Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace Theory and Its Practice In Case of United Nations
In this paper, main focus will be analyzing the United Nations according to the liberalist idea in the thoughts of the Immanuel Kant’s perpetual peace. International organizations and transnational actors have major role for integration processes of the world and they build international governance in other words unified nation states under supranational roof. Integration process does not only consist of economic integration but also politics and societies can be integrated by nation states to some extent to promote the economic integration besides whole integration process. Perpetual Peace and liberalist idea stimulate those transnational actors even though they limit some freedom of nation states because the belief is that to bring constant peace through these institutions.
In the first chapter, I will be focusing on international order and peace further, definition of Kant’s perpetual peace and liberalist idea will be given in the second part and concentrating upon the liberalist idea in foundations of international organization will be mentioned, in this part there will be remarkable points because to understand integrations made by transnational actors and international organizations and their role in the whole process. If we analyze further processes of perpetual peace, directly we reach neoliberalism effects and institutionalism in liberalism, so it is essentialness to explain for understanding United Nations in accordance with perpetual peace.
In fourth chapter, United Nations and its main fundamental principles will be mention in framework of both integration process and perpetual peace. On the other hand criticism of United Nation will be given to understand better how it works and how it should work according to Kant’s idea. To conclude, I aim to give a brief presentation about United Nations and its philosophical foundations in international relations. I am very influenced by German philosopher Immanuel Kant and to realize the basis of international organizations, this work could present a brief for readers.
1. International Order and Peace
Peace is the one of the most complicated and difficult term to interpret in international relations. Maintaining of the peace is still disputable and there is huge debate on this issue, according to many social scientist, foundations of peace or struggling with peace is coming from the early history of Greeks. Anarchy has been leading to conflict between states including city-states, and war generally inevitable for states throughout the history, gaining power, hegemonic race, aspiration to become regional decision-maker can be counted as major reasons of both wars and conflicts in each region on the world.
On the other hand peace and its philosophy do not belong only to western side of the world and also far east thinkers thought about it, for instance Tianxia Yitang would be another philosopher who supported the idea of perpetual peace in another regions, in this paper, it is an obligation to mention philosophers of both regions as much as the subject needs to be explained, therefore comparison between ideas directly will be pointing out the similarities among ideas.
2. Kant’s Theory Perpetual Peace and Its Interpretation on The Theory of Liberalism
As a concept of perpetual peace can be understood, it asserts and tries to explain how states are supposed to be act to take actions to maintain peace for leaving anarchy situation or reducing its effect in international order. In other words, according to Kant’s thoughts perpetual peace is the opposite of war situation and the state of war is lawless, which represents the state of nature and abandonment of the state of nature is the only way to build peace.
The fact that the treaties containing the substances that could lead to war are not valid and that the big or small independent states do not fall under the domination of another state in any way (by means of inheritance, exchange, purchase, gift etc.), the lifting of the armies, the not using the national debts to affect the foreign policy, state does not interfere with the constitution or government of another state by force, during the war between the two states to prevent the re-establishment of trust between the actions assassinations, violations of capitulations, and espionage in the opposite state. The second stage is that every states have to have their own republican constitution.
If states were to realize that perpetual peace within them through law inward-looking policies, perpetual peace within the world would take place as a structure that these states and people would establish. Implementation of the order in the universe under the name of order and cooperation does not seem difficult to achieve. It will lead us to the foundations of liberal thought. Kosmos is also valid term for states and necessary for their development. Further development of cooperation represents the significant harmony.
❖ Every rule that laid down by the legislative power of the state.
❖ Rule in unlawful areas
❖ The law is the order in which the events of nature appear and cannot get out.
❖ Rule is the book that carries the law on any subject or issue.
At this point referring to Henri De Paye says that there is no more deceptive event than the world order. From Kant’s point of view, the flow of life is directed towards perpetual peace, meaning that the idea of states and states are constantly moving forward regardless of their negative and positive intentions and desires. In 1797 Kant would say that there should not be war and over almost 200 years, the leaders of the contemporary world would say that the same statement.
In other words perpetual peace means The law of the whole world is the formation of a situation and the highest target and value of humanity. International law and law by itself, leads to decision-making role among states, further it constructs factual situations. In Kant’s opinion, politics should be bow respectfully before morality and cannot move forward without respect to morality. Politics has to be bent to morality utterly, however, in this case we can hope that it will shine but slowly. The other basis of Kant’s idea is that states must have their own republican constitution and the law of nations should be constructed as federation of free states, the last phase is world citizenship must be narrowed down by universal hospitality principle. Kant was fostering the federations which meant over the nation states and the reason of his responsiveness is to achieve perpetual peace, nevertheless perpetual peace can be coercive for nation states by implementing those supranational policies. In addition to the idea of federation, economic dependence and trade can be added as crucial points to keep peace among states, the importance of trade and economic dependence is that those things merchandised by states and made them more tied up in the international area and in case of any policies they have to take into consideration all of those dynamics before making a decision which induces them to tend to perpetual peace. According to Richard Cobden, war is a result of mercantilist policies and only free trade can prevent war and all these issues. Free trade is controlled by international organizations which established by nation states.
Kant says that republican constitution includes those articles:
❖ The principle of freedom for all members of a society (as men)
❖ The principle of the dependence of everyone upon a single common legistlation (as subjects)
❖ The principle of legal equality for everyone (as citizens)
The three principles that can maintain the worldwide peace:
❖ Every states have to have their own republican constitutions.
❖ State law should be based on a federation of independent states.
❖ World citizenship law should be limited to universal guest conditions.
Those principles should be kept by federations that created by nations states and the purpose will be build international system by this way.
The tough question to answer is that Which constitution can lead to perpetual peace? This is not our issue, nonetheless, it should be asked by reader.
On the other hand consent will be my subject in this case, because consent of citizens allows to state to rule everything related to country and its management. Consent of states can also grant permission to international organizations to be a decision-making mechanism among nation states, this is directly about consent of states. Prevalence of international actors can lead to peace according to Kant’s idea.
Furthermore, as another opinion it is better to look at Hester Zuurman, he claims that cosmopolitanism is often thought by Kant. Cosmopolitanism contains, cosmolitanism itself, cosmopolitan law and cosmopolitan society. Cosmopolitanist idea can construct cosmopolitan political regime and those three elements would be rules of this regime. Perpetual peace can be directly associated with cosmopolitanism, which aims to build an world regime, which contains mixture of nations. Nations states are elements of cosmopolitan thought, they constitute supranational institutions and cosmopolitanism.
In this way far distant territories may enter into peaceful relations with one another. These relations may at last come under public control of law, and thus the human race be brought nearer the realization of a cosmopolitan constitution.
From this angle there should be another point which covers to whole issue by means of supranational laws, which rules the all states in the world and and judge them in international courts. First thing, international law and the second article is international court, eventually those principles are going to create another supranational notions and norms in order to maintain the peace.
3. Liberalist Thought on International Organizations
In this part our focus point will be liberalism, neoliberalism and how do they perceive the inernational actors as a part of institutionalism of the world according to Kant’s idea. Perpetual peace directly advocates the institutionalism of nations states and means in today’s world interwoven dynamics, the crucial point is institutionalism and nations states intertwined and trying out to survive in this complex political area.
3.1. International Organizations (Actors)
International actors have a great role in world politics, even they are NGOs. Throughout the history nation states were achieving to establish a union, which was going to become supranational power of the world. In 19th century European Harmony 1st – 2nd and after European harmonies, emperors league can be given as example of this claim and after 19th century when we faced with 20th century and its conflict they needed to succeed this aim to keep western peaces which had its own principles and which allowed state to take actions on the rest of the world.
According to Clive Archer, international organizations or actors can be described by this way, the groups who shares common interests, where states come together and continuous formal structure which means a founding contract.
League of nations can be seen as the first official institutions that created by nations states because of reconciling the states and restoring the peace again. League of nations and after became United Nations based on Kant’s the idea of perpetual peace.
” Under the umbrella of international law, a world federation in which states governed by republican constitutions are connected by international trade and cooperation is possible.”
Although the supranational organizations in other words transnational actors take into account international order, society and regime, all actors must remember current international system based on nation states and nation states still did not dissolve due to globalization or institutionalism, even though they were affected, presence of notion of nation still available.
Preponderance of transnational actors in international area aims to provide consistent system among nation states and how do they act towards nation states. International organizations and their versatility ensures that improvements of national economies, development in both domestic and foreign policies, and they usually prepare reports, determine the foreign policies of member states, at both national level and international level, common interests lead to be ally with each other.
3.2. The Idea of Liberalism In Case of International Actors
In this part our focus point will be liberalism, neoliberalism and how do they perceive the international actors as a part of institutionalism of the world according to Kant’s idea. Perpetual peace directly advocates the institutionalism of nations states and means in today’s world interwoven dynamics, the crucial point is institutionalism and nations states intertwined and trying out to survive in this complex political area. From another perspective, Alexander Wendt asserts that to understand the behavior of states, it is necessary to examine the environment in which states exist and international organizations can be seen as environment of nation states, moreover definition of international organizations may be vary, one of them is remarkable to mention and according to Wendt international organizations means that ‘’the common state of identities and interests.’’
The idea of liberalism has a major role in promoting supranational institutions, the main reason to estrablish the unprecedented international system is just prelude for interwoven nation states’ politics. The transnational actors were thrived and improved by nation states and they created these quite new and effective institutions for settling peace and its tools and keep them safe in anarchical world, on the other hand there is another reason to create new organizations to control and regulate international politics is that the harmony between different states in terms of level of development and Angell says that peace and harmony have to be built in the meantime they should be institutionalised.
Wilson and his 14 principles contains crucial intersection; league of nations is very similar with federations of nations as Kant asserts. Kant in his century advocates the unity of nations and this federation gathers every nations under the single roof they regulate the policies of the world, including economic, political, cultural. After world war 1 Wilson suggested the same idea with Kant’s and league of nations was focusing on the maintaining peace according to idea of liberalism this could be watershed for world politics in 20th century because liberalist idea was spreading and world has been changing from empires or sultanate to nation states and institutional age which will be felt strongly after 1980’s with neoliberalist effects.
3.2.1. Neoliberalist Effects
At very close time to the end of the cold war, neoliberalist policies began to gain prevalence. After all, all these policies would be followed by companies and organizations that continued the interdependence of countries and accelerated the interaction between countries. Dynamics has been changing day by day as well as event by event, neoliberalist idea proposed that multinational companies and international organizations should take over the control of world system, especially after the collapse of Soviet Union this idea found huge place to realise its policies in worldwide level. The world system is becoming increasingly complex structure and dependency has been changed by various elements, as Joseph Nye and Keohane asserts that discussion will be complex interdependence not only dependent or independent states, according to them every states directly linked to each other and those ties make the relations more complex than they were before. It is possible to mention multinational dimension in other words pluralistic structure about international system and dependency. In other words we can refer the Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane again and they say that there is a relations which is going to transnational organizations by interstate interactions. 
By this way, independent or less dependent relations among states were becoming to dimension of transnational organizations.
3.2.2. Institutionalism Perspective in The Idea of Liberalism
Mitrany also mentioned that functional peace that can keep peace among states and it should be provided by institutions, which are created by nation states themselves. Functional peace provide peace as well as increasing economic (trade) and political relations. According to Mitrany there are two contradictory, first independent states and modern work distrubition and those two things should be combined with each other and suggests 3 proposal:
❖ Organizations such as United Nations or League of Nations
❖ Federal System
❖ Functional regulations (This focuses on basic needs and basic needs lead to cooperation, therefore cooperations take the whole process to international governance.)
Ernst Haas gives us different point of view and neofunctionalist thinker proposed spill-over effect that means people build nation states and then they need to create companies, institutions which can regulate all process of the world. Those who creates companies or institutions, after a while realize that their devotion gravitates towards to this institutions rather than their nation states. Basically this propagation is circle and always benefits to the theory of spill-over. He also says that spill-over cannot be automatically and it needs to have some institutions that will be regulate and organize it. The opinions of Haas and Mitrany are essential to take into consideration and it is directly connected with geography, for instance Wester unions such as European Union and United Nations.
Karl W. Deutsch remarks that war or any of social conflicts has to be solved by institutionalised procedures. Furthermore world needs security communities, to create this actor we need 9 major and 3 minor principles.
Those principles are:
The mutual harmony of the main values,
The original life style,
The expectation of stronger economic relations and interests,
The increase in the eyes of the relations between the political and administrative units,
The extraordinary economic development among at least some of the units,
The protection of social communication links between different segments,
The expansion of political elites,
At least the mobility of the relevant layer as a political issue,
The existence of more than one communication and transaction links,
The compensation of communication and transaction flows,
The fact that the group roles do not change,
The mutual behaviors are predictable.
Security communities lead to institutionalised identity, thus they constitute another institution which will be aimed to another propose. For liberal institutionalism there are 3 main questions:
Why and how international organizations were established?
How can they continue to their existence?
In which conditions they caused to cooperation among nation states?
As Krasner said international laws reflect the interests and powers of dominant powers. It is not possible to maintain peace without the dominant powers. Liberalism is positive about hegemonic state and for the management of international organizations by hegemonic states.
Liberal paradigm and also the theory of liberalism assert that to create supranational governments, unions or communities, those paradigms are willing to reshape nation state system and they usually take into account institutionalism while producing new system for nation states and beyond nation states. The philosophical background of this idea generated from liberalist thinkers especially by Immanuel Kant. He claims that the idea of liberalism should spread all over the world by establishing unions which are over the nation states ,therefore perpetual peace can be reachable. Liberalism also includes neoliberalist ideas within this policies.
Liberalism can be divided into 3 main categories for institutional understanding;
Creating institutions relatively small ones which has control over developing countries
Promoting the institutions which are controlling the world through general policies such as European Union and United Nations.
Institutions, which are serving as advisory committee for countries.
Third one also can become wider through sub-organizations of higher institutions. The most essential thing is that liberal idea believes that institutionalism and supra governance can bring the peace and directly affect on nation states, to some extent it has meaning and can be defendable in case of benefit for every nation states. On the other hand liberalism provides equal opportunity not only individuals but also states and it can be caused of inequality among states so the main poing might have been collapsed by theory of itself.
Although some damages and risks of the theory, in positivist way there are some advantages for both countries and societies, global governance may create global civil society referring to Hedley Bull, building of international society needs to be governed by international united powers which contains of nations states and that means there is a theory beyond nation states.
To sum up, the theory is still disputable, I have chosen liberalist idea to specify how they look at transnational actors but there are still inconsistencies. Institutionalism needs to be analysed by both practicers and thinkers.
4. The Foundation of UN In Perspective of Liberalist Idea
Transnational actors have major role in integration levels. In case of either regional integration or world integration, states needs to have authority and some regional integrations and their historical background directly pioneered to whole and significant integration process of nations states, besides European Union and the other regional integrations by creating institutions can be defined limited integrations and struggle to pass to political level of integration, regional integrations had spill-over effect, therefore integration of all states were affected by this spill-over and liberalist idea, in general, asserts those integration process at all level, but the peak is unified states under major institutions. In this chapter, my purpose will be analyze United Nations and its level of integration according to Kant’s idea and criticize it in accordance with nation states system.
The great powers have tried once to create a unity, which was called League of Nations, which would be superior than presence of whole nation states but it would have generated from nation states, moreover this type of integration level was not first attempt for great powers but historically it based on 1815 Congress of Vienna and Chaumont Treaty but I tend to analyze the period after League of Nations. Collapse and Failure of League of Nations another transnational actor should have constituted by the great powers, because after two big wars (WW1-WW2) Europe was beginning to question every dynamics to bring them peace and sustainable peace was the aim of great powers except losing their majority and power on decision-making process of the world. At this point remarkable thing is peace was defined in harmony with great powers’ interests.
Firstly, giving the definition of integration is crucial task for this paper because integration level of European Union and United Nations has some similarities, first of all to integrate a region, groups or whole world or all states have to share some roles and principles such as:
The density of the relationship particularly in the UN means that it is not possible to separate the intergovernmental world from the transnational world.
My perspective is deeply affected by Ernst Haas. The similarities can be summarized as follows:
Institutionally: Supranational bodies allows to upgrade common interests and to reach them through organs and bodies, which are effective and powerful to implement such policies that are taken by United Nations general assembly or security council.
Functionally: Specific tasks for nations states, for instance economic wealth and progress or human rights and its protection. On the other hand specific assignments that they can expand spill-over effect.
Environmentally: Integration is controlling by also societies and groups in society,
their attitudes can directly affect to whole process and whole institution.
United Nations aim to provide wealth, human rights, to protect to humanity, to maintain the peace with its organs. Integration levels depend on especially common interest among nation states because they can reach the success as long as they keep alive their interests in 4 areas above.
From Kant’s perspective United Nations can be example of federation of nations because this actor contains almost whole nation states inside itself and organize them around only one main interests and the other interests are derived from peace, which is main interest that can nation states keep together under a institution and followed by security issues. United Nations as it can be seen clearly from nowadays, tend to maximize the political integration among nation states and normalize this process either. Nations states in other words big political communities and these communities facing each other in UN, that cause to expanding the UN’s influence worldwide through its agencies. According to Wendt stages of the world state consists of 5 parts. *Human state system, *States society, *World Society, *Collective security, *World State. World state is also an integration process, which shows that nation states come together and create unity, which is called world state or supranational institutions.
How should we consider United Nations security issues by means of perpetual peace? United Nations has its own security council, which contains of 5 great powers of the world and they have right to veto for every issues, which are disputable or cause any kind of conflict among states, on the other hand decision maker regarding conflicts is that security council as well as general assembly. In peace, they represent to deterrence tools of UN and the other thing to keep the peace is that to create supranational army like UN Peacekeeper they control and interfere the conflict zones to keep peace or bring another order in that zone.
The another considerable point is that judicial power of transnational actors, the importance of jurisdiction is that all types of integration has to have their own judirical system to intervene conflicts and bring the peace back to the region. States who ratified the contract of membership of United Nations should be a part of this policies because supranational affects directly controls everything including judicatory process and judgment is crucial and essential element at international level, even though still inadequate. In European Union, Soviet Block, or organizations, which are representative of Asian integration has their own judicial bodies and they can control conflicts through the judiciary, for every supranational institutions as well as integration models needs to have this type of organ. As a UN body jurisdiction is crucial especially for conflict times, UN has Court of Justice and this court is responsible for preventing armed conflicts and settle up the peace through diplomacy and justice in practice of it can be questioned by many states because although UN contains almost whole countries inside itself, it still can be seen as the device of great powers or hegemonic powers and it prevents to take equal action for each nations or every cultures, even in UN discrimination still continues, in framework perpetual peace it is hard to say that UN totally fits to Kant’s idea, in spite of containing republican constitution in United Nations as Kant’s advocated the same in federations of nations but federation of nations was presenting a unity both political and economic unity and this federation controls trade among states and non-state actors after a while this spontaneously ensures the peace situation, according to Joseph Nye and Robert Keohane, they indicated that dependence has complex structure at the moment and in such complex constructions contains strong commercial relations, which keeps the peace among actors. This commercial relations are protected and controlled by those supranational institutions.
4.1. The Criticism of United Nations In Case of Ensuring Perpetual Peace
The main criticism of United Nations is that can new great powers or super powers can threat to world peace and international organizations? Understanding of international law could be differ from another country to the other one, because in today’s world represents to nation states system and national interests may come first for super powers, explicitly great powers and their politics take into consideration their national interest on national base, on the other hand this national phase should affect to whole world through international organizations, otherwise it cannot find any specific area to live in or survive in such conflicts that world has in these days.
The other question is that Is International Organizations a device of great powers or hegemonic states? or can international organizations work properly without hegemonic states? At the first glance international actors may be seen as supranational institutions but it is important to not forget this those institutions were founded by hegemonic states of that period and international order still continues. At this point the question should asked by myself: Is UN creation of coherent entities? International organizations they are system that constrain the behavior of their members to some extent. We can still mention about UN’s lack of power of implementation on great powers.
Kant’s perpetual peace theory of peace does not only suggest the existence of an international organization, but also proposes a republican regime that will bring about liberal though.
To sum up, in fact to reach a summary for this broad issue is impossible, the only possible thing is to predict the future integration and explain the foundations of United Nations. As a decision maker United Nations should act to cover all countries and save them all without discrimination. As a result of this, United Nations has direct and indirect effects on nation states.
As discussed above, Tianxia Yitang was asserting the correct principle for transnational actors that to cooperate each other at nation states level and at the opposite side, the idea of kant may have a divisive effect. Another case that we need to consider when evaluating united nations within the framework of perpetual peace is the military, economic, political and cultural mechanisms and effects of such international organizations. Economic and political aspects of the political and military sides are also very important. On the cultural side, we will have to talk about an international community that will be created through international organizations and an international culture that this international community will create. United Nations has subordinate organs and make policies also affect on whole over the world in case of society, economics, political military, social an world issues such as climate change, spreading pollution (air, water etc.) renewable energy etc. United Nations is becoming more and more leaders in these matters and trying to fulfill the problem-solving role expected of it. Each of these processes takes place as an integration process for the united nations and helps to develop it. The main game played by the United Nations on the world stage is to realize the world integration in a direction and to take serious steps towards it. United Nations makes high politics and power does not explain outcomes, the other dynamics should be taken into consideration as given above, thus policy domains contain different actors.
The inter-state peace treaties between the nation-states will ensure peace and strengthen relations. On the other hand Mousseau would support Kant and says that interstate peace does not only emerge as a result of governing states with democracy. There is also non-state actors and state actors. The best examples of non-state actors are international organizations, but all these dynamics are linked together as a chain.
Furthermore, Michal Doyle would advocate that the liberal state does not enter into a war with the liberal state, and the liberal government knows that the people can punish themselves. The same applies to united nations and supports the views of kant. Because my liberal administrations will be connected to each other through economic, political and cultural relations, and because they are governed by the republican constitution, it is emphasized that their people will not be willing to enter the war.
The world order and the world state, or even the world community, may be the first of the steps to be taken. This process, as Kant suggests, will either take place with a republican supranational organization and will continue to function as a federation of nations or to remain a complex structure and to contain question marks.
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