In his essay Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch, Immanuel Kant prescribes the means of attaining a worldwide peace among nations. In theory, Kant's idea of achieving Perpetual Peace relies not on reactionary peaceful measures of ending wars once they have begun, but instead on creating a preventative system; that is, Kant believes that the effectiveness of reactionary peace policy is far inferior to the construction of a preventative contract between nations that would call for a continued peace and the perpetual existence of peaceful negotiations in order to avoid war. Kant writes that peace can neither be inaugurated nor secured without a general agreement between the nations; thus a particular kind of league, which we might call a pacific federation is required. [This] would differ from a peace treaty in that the latter terminates one war, whereas the former would seek to end all wars for good (104).
[...] The third and final condition for achieving a Perpetual Peace is that “Cosmopolitan Right shall be limited to Conditions of Universal Hospitality.” This condition is rather brief and intuitive, but in short, it states that visitors from other states must be treated without hostility when in a foreign state. Essentially, Kant argues that hospitality and civilized interactions between states and their visitors is key to maintaining peace, because, if every state maintains this strict code of peaceful conduct, then this “universal community . [...]
[...] Swinton seems to insinuate that a Perpetual Peace may not be possible in a world without unity, as even one member who disagrees with the concepts of peace can disrupt the peaceful intentions of the rest of the world. Thus, coalitions such as the United Nations are fighting an impossible battle; they seek to create peace where there can be none, and attempt to impose peaceful intentions on those who are perpetually aggressive. And, although there may be many rational actors on the world stage who see peace as the best means of achieving self-preservation, the existence of merely a few irrational beings makes maintaining peace impossible. [...]
[...] Empirical Proof: The Shortcomings The United Nations In the previous sections I outlined how Kant's theories of Perpetual Peace are infeasible in an empirical sense because they rely on consistent rational behavior from all members of the world community. In predicting that humans would attempt to band together to form a pacific federation, Kant was correct. However, these federations as we have known them, arguably have failed to achieve the Perpetual Peace that Kant believed they could. In this section I will argue that although humans have attempted to create pacific federations, as Kant believed they would eventually do, these attempts at creating a peaceful world community have failed because of the federations' often-irrational constituents. [...]
[...] In order to achieve a Perpetual Peace, Kant writes that three conditions must first be satisfied across the world. First, that Civil Constitution of Every State Should Be Republican," second, "The Law of Nations Shall be Founded on a Federation of Free States,” and last, that "The Law of World Citizenship Shall Be Limited to Conditions of Universal Hospitality.” Kant writes that these three conditions are necessary in order to create a pacific federation because they promote peaceful decorum and discourage war. [...]
[...] And, by never truly speaking on the matter, he implicitly states that man is rational in the sense that he will always adhere to the most reasonable strategy towards achieving his ultimate goal of self-preservation, and that, because all humans are rational, all humans and all societies will rationally follow the exact same logical steps towards peace that are outlined in Perpetual Peace. It is upon this assumption that Kant builds his entire thesis: he believes that because man is inherently rational and will follow the most logical path towards preserving his self-interest, man will eventually achieve Perpetual Peace by undergoing the logical social processes of peace as outlined in Kant's essay. [...]
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