Immanuel Kant's Uninable Peace

Decent Essays
In 1795, Immanuel Kant a German philosopher wrote an essay titled ‘perpetual peace: a philosophical sketch’ where he lays down rubrics that define the general nature of states as political entities and how state structures and external policies should be reformed to ensure lasting peace. Over a century later, the proposal he made in this essay have been linked to traits and theories in modern day society like the democratic peace theory that states that democratic nations don’t fight one another, and the cosmopolitan theory which is used to explain the unprecedented rise in regional organizations. So far, the EU is considered as the most successful regional organization that has managed to achieve peace and cooperation even amongst countries…show more content…
The first section contains six preliminary articles that propose conditions under which states can bring an end to war. Here, Kant calls for treaties to be made in good faith without hope on the part of the contractual parties to resort to war in the future. He asserts his belief in the sovereignty of states and calls for the abolishment of armies and accumulation of wealth by states. Kant argues that “The accumulation of treasure would have the same effect, for, of the three powers--the power of armies, of alliances, and of money--the third is perhaps the most dependable weapon” (Kant, 1795). This means that the accumulation of wealth can be used as a weapon by states which would defeat the purpose of peace. He goes on to say that borrowing and debt among states for purposes that are not domestically beneficial could lead to war and is to be frowned upon by states. Reiterating his stance on state sovereignty Kant stated that “No State shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another State” (Kant, 1795). Kant also advocated for wars to be fought fairly and without a goal of extermination. These provisions can be seen in present day international statutes that codify the laws of war and uphold state…show more content…
The first definitive article states that “the civil constitution of every state shall be republican” (Kant, 1795). However, while questioning whether only republican constitutions can bring about peace, he reasoned that since power will be constituted in the people, they would least likely to resort to war than if it were an authoritarian regime. While noting that with this explanation, the citizens who hold power can be described as despotic, Christian Covell in his book on ‘the law of nations in political thought’ noted that Kant indicated that international peace is dependent on the transformation of domestic policies. He further linked this proposal to just war theory especially in relation to jus ad bellum’ because Kant acknowledged that states need some sort of authorization to go to war. He stated that “the form of constitution is presented as a decisive factor in determining if the lawful authority of states to wage war would ever be exercised” (Covell, 2009). Still, Lars-Erik Cederman in his article on ‘modelling democratic peace as a Kantian selection process’, noted that this proposal was flawed in the sense that the spread of norms that bring progress don’t have to stop at democratic borders. According to Cederman, once the spread of progress begins, “the rule of law creeps into interstate, or more precisely inter-democratic,
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