applying Kantian proposition to a global peace would mean that effective governance is less a matter of imposition of predetermined decisions by the super powers on passive recipients at the bottom. Kant would require
in his confederation, a decision-making body that would engage all actors- government, business, and civil society players in an ongoing process of deliberation, negotiation, compromise and consciousness with radical suggestion that the best decisions are the ones reached democratically by everyone affected. Decentralization may not have been considered the ideal and thus may have been lying dormant, but the advent of Information Technology has unleashed it as a necessity by knocking down traditional walls and borders, and knitting the world together. The application of the six preliminary articles and the three definitive articles of Kant to the modus operandi of the UN will go a long way in ensuring that UN establishes a political atmosphere based truly on inclusivity- that is honouring everyone’s individual dream equally. No state, whether the impoverished Afghanistan, the crises-ridden Nigeria or the troubled Sudan, among others will come under unnecessary subjugation and dominion or feel so. When all states are made to have stake in the world body, they will feel obliged by its principles. The observation of this may have informed the reason the incumbent American president would emphasize UN more often instead of raising America above these unifying body. That would definitely account for why his predecessor had his foreign policy heavily criticized. The present economic crisis and common threat of terrorism must have also highlighted the need for big powers to rally their strength behind the UN in a common fight. If judiciously followed, Kant’s proposition is capable of restoring the world to the path of peace, albeit not without difficulties.
6.0 EVALUATION OF KANT’S OPINION IN RELATION TO GLOBAL PEACE Although Kant’s notion of confederation of states is not utopian, its realization would certainly not be an easy ride. Even if represented in the UN, it would still not guarantee the requisite peace that could stretch perpetually. In his proposition, Kant only gave room for states that are republican which is more or less democratic in stature. Ideal democratic states may be haven but majority of the countries practicing it especially in Africa, Asia and even parts of Europe and America are merely experimenting.
These people are either oblivious of the way democracy should work or have refused to sacrifice their monarchic or theocratic tendencies for the proper practice of democracy. If all were to become equals and perhaps practice rotational presidency, a sit-tight-obsessed president from Africa may refuse to relinquish power when it becomes obvious he has become in charge of the mercenaries of the body. Also many Islamic states would believe in the system with a pinch of salt, and simply take it as one of the instruments of domination by the West. Although they may become members but they may stay aloof and view everything with suspicion. The issue of each state having equal rights is also not tenable due to economic and socio-political advantage. For instance, the five major contributors to UN, namely America, Russia, Britain, China and France may not see reasons why others especially those that barely contribute to the UN to dictate how things should be done in the organization. And the logic is simple; he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Hence, there must be the presence of super powers that may not be effectively accommodated in the decentralized confederation of Kant. The rich countries will want to have voting rights in the confederation that will be proportionate to the contribution of each member state to the budget of the general body. Sometimes, this comes with threat to cut support, withdraw from the pact, or starve the association of funds thereby rendering it inefficient. In the case of UN, this is very manifest where the big five countries often go about their foreign policies in defiance of UN’s directive as America did in Vietnam war, and so on. This inadvertently weakens the union and makes it ineffective. There is hence need for a harmonization in a way that will guarantee peace. From this problem flows the issue of disarmament. Countries like Iran and North Korea may find it difficult to comply with arms control of the organization. Should these two surrender, others have the potential of emerging, that will see it as subverting their sovereignty to tell them the kind of weapon to have or not. Even if it becomes possible to have equality among states and none is seen as ‘big brother’ the world could slip into anarchy and tyranny. Some countries that are insincere may usurp the power of the union and gain undue advantage of others. Human nature is intrinsically egoistic and self-seeking. These can play out when there are no countries others can look up to as ‘senior’ brothers. In so far as these brothers by the enormity of their wealth and stability help the poorer nations, nature demands that those at the receiving end hold them in high esteem. It is now left for the unifying body to make sure these bigwigs do not exploit the privileges they enjoy. Although Kant’s idea of categorical imperative may act as
panacea here but it is still a matter of conscience and the enforcement may not really be easy. When the nations are eventually unified, there could be degeneration of moral boundaries. There will be further intensification of over homogenization of cultures and values. This could lead to identity loss and the victims on realizing this may become hostile. There should hence be emphasis on acculturation whereby individuals will be a hybrid of the cultures they meet.
Although many literatures that emanated from Kant’s treatise on peace failed to emphasize the rule of law which is a central feature of his work, Kant consistently remarked that legal interactions should be what actually take place between states. And despite the admiration of EU, Europe still focuses on civil and transnational wars, from Sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia to South East Asia. More than two centuries after the publication of Perpetual Peace, events have both proved Kant correct and mistaken. Correct in his expectation that interstate wars would disappear with the expansion of commercialism and democratisation of political systems; and mistaken that this disappearance would be identical to the foundation of eternal peace. Kant will be too much a realist to even follow his guidelines. However, although Europe’s political history in decades after the second world war – from slow expansion of European Union to the end of EastWest confrontation – could be understood as the step-by-step realization of Kant’s dream, it would be bogus to view Kant’s federation of states as purely and solely the model for organizations of either Europe or United Nations. We must however, agree that the European balance of power is in the background of Kant’s consideration. In all, if Kant’s conception of reciprocity of peace that ensures security and balance of power, in line with his articles, are applied to a common body, strictly speaking, the world will be better for it in the achievement of peace that is beyond mere absence of war. And lest we forget, peace is not a destination but a process. We can never arrive at the endpoint, but surely we will be on accelerated march, covering a whole long distance to peace.
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Although the German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant's idea of Perpetual Peace is over 215 years old, it is still relevant and can offer ways alli...
Published on Dec 10, 2011
Although the German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant's idea of Perpetual Peace is over 215 years old, it is still relevant and can offer ways alli...