January 21, 2006

IR - German Politics

Class, let's talk about this - remember, the Peace of Westphalia was the root of the current definition of the state. What does this article assume about the different cultural/political views of Europe and the US regarding what the 'state' means?


Blogger Chris Anderson said...

What I had after reading this article was far more questions than answers. First, I found the author, Alexander Gauland, pretentious in assuming he knows the what the common German feels about his or her "German state tradition." Assuming he is American from his use of 'we' when refering to America, and claiming to know of "the traditional way of life in the Republican Midwest." Secondly, he refers to the French-Soviet alliance and compares that to American-German foriegn policy, can't disagree with that more!

Although military alliances are part of that policy, it goes far beyond just that. Thirdly, why is it a bad idea to keep ideals out of politics? Isn't that what most Americans base their strong opinions on anyway? Morals, ideals, principles, beliefs, etc. I'm shocked that such an expert in Republican Midwestern ways of life didn't think that.

Reguarding what 'state' means, the Peace of Westphalia, in my opinion, maybe the inception of Western diplomacy of sovereign nation-states, but does not accurately infere what the present European definition of 'state' is. This beginning was only that, the nation-state has grown in a diplomatic Darwinian universe, with occasions of evolutionary leaps, i.e. the end of WWII.

Perhaps the Peace of Westphalia gave life to nations ruled by the people and first demanded international recognition of their sovereignty, however this identity has changed so dramatically it is hardly recognizable from its infantile beginnings. In conclussion, one can draw lines from the Treaties of Münster and Osnabrück to modern European Nationhood, but to juxtapose the two as inherently similar is a grave overstatement.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Laurila said...

Gauland is a relatively well known German Conservative writer. He is not uncontroversial (who is?), but there are for sure a lot Conservatives of that kind that don't assert themselves to be liberals (or neo-liberals) who agrees more or less with him.

My personal impression of him are ambivalent. I think he is good at articulating his strain of thoughts, but I do often feel that it doesn't matter if 20% of the thinking people in Continental Europe make the same false conclusions that he does, it doesn't become more right for that.

He has during a couple of year written repeatedly on the theme of internal tensions within the continental Right between "true" conservatives and US-inspired libertarians and "neo"-liberals.

His analyzes of this tension is relevant, and is relevant also for the trans-Atlantic and intra-European crisis that became particularly visible in the run up to the invasion of Iraq, but that has much deeper roots and longer shadow.

6:36 PM  

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