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Kant and the illusion of collective security.

Observing the destructive impact of the seventeenth century European wars of religion, Thomas Hobbes concluded that man by himself is incapable of preserving peace and order. He assumed that peace could only be established if a strong monopoly of violence was created in the hands of a single sovereign. In essence, his idea was simple: If man is aggressive by nature, no peace is possible without an ultimate authority - the Leviathan - capable of enforcing order.

Hobbes's conclusion has hardly been challenged by other political philosophers. Even Locke, who proposed a moderate version of government to create domestic peace, agreed with Hobbes in two basic assumptions: first, no civil society can be built without a supreme authority, tribunals to render verdicts and police authorized to enforce such verdicts; second, given the existence of sovereign states, the process of centralization of power cannot be reproduced in the international sphere. States would never agree to relinquish their powers to an almighty, universal sovereign.

Supporting this philosophical analysis is the bloody record of political conflict since Hobbes's time: While domestic order and peace are possible, international war is seemingly inevitable. Yet even in the face of clearly justified pessimism about the possibility of interntional peace, one cannot avoid returning to the question of which instruments, if any, can eradicate war as an instrument of policy among nations.

In the eighteenth century, the Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant made the revolutionary argument that peace is possible even in the absence of an international authority. According to Kant, no universal Leviathan was necessary; rather, a large federation of committed states could promote and maintain international peace. Though appealing, Kant's federation project was never seen as feasible until the early years of the twentieth century.

Only in the wake of the First World War, which discredited the idea that peace can be preserved under a mere balance-of-power system, was it possible to contemplate the reform of political relations among states. There is a profound similarity between Kant's ideals and the international collective security systems created in the twentieth century. The League of Nations and its heir, the United Nations, were both based on the assumption that some kind of international organization must be created if war is to be avoided or at least limited.

Unlike Kant's project, however, contemporary collective security systems rely on the assumption that war can only be prevented if a coalition of states agrees to halt individual state aggression by force if necessary. This solution poses a serious problem: How effective and desirable is the achievement of international peace by force? As the end of the Cold War brings renewed hopes for realizing a U.N. mechanism for collective security, a discussion of this issue is crucial.

In this article, I attempt to demonstrate that the contemporary concept of collective security not only impedes the creation of a working international security system but also - and more importantly - contradicts the very ideal of international peace. To provide the reader with an analytical context for my discussion of collective security, I begin with an analysis of Kant's project of perpetual peace in comparison with other theories of collective security. I then outline the main features of collective security organizations and discuss their weaknesses. Relying on Kant's insights and reflecting on the lessons of the Gulf War, I conclude with the argument that the enforcement of peace, no matter how drastic the recent changes in the world order, remains a self-defeating goal.

Kant and the Problem of Peace

With the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, European sovereigns put an end to the wars of religion, making the use of force between states a political affair. Each state was recognized as an independent part of the nascent European order, endowed with a sovereign jus ad bellum, regardless of moral grounds. In this respect, the new system, later called the European balance of power, implied some progress; it eliminated the devastating Christian notion of just war" that demanded the destruction of religiously defined opponents. The establishment of European international law introduced the mutual recognition of states as adversaries within a common order in which war between nations - by virtue of their absolute sovereignty - was from the outset a bellum justum.(3)

In the eighteenth century, however, it became apparent to many philosophers that this ready acceptance of war stood as a stumbling block to the cultural and economic development of Europe. Thinkers such as Abbe Saint-Pierre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Jeremy Bentham attempted to devise various schemes to realize what they called, rather enthusiastically, an "everlasting" or "perpetual" peace. In this vein, the most celebrated work of that time was, undoubtedly, Kant's pamphlet, Perpetual Peace, published in Konigsberg in late 1795.(4)

Kant's work has been properly depicted as a subtle and balanced alternative to the optimistic perspective of Saint-Pierre and the pessimistic view of Rousseau about the problem of achieving international peace.(5) The core of Kant's argument was the question of the feasibility of a federation capable of enforcing peace, and the conditions necessary to create this federation.

In A Project for Perpetual Peace, Saint-Pierre suggested that only a permanent and strong federation could maintain the rule of law among nations.(6) He had envisioned a grand alliance of the Christian princes and kings of Europe through which they would renounce war, establish procedures for arbitrating disputes and maintain a common police force. According to Saint-Pierre, the European states should agree on four basic requirements:

1 . The states should create an executive body, the so-called Senate of Peace, composed of delegates from the 24 Christian states of Europe.

2. Each state must provide the revenue necessary to support an international army.

3. In case of a dispute between two states, the states in conflict must seek reconciliation through a mandatory mediation of the members of the grand alliance. In the event of failure, they must submit the controversy to the final arbitration of the Senate of Peace.

4. In the event that a state refuses to consent to the decision of the alliance or the Senate, an international army must be used to force the compliance.(7)

Saint-Pierre's project was indeed an attempt to create a sort of European government, independent of and superior to the individual states. In order to make the system work, each state would renounce the right to manage its international disputes and even abandon the maintenance of national armies.

As the reader may guess, the main problem with this project was the difficulty in persuading ambitious princes that they would benefit from the establishment of a sovereign federation. Saint-Pierre's response was rather naive: He assumed that the princes would agree to create the system upon becoming aware of "the immense advantages which a perfectly certain peace would bring to them and to their Royal Houses."(8) No prince, however, took Saint-Pierre's recommendations seriously.

Rousseau, who prepared an extract and summary of Saint-Pierre's project, considered the work to be an excellent theoretical approach to peace, but too unrealistic to be put into practice. Like Saint-Pierre, Rousseau regarded war as a major evil and as the main obstacle to the progress of political and social reforms in Europe. He also believed that a strong federation of European states was the only way to end international war. Yet in contrast to Saint-Pierre, Rousseau thought that war was simply too profitable for kings and princes to abandon so easily. Kings, he claimed, "are concerned with two objects alone: to extend their rule abroad or to make it more absolute at home."(9) Although the idea of a federation committed to maintaining peace seemed the best approach to eliminating war, Rousseau saw no real possibility that European states would submit to federal rule. He thus abandoned the problem as unsolvable.

When Kant undertook the task of writing his political essay on the problem of peace, he was mindful not only of Saint-Pierre's ideals, but also Rousseau's sober waming. Kant, however, took a much broader approach - going beyond the mere analysis of the instruments necessary for attaining international peace. Along with Hobbes, Kant accepted the pessimistic assumption that "the state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state; the natural state is one of war."(10) From this perspective, the state of peace can only be an artificial and conscious creation of men. This reasoning, in Kant's view, is valid for domestic as well as international peace. The fact that international peace does not exist in reality, Kant asserted, is not an argument for its impossibility. Rather, international peace is a necessary option dictated by the same moral imperative that led men to associate in a political community in order to overcome the unbearable state of civil war.

In outlining a plan for perpetual peace, Kant distinguished between necessary and sufficient conditions. Among the former, Kant proposed that an international order could only be created if three requirements were met: First, states freely restrict their right to make war or interfere in another's internal affairs through a treaty of mutual non-aggression; second, an effective and progressive dismantling of national armies is undertaken; and third, states renounce the right to wage punitive wars against other sovereign states.(11)

The preliminary articles of peace clearly indicate Kant's absolute rejection of any kind of war of aggression. Kant's departure from the Christian doctrine of bellum justum deserves special attention: He believed that the requirement of a justa causa to give moral justification to the use of force was particularly dangerous when applied to offensive wars. Kant believed that peace could not be attained until statesmen abandoned the idea of just wars that entitle a party to wage a punitive war against a wrongdoer.(12) In those cases, violence could reach such an extreme that an enduring peace settlement would become almost impossible. The wars of religion had proven to Europeans that "appeals to moral conscience would not only fail to help put an end to conflict, but would rather, despite an the participants acting in good faith, perpetuate and exacerbate it."(13)

In formulating his alternative to the bellum justum doctrine, Kant refused to accept the then-prevailing idea that legalizing all kinds of wars would facilitate the progress to peace.(14) His contention was directed particularly against Emerich de Vattel, the classic representative of eighteenth-century international law. According to Vattel, because war is an inescapable fact of political life, and because there is no international authority, each state remains invested with a sovereign jus ad bellum. For Vattel, the best international law can do is provide a specific set of rules to moderate and limit the use of force among nations; war must be transformed into a "guerre en forme" (formal war), conducted "independamment de la justice de la cause" (disregarding the justice of the cause).(15) Under this definition of war, states - by virtue of their mutual recognition as sovereign entities in a common political order - would agree to observe certain limits in the conduct and termination of hostilities.

Kant denounced this view as illusory, arguing that a peaceful and lawful international order can start only if nations agree to renounce any kind of war of aggression. The only wars Kant accepted as legal were defensive wars by voluntary national militia.(16) This is consistent with the idea that war, though abandoned in principle, could not be immediately eradicated from international relations. Until the long process of establishing perpetual peace was completed, war would have to be maintained as a legitimate defense.

In combination with the necessary conditions for perpetual peace, Kant proposed three "definitive" articles of peace, arguably his most important contribution to the philosophy of international law.(17) They were: first, the establishment of a republican constitution for all states; second, the constitution of a union of nations; and third, the creation of a cosmopolitan law, under which each individual becomes a citizen of the world. Despite the importance of the third article, this essay is limited to my analysis of the first and second, which are most directly related to the essential problems of collective security.(18)

By "republic," Kant meant a non-despotic form of government in which executive power is separated from legislative, and where the sovereign rules under a body of law to which the citizenry has consented. A republican constitution, in turn, is a juridical form of state based on three principles: the freedom of all members of society as men; the dependence of all upon a single common legislation as subjects; and the equality of all as citizens.(19) Kant relied heavily upon the idea that European wars were mainly motivated by the greed of governments and statesmen rather than that of peoples. His assumption was that "if the consent of the citizens is required in order to decide that war should be declared ... nothing is more natural than that they would be very cautious in commencing such a poor game, decreeing for themselves all the calamities of war."(20)

Like Saint-Pierre, Kant's idea may be criticized for being naive. More than once, history has shown that peoples can be as bellicose as their leaders, if not more so. The relationship between the republican principle and peace, however, is not mechanical. Rather, Kant envisioned a political order in which the citizenry (through public scrutiny of governmental action) would become increasingly aware of their government's real motives in going to war, as well as the sacrifices they would face were the nation to engage in hostilities. In this sense, the existence of a republican constitution is not a guarantee of peace per se; rather, it is only a form of government that renders less likely the initiation of offensive wars for the purpose of advancing the ruler's political ambitions.

The establishment of a federal system, the core of Kant's proposal, is the most controversial aspect of his project. For Kant, states - like individuals - must abandon the state of nature if they desire peaceful coexistence. A new order should then be based on a compact in which states agree to end all wars by proclaiming a foedum pacificum (league of peace). This league or union of nations, however, does not involve the creation of a single authority, as found in a civil constitution.(21) As Norberto Bobbio indicates, Kant did not propose a pactum subiectionis, in which the states would submit their rights to a common power, but rather a simple pactum societatis, a pact of collaboration among states.(22) In other words, the efficacy of the pact of peace does not hinge on the existence of a coercive power above individual states. For this reason, the alliance could be more properly descibed as a confederation of free and independent states, rather than a federal state.(23)

At the same time, Kant also rejected the idea of a league with executive bodies entitled to enforce peace by means of coercion against aggressor states. "This league," says Kant, "does not tend to any domination over the power of the state but only to the maintenance and security of the freedom of the state itself and of other states in the league with it, without there being any need for them to submit to civil laws and their compulsion, as men in state of nature must submit."(14) Kant foresaw that if the federation were to become so strong as to enforce peace against aggressor states, it could become a super-state, inevitably overriding the rights of its members.

Kant rejected the idea of such a Leviathan enforcing peace for three major reasons. First, he feared that enforcement of peace through a world-state or a federal union might lead to the establishment of a despotic peace. For Kant, even the temporary preservation of the state of war - the existence of independent states - "is rationally preferable to the amalgamation of states under one superior power, as this would be in one universal monarchy."(25) Second, since the enforcement of peace assumes that force can only be deterred by force, it would provide a rationale for future wars. This possibility contradicts Kant's preliminary articles of peace, in the sense that no reservation for future wars was included in his treaty of mutual non-aggression; he thus rejected the justification of a Wilsonian "war to end all wars." Third, the possibility of resorting to wars of common defense against an aggressor might lead to the restoration of the doctrine of bellum justum. This problem is not explicitly developed by Kant, but follows his arguments against the use of punitive wars in his new international order. Kant's project precludes such wars, regardless of whether they are waged by a single state, or by a coalition of states.

At this point, the skeptical question is inevitable: What, if anything, in Kant's project guarantees the maintenance of peace?

The strength of the alliance lies in its capacity to extend - among a greater number of states - the instruments of peaceful settlement of disputes, the principles of cosmopolitan law and the commitment to non-aggression. Only by free and non-coercive consensus, when mankind becomes aware of the benefits of the rational imperative of peace and respect for the law, does Kant think his federation will become universal and effective. In other words, because of Kant's refusal to guarantee peace through the use of force, there are no "teeth" in his alliance for the prevention of war. The guarantee, instead, rests on his moral doctrine, and more precisely, in his philosophy of history.

Peace is for Kant a moral duty which, as such, cannot be imposed.(26) As an imperative of the practical reason, the achievement of a peaceful coexistence is what Kant calls a "regulative idea" - a rational end of action that man must adopt as a maxim of behavior, independent of its possibility of realization.(27) This means that man must act as though perpetual peace were attainable and attempt to create the essential conditions for its attainment: a republican constitution in every state and a league of peace comprised of independent and free nations.

Further, Kant makes the historical argument that the human race has experienced constant progress toward the gradual development of reason and liberty." In his view, the pervasiveness of war and violence have been not only compatible with that development, but also the very source of its realization. There is a "hidden purpose" in nature, says Kant, "to produce harmony among men, against their will and indeed through their discord."(29) Simply put, Kant suggests that it is only through the growing antipathy to war that mankind will realize the necessity of an everlasting peace. This process will be long and uncertain, but must not be imposed.

Two centuries after Kant, mankind is probably more pessimistic about the likelihood of this final development of history. The following discussion of twentieth-century collective security systems indicates their mixed results in preserving the peace.

Concepts of Collective Security

Various projects of peace, based on philosophy and political theory and focusing on the idea of a federation or a confederation of powers, have been proposed since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Their common characteristic: None was ever implemented. Only on rare occasions did politicians and statesmen even seriously consider these projects. The inescapable reality of the international system in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the balance of power, in which each state was invested with an equal right to resort to war; any idea of an international organization for maintaining peace was regarded as utopian.

Early in the twentieth century, the outbreak of the First World War, the emergence of nationalism and the crisis of the capitalist systems all challenged conventional notions about the problem of war. Philosophers and statesmen alike became aware that some reforms were necessary in the international system. As usually happens in a deep crisis, strong pessimism was mixed with renewed optimism. "After 1914," E.H. Carr has said, "men's minds naturally fumbled their way back, in search of a new utopia."(30) The "new utopia," in Carr's terms, was the desire of Western statesman toward the end of the First World War to revive ideas about international peace offered by the earlier philosophers. This effort was championed by the U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson, who proposed that some method of international cooperation was needed to maintain international peace and prevent future wars. "Mere agreements," said Wilson:

... may not make peace secure; it will be absolutely necessary that force be created as a guarantor of the permanence of the settlement so much greater than the force of any nation now engaged or any alliance hitherto formed or projected that no nation, no probable combination of nations could face or withstand.(31)

In other words, the new model for peace must be "not a balance-of-power, but a community of power; not organized rivalries, but an organized common peace."(32) Collective security, as opposed to balance of power, became the first principle of the new order.

Wilson's concept of collective security was, however, poorly developed on theoretical grounds. His energies were directed toward its implementation in the League of Nations. Perhaps the most simple and all-encompassing definition of collective security was that given by Sir Alfred Zimmern as "the safety of all by all."(33) This implied a profound reform of the international legal system, upon which balance of power was based. On the one hand, only defensive wars - by individual states or coalitions - were admitted as legitimate wars under a collective security agreement; states would have to renounce the jus ad bellum they enjoyed under existing European international law. On the other, the creation of an international organization would be essential to setting up the international collaboration mechanisms to prevent wars and, eventually, suppress aggression.(34)

Three conditions are essential for this type of system. First, states must renounce the possibility of resorting to coercive actions in absence of international authorization. Except in the case of aggression, in which self-defense must be admitted, states must submit their conflicts to the peaceful settlement of disputes provided by the international organization. The use of coercive instruments, in turn, can only be approved by the international authority.

Second, and in clear opposition to the idea of balance of power, the idea of collective security demands that states have no alliances with or against other powers. Collective security requires the defense of all against all. The "abstractness" of the enemy, as Inis Claude notes, "is a leading characteristic of collective security."(35)

The third condition is structural. Under a collective security system, it is crucial to define the mechanisms by which a multinational coalition can be mobilized in case of aggression. Such a coalition force is necessary to serve as a real deterrent to any aggressor. This implies, in turn, that there is some international executive body, capable of commanding support from the states, that will organize and direct the international force.

Wilson's version of collective security shares some traits with the Kantian project: the commitment of states to maintaining peace on behalf of the global community, the creation of an international law above both domestic law and the national interests of the states and the preservation of sovereign states in a confederated international organization. Both ideas also share the assumption that there is a strong link between peace and the existence of governments based on popular consent. Wilson, like Kant, believed that world peace could only be established through an alliance of democratically governed nations.

Nonetheless, an important difference separates the two projects. Unlike Kant's project, but perhaps similar to Saint-Pierre's ideal, Wilson's concept of collective security assumes that no peace is possible if the union of states does not have an effective system of collaboration for the enforcement of peace. In this respect, the Wilsonian project addresses the problem that Kant left unsolved: the effective prevention of wars of aggression up to the uncertain moment when states freely abandon that instrument. This remedy, as the following discussion will show, also created new problems.

The League of Nations and the United Nations

as Collective Security Systems

The idea that balance of power is a natural system for preserving peace among nations contains at least a partial truth. In theory, a balance-of-power system requires only armies and diplomacy, the perennial instruments of foreign policy. In contrast, a collective security system must be created, and requires an international organization capable of organizing cooperation among the states for the maintenance of peace.

The first effort to establish such a system was made after the First World War, with the creation of the League of Nations. As an international organization, the League was neither a superstate nor a simple alliance of the victorious powers. It was, instead, an "instrument of co-operation," open to any state, under an organizational model similar to a confederation of states.(36) The commitment to international peace beyond the national interest of the states was estabhshed in the Covenant of the League by declaring that "any war or threat of war, whether immediately affecting any of the members of the League or not, is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League" (Article 11).

Even imperfectly, the League Covenant provided some of the instruments for the irnplementation of a collective security system. One essential state o bligation was "to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all members of the League" (Article 10). In this sense, if not overtly stated, the new legal order assumed the prohibition of aggression and the obligation of assistance to the victims of aggression.(37) But the prohibition of war was not absolute. According to Article 12, in case of conflict, states should submit the matter to arbitration, judicial settlement or inquiry by the Council of the League - its executive decision-making body. If no solution were achieved after three months, however, a literal interpretation of the article allowed the disputants to resort to force.

The League was considered an international instrument open to any state regardless of the nature and ideology of its government. Wilson likely intended, however, to refuse admission to authoritarian and non-democratic regimes. The reference in Article 1 to any fully "self-governing" state becoming a member of the League was interpreted to support such exclusions by many commentators, even though in practice it was understood as a requirement of sovereignty, not of democracy.(38)

The core of the system created by the Covenant was Article 16. According to this provision, if any League member or non-member-state were to resort to war in violation of the sections of peaceful settlement of disputes (Articles 12,13 and 15), its actions should be regarded ipso facto as an act of war against all members of the League. The collective sanctions entailed in responding to such aggression could range from economic blockade to military actions ordered by the Council of the League. No provision was made, however, to determine how the states would collaborate to give effect to these sanctions.

The gap between this system and Wilson's concept of collective security emerged in relation to the problem of the enforcement of collective security measures. In contrast to Wilson's ideal, the League had no "teeth" to enforce peace: There was no positive obligation of states to participate in military sanctions. Two reasons may explain this omission: first, the uncertainty about what technical requirements were necessary to enforce the obligation; second, and more importantly, the reservations among the states concerning the desirability of that task.39the political leaders who created the League of Nations were perfectly aware that an effective mechanism of collective security would imply a dramatic change of the interstate system in which they were involved.

If the main purpose of the League of Nations was the prevention of another international war, the system was a complete failure. The Japanese and Italian aggressions of the 1930s were neither prevented nor resolved by the League; the outbreak of the Second World War was just the official announcement of its demise. Nonetheless, the assumption that international peace can be achieved only through a system of collective security was never questioned.

After the Second World War, the major powers reached a consensus to create a new international organization - the United Nations - for the maintenance of peace. This time, however, their approach was more pragmatic than in the era of the League of Nations. Article 2 of the U.N. Charter provides an absolute prohibition against states resorting to war as an instrument for resolving international conflicts. International disputes are to be settled by peaceful means, such that peace and security are not endangered. Like the League Covenant, the U.N. Charter has provisions for disarmament and peaceful change (Article 11) and peaceful settlement of disputes (Article 14).

The right of self-defense in case of aggression was also recognized, but in more circumscribed terms than in the League Covenant. According to Article 51, the "inherent" right of individual or collective self-defense can always be used in case of armed attack, but measures taken must be immediately reported to the U.N. Security Council. As the key organ of collective security, the Security Council has the authority to decide the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.

In further contrast to the Council of the League, the Security Council's functions are more specific. Only the Security Council has the authority to determine "the existence of any threat to peace, breach of peace, or act of aggression" (Article 39). Similarly, the Security Council has the power to order U.N. members to engage in non-military sanctions and deploy military forces (Articles 39 to 50).

The United Nations, however, does not fully achieve the contemporary ideal of collective security. First, the U.N. Charter requires states to supply military contingents in the event that the Security Council decides to undertake coercive measures against an aggressor. Second, the Security Council needs the unanimous consent of its five permanent members - the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China and France - to reach a decision; it cannot take collective security measures in case of aggression perpetrated by any one of them.

The history of the United Nations demonstrates that the organization has had profound problems in implementing a new collective security system. Global rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union was the major - although not the sole - factor in the United Nations' impotence as a guarantor of international collective security. Washington's and Moscow's tendencies to exploit international conflicts usually preempted the possibility of reaching a Security Council consensus in case of aggression, especially if it was the result of direct superpower military involvement. The emergence of the opposing defensive NATO and Warsaw Pact alliances, outside the U.N. framework, confirmed the failure of the system.

The Critique of Collective Security

Both the League and the United Nations have often lacked the resources and political will necessary to halt states that have continued to use war as a tool of statecraft. The persistent failure of good intentions to preserve the peace has led to harsh attacks against the theory of collective security - the strongest from those thinkers known, since Machiavelli, as political realists. For the realist, the failure of the League of Nations and the United Nations cannot be explained simply in terms of institutional imperfections or an unfavorable, bipolar international context. According to the realist critic, international politics is the arena of power politics par excellence. In contrast to domestic politics, the international order of power has always been both anarchical and oligarchical: the former, because of the absence of a monopoly of legitimate violence; the latter, because without civil society rights depend largely on might.(40)

In the realist perspective, no matter what efforts were made to mitigate the absence of a common authority the state would always remain legibus-solutus (free from the law), to undertake the use of force as a means of its international policy. In the anarchical order of power, therefore, what matters is the national interest. For realist critics, general principles, ideologies or ethical motivations cannot explain state actions. As Hans Morgenthau plainly stated, "realism imposes the judgment that statesmen think and act in terms of interest defined as power."(41) Terms like "global interest" or "international community" are therefore only rational constructions without any reference in the real world. As long as the nation-state persists as the basic unit of international relations, realist thinkers assume that a balance-of-power system is the only possible and desirable option for deterring war. According to Aron, international peace "could be safeguarded only, and always temporarily, by the balance of rival powers or the victory of the strongest and the establishment of an empire."(42)

Ultimately, realism denies not only the feasibility of collective security, but also its legal foundations. In this view, the condemnation of wars of aggression is perceived as a moral standard disconnected from reality. Since there is no clear-cut definition of what is an act of aggression, it would be unfair - and also unrealistic - to condemn only the state that took the "initiative."(43) Even if not always overtly stated, the realist paradigm often supports the classic international law principle in which all wars were equally legitimate. The most explicit representative of this position was the German jurist Carl Schmitt, who argued that international law must devote all efforts to the moderation, not the eradication, of war.(44)

In this vein, Julien Freund, an eminent disciple of Schmitt, tries to imagine the prospect of a world in which it would be possible to enforce peace collectively. According to Freund, if the main powers of the world could reach a consensus about the maintenance of peace, the most probable outcome would be not the prevention of wars, but the illegitimacy of any war not justified in terms of the values accepted by the holders of the international order.(45) In other words, collective security could be implemented but it does not mean that war would be eradicated or a just international order established. Instead, the creation of an international police force might lead to "the most absolute universal dictatorship."(46) For Freund, as for Schmitt, war lies more in the nature of politics than in the conditions of a multistate system. Even if the nation-state were eliminated, war would remain unless a strong and universal dictatorship were constituted to impose peace by force. For this reason, the ideal of an international army for the maintenance of peace - much like a world-state - could be a despotic reality in which politics would become a matter of policing.

On the other extreme, world federalists - the "idealist" camp - have criticized collective security as a poor attempt to attain the desirable goal of a world-state. Interestingly enough, the partisans of world federalism start from the same theoretical point as the realists: Peace and order can only be established through the creation of a centralized monopoly of legitimate violence. The establishment of a common police force, judicial system and even an international legislature are essential features of world federalism theory. The world federalist assumes that the repressive apparatus of the state is what keeps the order within a political community. Therefore, a similar system should be implemented in the international context to avoid war.

Federalist thinkers have relied on the analogy of the federal model of state as a solution to be reproduced in the international context. To the crucial problem of how such a model of a worldstate could be implemented, they have given little more than vague responses. The most common proposal is that the officials of the world-state should be, somehow, appointed by peoples and not by governments.(47) In this paradigm, the creation of a direct and universal democracy should be the legitimate goal of the international order. Taking for granted the goal of a worldstate as desirable, the federalists - in contrast to the realists - have assumed that its realization is also possible.

The "Hobbesian Trap"

Realism and idealism are often presented as polar opposites in international politics, yet both are products of the same philosophy. Realists and federalists alike have fallen into what may be termed as the "Hobbesian Trap," the belief that a monopoly of violence is the necessary and sufficient condition for peace and order within a given community. Since the basic argument of both theories is the actual difference between domestic order and international anarchy, one must look at how peace could be established and preserved in internal politics in order to evaluate the legitimacy of a collective security system.

The centralization of power and the use of legitimate violence in the hands of a single authority has been a major trait in the process of state-building. Only through the monopoly of violence and the gradual creation of national armies and police forces could the modern state establish order and stop wars waged by private armies. In this respect, Hobbes was right: No sword in the hands of a Leviathan, no peace.

Even if the realists are correct in their assumption that the existence of a superior and unchallenged force is essential for imposing peace in the absence of order, they do not provide a satisfactory answer to the issue of how order is maintained; the threat of force is only a partial explanation. Individuals obey law primarily to the extent to which the legal order reflects the values accepted by their community. When the foundations of the legal order are undergoing profound changes, the gap between the actual behavior of individuals and the values of the new system tends to increase; governments will be then more likely to use the threat of force in order to obtain compliance. Still the fate of any legal order - no matter how conservative or revolutionary - depends in the long run on being freely accepted by those who must live under it.

The legitimacy of the legal order - and not only the coercive enforcement of the law - explains the maintenance of peace within a given community. As the contemporary example of the fall of the Soviet bloc demonstrates, even the strongest dictatorships were doomed to collapse when they failed to keep popular support.

The conditions of international order are profoundly analogous to those of domestic order. The main function of international law is to reflect the common values and principles accepted by the international community in a given historical period. These principles may require time to be fully implemented. The proscription of war as a means of international policy, the pacific settlement of disputes, and even the commitment to an international organization for the improvement of the world order, cannot be realized until states and their leaders freely accept the mutual benefits of the maintenance of peace.

The actual impossibility of implementing these principles should not be cause either to renounce the effort or desperately try to change reality. The realists propose the former solution, the world federalists the latter. Both rely on force as a necessary condition for keeping the peace in the international context: The realists leave the threat of coercion in the hands of each state, while the federalists propose the creation of a super-state to centralize the use of violence.

Between the maintenance of a balance-of-power system and the creation of a world-state, the contemporary concept of collective security stands in an uncertain point. Collective security clearly denies the use of war as an instrument of international policy, but it does not offer a better solution than the gradual evolution toward an international military force in the hands of an executive international body. Realists and federalists are both correct in their critique of collective security: There is a contradiction between the existence of a multistate system and the requirement of an international authority capable of imposing collective security measures by force.

Kant understood the core of this problem and, by stressing the consensual basis of international order, transcended both the realist and idealist positions. He rejected the realist contention that states have a right to go to war; for Kant, the existence of war is not an argument for its legitimacy. Kant also denounced the idealist proposal of a federal union capable of enforcing international peace as impossible and, moreover, undesirable; this option could lead to universal despotism and a renewal of punitive wars.

Contemporary theorists of collective security should reconsider Kant's position, and escape from the Hobbesian Trap. The enforcement of peace could be an instrument to win a war against any aggressor, but neither implies the prevention of future wars, nor the possibility of a more fair and lasting peace.

Conclusions: Kant in the Post-Cold War Order

It is a cliche to say that the so-called international order is in fact based on an anarchic multistate system. States still rely on their might to deter aggression and there is little common ground of shared values among them. Yet the world faces the frustrating reality of an intrnmational law that lacks effective instruments of enforcement. Given these conditions, the possibility of a peaceful international order faces the difficult task of avoiding "the Charybdis of subservience to state ambitions and the Scylla of excessive pretensions of restraint."(48) There are, I fear, no easy solutions to this problem.

Until states freely accept that it is in their own interest to preserve peace and renounce the use of violence in international policy, no lastingly peaceful international order can be established. The implementation of an effective collective security system, or the creation of a federalist world-state, are only illusory solutions to the problem of war. Even if peace could be enforced by a coalition of like-minded states or by a single international authority, it would not imply that war could be prevented or a fair peace preserved. State consensus about a legal order, not the threat of coercion, explains the maintenance of peace. Under this approach, defensive wars, waged by a single state or an alliance, though limited and subjected to legal control, cannot be outlawed - at least in the foreseeable future.

Certain commentators who suggest that a new international order has emerged from the collapse of the Soviet bloc are overly optimistic. The seeming triumph of the liberal democratic idea did put an end to the East-West conflict that, for much of the twentieth century, impeded a great power consensus on the legitimacy of the international order. Not all nations of the world, however, are ready to accept that order. Border disputes, and ethnic and religious conflicts are a growing source of war in the international system. In this context, the implementation of a collective security system - the illusion that universal peace now can be enforced - only implies the risk of justifying punitive wars against maverick aggressors.

This is the lesson of the war between the U.N.-led, U.S.-backed coalition and Iraq in the Persian Gulf. The Gulf War case is special, because it occurred in the new international context. As the Soviet Union did not oppose the armed intervention against Iraq's aggression, the United Nations was able to play an unprecedented role.(49) It is partially true that the key element in forming an international coalition, as Henry Kissinger stated, was the American leadership and not that of the United Nations." If not a perfect resemblance to the collective security ideal, nonetheless the Gulf War gave a good idea of how such a system might practically work.

Yet the prospects are not promising. The international sanction accorded the Gulf War justified the use of every means of destruction against the Iraqis. Although the conflict did not reach the extreme of the absolute destruction of Baghdad and its civilian population, this possibility was clearly part of its logic. As the U.N.-led collective security system appeared more effective after the end of the Cold War, the problem of its desirability and humaneness needs to be debated.

From a different perspective, the existing conditions of the world order offer a unique chance to attain, in the long run, a non-coercive international peace. The United Nations has the potential to adapt its structures and activities to that purpose. The first step is to reformulate the concept of collective security as an international confederation of states that have agreed to renounce war and commit themselves to the maintenance of world peace by non-coercive means. In order to extend the consensus about the international system, the United Nations must improve the mechanisms of peaceful settlements of disputes, advocate universal disarmament, devise strategies of preventive diplomacy and create new methods to facilitate a peaceful change in the status quo in case of conflict.

An excessive stress on the use of coercion is clearly inappropriate to resolve the emerging ethnic and religious conflicts in the world. In these cases, the key activity of a post-cold War United Nations must be to extend and strengthen the use of peaceful forces. The conflicts affecting countries like Somalia and the former Yugoslavia present opportunities to work in this direction.

The United Nations should also rely on the existing instruments for the protection of human rights, and devise new mechanisms to promote economic development in the less-developed areas of the world. These activities, in turn, could not only increase the legitimacy of the international order, but also help consolidate democracy. This is in the best interest of the international community because, as Kant foresaw, the diffusion of governments based on popular consent limits the likelihood of war.

My conclusions may seem frustrating for strong proponents of a new world order. Deep deception, however, is often caused by high expectations. Mankind has no other option than to rely on Kant's hopeful insight: If peace, as it seems, is a rational and moral imperative of human nature, it cannot be meaningless. If the proper steps are taken, then peace may one day become reality.

(1.) I want to express my gratitude to Assistant Professor Anders Stephanson for Ids valuable comments on an earlier draft of this article, as well as to the Jurnal editorial staff for their assistance in preparing it for publication. (2.) Thomas Hobbes, De Cim, ed. Bemard Gert (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1978) p. 118. (3.) See Reinhartkoselleck, Critique and Crisis: Enlightenment and the Pathogenesis of modern Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1988) pp. 4346. For a detailed juridical analysis of the evolution of European international law, see Carl Schmitt, Der Nomos der Erde im Volkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europaeum (Koln: Greven Verlag, 1950). (4.) Kant's Perpetual Peace pamphlet is reprinted in Immanuel Kant, On History, ed. and trans. Lewis White Beck (New York: I)obbs-merrill, 1963). (5.) Carl Friedrich, Inevitable Peace (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1948) pp. 157-87. (6.) Abbe de Saint-Pierre, A Project for Perpetual Peace (New York: Garland, 1974). (7.) Ibid., pp. 24-9. (8.) Ibid., p. 16. (9.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Judgement on Perpetual Peace (New York: Garland, 1974) pp. 102-3. (10.) Kant, On History, p. 92. My emphasis. (11.) Ibid., pp. 85-91. (12.) "Beween states no punitive war (bellum punitivum) is conceivable because there is no relation between them of master and servant." ibid., p. 90. (13.) Koselleck, p. 46. An excellent summary of the arguments against the doctrine of the just war is provided by Norberto Bobbio, Il Problema della guerra e le Vie della Pace, II ed. (Bolgna: Il Mulino, 1984). For different perspectives about the problem of the moral justification of war, see Jean Bethke Elshtain, ed., Just War Theory (New York: New York University Press, 1992). (14.) W.B. Gallie, Philosophers of Peace and War (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1978) p. 19. (15.) Le Droit de Gens; ou Les Principes de la Loi Naturelle Appliques a la Conduite et aux Affaires des Nations et des Souverains (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1916) III. 4, paragraph 68. (16.) In the third of the preliminary articles of peace, after proposing the abolishment of stanqing armies, Kant acknowledges that "the periodic and voluntary military exercises of citizens who thereby secure themselves and their country against foreign aggression are entirely different." (17.) ibid., pp. 92-105. (18.) For an analysis of individual rights and the notion of cosmopolitan law in Kant's concept of peace, see Norberto Bobbio, "Kant e la Revoluzione Francese," in Norberto Bobbio, L'Eta del Diritti (Torino: Einaudi, 1992) pp. 143-55. (19.) Kant, On History, p. 94. (20.) In the Metaphysics of Morals Kant takes the stance that the state has no right to lead a human being - who in a republic is also a citizen - into war without his consent. "A citizen, he says, must always be regarded as a co-legislative member of the state (that is not merely as a means but at the same time as an end in itself) and as such he must give his free consent through his representatives, not only to the waging of war in general, but also to any particular declaration of war." ibid. pp. 94-5. Immanuel Kant, The Metaphysic Elements of Justice, ed. and trans. John Ladd (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965) p. 118 (21.) Kant, On History, p. 98; Kant, Metaphysical Elements, p. 116. (22.) Immanuel Kant, Per la Pace Perpetua, ed. Norberto Bobbio (Roma: Editori Reuniti, 1992) p. XVI. (23.) The idea of a state of nations, says Kant, "would be contradictory since the state implies the relation of a superior (legislating) to an inferior (obeying), i.e, the people, and any nations in one state would then constitute only one nation." Kant, On History, p. 98. (24.) Ibid., p. 100. (25.) Ibid., p. 113. (26.) For a general explanation of the nature and function of moral laws in Kant's ethics, see Metaphysical Elements, pp. 10-30. (27.) ibid., p. 128. "What duty requires," says Kant, "is that we act in accordance with the idea of such an end, even if there is not the slightest theoretical probability that it is feasible, as along as its impossibility cannot be demonstrated either." ibid., p. 128. (28.) See Immanuel Kant, "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View," and "An Old Question Raised Again: Is the Human Race Constantly Progressing?" in On History, pp. 11-26 and 137-54. (29.) Kant, On History, p. 106. (30.) E.H. Carr, The Twenty Years Crisis, 1919-1939 (New York: Harper & Row, 1964) p. 26. (31.) Woodrow Wilson, "A league of Peace," in David L. Larsen, The Puritan Ethic in United States Foreign Policy (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1966) p. 183. (32.) ibid., p. 183. (33.) John F.L. Ross, Neutrality and International Sanctions (New York: Praeger, 1989) p. 12. (34.) Inis Claude, Jr., Swords into Plowshares (New York: Random House, 1971) p. 160. (35.) ibid., p. 257. (36.) Alfred Zimmern, The League of Nations and the Rule of Law, 1918-1935 (London: Macmillan, 1939) p. 289. (37.) Inis Claude, Jr., Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962)p. 262. (38.) F.P. Walters, A history of the League of Nations (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 44. (39.) Claude, Power and International Relations, p. 153. (40.) Raymond Aron, "The Anarchical Order of Power," in Stanley Hoffman, ed., Conditions of World Order (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1968) p. 47. (41.) Hans Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations (New York: Knopf, 1960) p. 5. (42.) Aron, p. 30. (43.) See Raymond Aron, Peace and War Among Nations (New York: Doubleday, 1966) p. 159. (44.) See Carl Schmitt, El Nomos de la Tierra en el Derecho de Gentes del Juo Publicum Europaeum (Madrid: Centro de Estudios Constituciondes) pp. 283-364, in which he discusses the extent of the criminalization of wars of agression intended by contemporary international law. For his understanding of the relation between war, politics and legal order see Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1976). (45.) Julien Freund, L'Essence du Politique (Paris: Sirey, 1965) pp. 493 and 499. (46.) Julien Freund, Le Nouvel Age (Paris: Marcel Riviere, 1970) p. 202. (47.) Claude, Swords Into Plowshares, p. 416. (48.) Stanley Hoffman, "International Law and the Control of Force," in Karl W. Deutsch and Stanley Hoffman, The Relevance of International Law: Essays in Honor of Leo Gross (Cambridie, MA: Schenkman, 1968) p. 44. (49.) Although the 1950 U.N. intervention in South Korea has been hailed as a victory for international peace and security, the mission was merely "authorized" and not "decided" by the United Nations. The formation of the coalition was driven by the United States, whose influence in the United Nations made it possible to override temporarily the Soviet veto in the Security Council. See "The UN's Roles in a Divided World,"' in Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury, eds., United Nations, Divided Role (New York: Clarendom, 1990). (50.) Henry Kissinger, "A False Dream, "in the Gulf War Reader (New York: Random House,

1991) P. 462.
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Title Annotation:Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-First Century; The Andrew Wellington Cordier Essay; Immanuel Kant
Author:Negretto, Gabriel L.
Publication:Journal of International Affairs
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:8782
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