In fact, Humanity is shown to be dragged to this inevitable and insurmountable truth kicking and screaming, a truth which Kant refers to as Fate and Providence thereby uniting both Hellenic and Christian world-views on the final cause of all creation. In other words, it is only at the final stage in the process of enlightenment that Humanity is capable of achieving a state of peace that is perpetual and not merely a temporary cessation of war.
Patrick Hanafin. In particular the Article critiques the practice at the time of the appropriation of states through royal marriages and alliances and the concomitant treatment of moral persons which for Kant included both states and certain individuals as mere things or objects of domination. This independent self that is the state should be free from domination by other states just as individual moral persons should be free from domination by third parties. Such an independent state is founded on the social contract freely entered into by the moral persons who make up the state.
While states may be de jure independent, due to size, wealth and vulnerability this may not reflect the de facto reality.
In an unequal world of states, domination over poorer and less powerful states continues as does domination over individuals. Not all states are free to decide their future constrained as they are by the cosmopolitan spectre of international capital and global financial markets as well as the enormous disparity between citizens and states in terms of access to wealth and the good life.
At best we live in a time of an endlessly repeatable cycle of conflict and cessation of hostilities which is kept at bay for what passes for a peaceful alliance of world states, whether that be the United Nations or the European Union. The reality is that we continue to await a true Pacific Federation foedus pacificum and have instead a system of conflict management or peacekeeping which merely illuminates the reality of ongoing violence and domination rather than addresses it.
How then might we strive for a new thinking of the foedus which might allow for a more equal if not immediately pacific world? Our task would be to rethink critically not only the concept of the moral person on which the Kantian notion of the republic is based but also the concept of the polis and the foedus which emerge from this thinking. In other words what would a polis uncoupled from the bounds of territory look like and how might it allow us to continue the search for a cosmopolitical living together? Kant uses an arboreal metaphor in his fixing of the idea of the sovereign republic in Preliminary Article Two.
This rooting also fixes the individuals of such states in their place, as subjects and citizens of a particular nation. The rooted subject of the republic is constrained by the laws of citizenship. Such a fixing also constitutes an exclusion as for Kant the scope of who might be considered a moral person for the purposes of republican citizenship is a very narrow one. He included in this group women, children, and servants without property, as well as foreigners, strangers and visitors.
In developing an enlarged model of inclusive citizenship we must first attain freedom from domination and exclusion at the local level of the state before we can even contemplate greater global equality. Such local struggles in the twenty-first century are part of a transnational web of actors acting in relation with each other to achieve greater global freedom.
Even though Kant saw the world as a common possession of mankind, this common possession of the world is limited by the fact of the institution of private property. Citizenship grounded in property in the soil sees the earth as appropriable and confined to the state based on territory which has to be defended. However this grounded commonality of the state is founded on exclusions based on difference from the dominant commonality. What is necessary then is a new thinking of cosmopolitics based not on identity rooted in the soil of the nation but on singularities without identity.
This creates a model of community not as institutionalized political space but as the space of appearance between two or more unique individuals. This concept for Kant was not a broad one excluding as it did all but property-owning males. The political philosopher Roberto Esposito has argued for the deactivation of dispositifs such as that of the person in favour of the expansion of the space of the common. For him, the notion of the person inherited from Roman law and Christian theology constitutes a mode of disembodying the individual, of devaluing the material in favour of the abstract.
This valorization of an abstract rational subject over the mere life of actually existing individuals leads to the denigration of the flesh in favour of abstract reason. Individual lives are devalued in favour of a politics which rules over these lives. For Esposito the praxis of material singularities coming together to act in common provides an example of the power of a collective being in common of material lives.
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This is a politics of life not a politics over life [xi] which provides a means of countering the dispositif of the person and the biopolitical governance and domination of lives through law. It looks to an impersonal force which dissolves the enforced distinction between the homogeneous non-differentiated subject of power and the flesh of individual lives, and reveals instead singularity in difference.
This overcoming of the separation between bare life and Life is for Esposito the task of an affirmative biopolitics which is a continuous task, a work in progress, a becoming, and a continual beginning. In such a state of being in common differently can the ongoing project of social and political peace be addressed in a more productive fashion. We must imagine the polis not as the imposition of a bordered territorial unit and of an abstract form of subjectivity and citizenship but as the coming together of unique individuals.
The polis shall be built on the perpetual collective acts of singular beings in the name of yet unthought worlds and communities in a spirit of freedom and respect for difference. Louis Kriesberg. Conflicts are inevitable in social life; more than that, in many circumstances they are beneficial for many people. Potential and actual conflicts among countries may seem to necessitate every country having a standing army, that is, a permanent, trained military force prepared at all times to fight a war.
The near universality of armed forces among the countries of the world might seem to prove the point.
REVIEW—Elisabeth Ellis’ Kant’s Politics: Provisional Theory for an Uncertain World
Interestingly, the current fashion is to refer to military forces as defense forces, and for each country to claim its military exists in order to prevent wars rather than to wage them. Some people argue that to sustain peace a country must prepare for war. They point to the harsh reality that often other countries and leaders are aggressive and would use force to impose their will. Domestically as well, military forces are seen by many as the ultimate way to sustain domestic tranquility. It also must be recognized that having a standing army has intrinsic benefits and therefore other reasons to exist, aside from its war-fighting capabilities or defensive value.
It provides jobs for people serving in the army and producing the goods and services for the military forces. It has symbolic significance, affirming the sovereignty of an independent state.
Obviously, however, there also are dangers arising from a world characterized by many countries possessing standing armies. The dangers vary with the size, manner of control, equipment, and purposes of the armed forces. Such variations are important since some kinds of military forces reasonably prompt the concerns that people in many countries have about the dangers as well as the possible benefits of maintaining standing armies. One set of concerns is that the leaders of such forces may develop a vested interest in exaggerating, even provoking, the threat of foreign enemies, thereby increasing their status and power.
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Leaders of military forces also may tend to stress the necessity of having ever growing budgets to keep ahead of foreign rivals. Furthermore, in many countries members of the public may fear that the military leaders, on their own or in collusion with civilian leaders silence would-be critics and opponents of their dominance.
Another set of dangers arise from the presence of armed forces within the world of states. As each state prepares to defend itself, it generally develops equipment and strategies to defeat potential enemies.
Redefining Kant's Legacy
Leaders of each country, looking at another country, can view their preparations as a threat against which they must prepare themselves. This constitutes a security dilemma that can drive arms races and fuel tragic misunderstandings. Indeed there is considerable evidence of the dangers of arms races. Even in the best of circumstances, the existence of large military forces may drain human and material resources from other worthy purposes, including developing and sustaining alternatives to conducting conflicts violently.
Their very existence and readiness to be deployed may result in their application to problems for which they are poorly suited. This includes in some countries their use to suppress domestic disorders and to impose domination by members of a small self-serving regime. Despite such concerns and evidence, abolishing military forces of all countries may reasonably appear to be a rash, indeed, impossible and undesired solution. The people of the world need to consider ways to manage the risks of military forces while they try to maximize effective ways to wage conflicts more constructively and with less cost and risk than by relying on standing armies.
Indeed, agreed-upon measures to manage military forces helped mitigate the risks of war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. These measures included arms limitation treaties, confidence-building measures, hot lines for communication in crises, and non-offensive defense strategies.
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Although such measures to lessen the risks of military forces can be a step toward totally abolishing standing armies, by themselves they would not go far down that path. It is necessary to reduce the presumed need to have military forces. That need can be reduced in three kinds of ways: first, by creating other ways to provide the intrinsic benefits of having standing armies, second by reducing the incidence and severity of international and domestic conflicts, and third, by enhancing non-military ways of conducting and settling conflicts.
A wide variety of ways already exist that provide some of the intrinsic benefits that maintaining military forces provide, and they could be greatly expanded. These alternative ways include domestic police forces, whose status and resources might well be enhanced in most countries. International programs of aid for military equipment and training could be better spent on aiding non-military police and legal personnel.
Another way is to expand the governmental and nongovernmental programs for people to serve in other countries to aid in economic development, improve health, or provide other services.