The first time I heard there was a "war" against Westphalia was in a talk given to the
The Westphalian agreement was that all nations henceforth were to be considered absolutely sovereign within their own borders. Intervention in the religious or political affairs of another state was forbidden.
This was a reaction to the war that had just concluded -- or actually, the series of small wars over a 30-year period that has since been treated as a single great war involving Catholics against Protestants and Hapsburgs against Bourbons. Its best modern historian, C.V. Wedgwood, has justly said that the Thirty Years' War "need not have happened and it settled nothing worth settling ... an object lesson on the dangers and disasters which can arise when men of narrow hearts and little minds are in high places." The war in which Rice and
Rice, though, was claiming that if the Westphalian international system were replaced by an American-led alliance of democracies ruling the world, international peace would prevail. Such a system has in one or another form been America's foreign policy objective ever since
Yet "global governance" has been probably the most fashionable subject in academic and professional international relations studies. The reason is simple to identify. "Europe" has been a success. At least a success until now, notwithstanding the economic ravages of the
The most prominent argument made, above all in
These days, domestic and international politics mainly concern national issues and clashes of interest. "[R]eal asymmetric economic relations do not look like the perfect markets of text books," Montbrial writes, adding that, "financial markets are not always rational but can experience stress or even chaos; ... economic cycles are unlikely to be abolished anytime soon; ... [and] the era of ideological enthusiasm for globalization is over."
The most important issues of political "governance" of concern these days are those of the Egyptian constitutional referendum and who will eventually govern
Rice's vision in 2003 of an American-dominated international democratic hegemony cannot today be taken seriously. The American public is increasingly unwilling to support the kind of large-scale military actions that
State sovereignty in the EU has indeed been weakened but far from replaced by European federation, and that is in a society with 2,000 years of religious and cultural integration. The Middle Eastern societies -- despite 13 centuries of religious unity, the great Arab caliphates and the Ottoman experience -- are fragile even where state sovereignty exists and can be enforced. The George W. Bush administration idea of a "New Middle East" proved a fantasy. In the Far East, old empires are reasserting their sovereign claims. Global governance has yet to prove its relevance to any civilization except that of the post-Enlightenment West, and one can question its relevance there. Political identity remains bound to national history -- the fundament of sovereignty.
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