Due parole sull’inventore del premio Nobel. Alfred Nobel nacque nel 1833 a Stoccolma in Svezia, ingengere ed inventore costrui’ la sua fortuna creando applicazioni e congengni per l’industria bellica. Il suo “ravvedimento pacifista” avvenne quando nel 1888 lesse su un giornale francese la falsa notizia della sua morte: ‘The merchant of death is dead’. In realta’ era suo fratello Ludwig ad essere deceduto, ma questo triste epitaffio lo fece riflettere a lungo sul modo in cui il mondo lo avrebbe ricordato nei secoli a venire. Per evitare cio’, specifico’ nel suo testamento che tutte le sue fortune sarebbero andate tramite premi, agli inventori che si fossero distinti per invenzioni che avessero beneficiato l’umanita’ nel campo della fisica, della chimica, della pace, della medicina e della letteratura. Gli esecutori materiali del testamento di Nobel furono Ragnar Sohlman and Rudolf Lilljequist, i quali crearono la “Nobel Foundation” per gestire i lasciti del benefattore ed organizzare le premiazioni. Col tempo la fondazione e’ stata criticata di portare avanti una “agenda politica” che promuove ideologie di “sinistra” e di essere ancorata ad una visione “eurocentrica” per quanto concerne il premio letterario. Alcuni casi controversi: premi Nobel sono andati a Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Henry Kissinger e Yasser Arafat.
Per riflettere sul concetto di democrazia e pace, suggerisco la lettura del saggio “Liberal Internationalism: Peace, War and Democracy” apparso su Nobel Prize.org, scritto da Michael W. Doyle “Harold Brown Professor” presso la Columbia University “School of International and Public Affairs” e presso la “Columbia Law School” , di cui riporto alcuni stralci;
In order to sort out the varied legacy of liberalism on international relations, we should also recall that Kant’s liberal internationalism, Machiavelli’s liberal imperialism, and Schumpeter’s liberal pacifism rest on fundamentally different views on the nature of man, the state, and international relations.27 Schumpeter’s man is rationalized, individualized, and democratized. He is also homogenized, pursuing material interests “monistically.” Since his material interests lie in peaceful trade, he and the democratic state that he and his fellow citizens control are pacifistic. Machiavelli’s citizens are splendidly diverse in their goals, but they are fundamentally unequal in them as well, seeking to rule or fearing being dominated. Extending the rule of the dominant elite, or avoiding the political collapse of their state, each call for imperial expansion. Kant’s citizens, too, are diverse in their goals, and they are individualized and rationalized. But most importantly, they are capable of appreciating the moral equality of all individuals and of treating other individuals as ends rather than as means.
Unlike Machiavelli’s republics, Kant’s republics are capable of achieving peace among themselves because they exercise democratic caution and because they are capable of appreciating the international rights of foreign republics. These international rights of republics derive from the representation of foreign individuals, who are our moral equals. Unlike Schumpeter’s capitalist democracies, Kant’s republics remain in a state of war with non-republics. Liberal republics see themselves as threatened by aggression from non-republics that are not constrained by representation. And even though wars often cost more than the economic return they generate, liberal republics also are prepared to protect and promote – sometimes forcibly – democracy, private property, and the rights of individuals overseas against non-republics which, because they do not authentically represent the rights of individuals, have no rights to non-interference.
Perpetual peace, Kant says, is the endpoint of the hard journey his republics will take. The promise of perpetual peace, the violent lessons of war, and the experience of a partial peace are proof of the need for and the possibility of world peace. They are also the grounds for moral citizens and statesmen to assume the duty of striving for peace.
Liberal states, founded on such individual rights as equality before the law, free speech and other civil liberties, private property, and elected representation are fundamentally against war, this argument asserts. When citizens who bear the burdens of war elect their governments, wars become impossible. Furthermore, citizens appreciate that the benefits of trade can be enjoyed only under conditions of peace. Thus, the very existence of liberal states, such as the United States, the European Union and others, makes for peace. And so peace and democracy are two sides of the same coin. Despite the contradictions of liberal pacifism and liberal imperialism, I find with Immanuel Kant and other liberal republicans that liberalism does leave a coherent legacy on foreign affairs. Liberal states are different. They are indeed peaceful. But they are also prone to make war. Liberal states, as Kant argued they would, have created a separate peace. They also, as he feared they might, have discovered liberal reasons for aggression. I conclude by arguing that the differences among liberal pacifism, liberal imperialism, and Kant’s liberal internationalism are not arbitrary. They are rooted in differing conceptions of the citizen and of societies and states.
Schumpeter‘s “Sociology of Imperialisms,” which was published in 1919, made a coherent and sustained argument concerning the pacifying (in the sense of non-aggressive) effects of liberal institutions and principle.3 Unlike some of the earlier liberal theorists, who focused on a single feature, such as trade4 or failed to examine critically the arguments they were advancing, Schumpeter saw the interaction of capitalism and democracy as the foundation of liberal pacifism. Schumpeter’s explanation for liberal pacifism was simple. Only war profiteers and military aristocrats gain from wars. No democracy would pursue a minority interest and tolerate the high costs of imperialism. When free trade prevails, “no class” gains from forcible expansion: “foreign raw materials and food stuffs are as accessible to each nation as though they were in its own territory. Where the cultural backwardness of a region makes normal economic intercourse dependent on colonization it does not matter, assuming free trade, which of the ‘civilized’ nations undertakes the task of colonization.”6
In contradistinction to the pacific view of popular government, Thucydides and later Niccolò Machiavelli argue that not only are free republics not pacifistic, they are the best form of state for imperial expansion. Establishing a republic fit for imperial expansion is, moreover, the best way to guarantee the survival of a state. Liberty also results from the popular veto. The powerful few, Machiavelli says, threaten tyranny because they seek to dominate; the mass demands not to be dominated. Their veto thus preserves the liberties of the state.8 But since the people and the rulers have different social characters, the people need to be “managed” by the few to avoid having their recklessness overturn or their fecklessness undermine the ability of the state to expand.9 Thus the senate and the consuls plan expansion, consult oracles, and employ religion to manage the resources that the energy of the people supplies. Rome and Thucydides’ Athens both were imperial republics in the Machiavellian sense.12 The historical record of numerous United States interventions in the postwar period supports Machiavelli’s argument.13 But the current record of liberal pacifism, weak as it is, calls some of Machiavelli’s insights into question. We can conclude either that (1) liberal pacifism has at last taken over with the further development of capitalist democracy, as Schumpeter predicted it would; or (2) the mixed record of liberalism – pacifism and imperialism – indicates that some liberal states are Schumpeterian democracies while others are Machiavellian republics. But before we accept either conclusion, we must consider a third apparent regularity of modern world politics.
Modern liberalism carries with it two legacies. They affect liberal states, not separately, according to whether they are pacifistic or imperialistic, but simultaneously. The first of these legacies is the pacification of foreign relations among liberal states. Beginning in the eighteenth century and slowly growing since then, a zone of peace, which Kant called the “pacific federation” or “pacific union,” began to be established among liberal societies. (More than fifty liberal states currently make up the union. Most are in Europe and North America, but they can be found on every continent.) Here, the predictions of liberal pacifists are borne out: liberal states do exercise peaceful restraint and a separate peace exists among them. This separate peace provides a political foundation for the United States’ crucial alliances with the liberal powers (NATO, the alliances with Japan, Australia and New Zealand). This liberal alliance engendered the unbalanced, preponderance of resources that the “West” enjoyed during the Cold War. This foundation appears to be impervious to economic competition and personal quarrels with liberal allies. It also offers the promise of a continuing peace among liberal states. And, as the number of liberal states increases, it announces the possibility of global peace this side of the grave or world conquest. The apparent absence of war between liberal states, whether adjacent or not, for almost two hundred years may therefore have significance. Similar claims cannot be made for feudal, “fascist,” communist, authoritarian or totalitarian forms of rule;15 nor for pluralistic, or merely similar societies. More significant perhaps, is that when states are forced to decide on which side of an impending world war they will fight, liberal states wind up all on the same side, despite the complexity of the paths that take them there. These characteristics do not prove that the peace among liberals is statistically significant, nor that liberalism is the peace’s sole valid explanation.16 But they do suggest that we consider the possibility that liberals have indeed established a separate peace – but only among themselves. Liberal states have fought numerous wars with non-liberal states.
Kant’s theory of liberal internationalism helps us understand these two legacies. The importance of Immanuel Kant as a theorist of international ethics has been well appreciated.20 But Kant also has an important analytical theory of international politics. Perpetual Peace, written in 1795, helps us understand the interactive nature of international relations. Methodologically, he tries to teach us that we cannot study either the systemic relations of states or the varieties of state behavior in isolation from each other. Substantively, he anticipates for us the ever-widening pacification of a liberal pacific union, explains that pacification, and at the same time suggests why liberal states are not pacific in their relations with non-liberal states. Kant argues that perpetual peace will be guaranteed by the ever-widening acceptance of three “definitive articles” of peace.
The separation of nations is reinforced by the development of separate languages and religions. These further guarantee a world of separate states—an essential condition needed to avoid a “global, soul-less despotism.” Yet, at the same time, they also morally integrate liberal states “as culture grows and men gradually move towards greater agreement over their principles, they lead to mutual understanding and peace.”
Third and lastly, cosmopolitan law adds material incentives to moral commitments. The cosmopolitan right to hospitality permits the “spirit of commerce” sooner or later to take hold of every nation, thus creating incentives for states to promote peace and to try to avert war. Liberal economic theory holds that these cosmopolitan ties derive from a cooperative international division of labor and free trade according to comparative advantage. Each economy is said to be better off than it would have been under autarky; each thus acquires an incentive to avoid policies that would lead the other to break these economic ties. Since keeping open markets rests upon the assumption that the next set of transactions will also be determined by legal rights and agreed upon prices rather than coercion, a sense of mutual security is vital to avoid security-motivated searches for economic autarky”.