An Evaluation of Kant's Theory of Perpetual Peace in the Field of Contemporary Political Philosophy
Journal of Humanities of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Tarbiat Moddares University, Faculty of Humanities,
Tehran,Iran,vol.15, no. 2,Spring 2008
"A Dutch inn-keeper once put this satirical inscription on his signboard, along with the picture of a graveyard. We shall not trouble to ask whether it applies to men in general, or particularly to heads of state (who can never have enough of war), or only to the philosophers who blissfully dream of perpetual peace."
Perpetual peace (1795)
Philosophical sketch of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) on the primary conditions for Peace and co-existence between states is reflected in his Perpetual Peace. In Kant's view, three primary conditions of perpetual peace of a republican government in every country are based on a civil constitution, establishment of a federation of free states, and cosmopolitan right of individuals as world citizens. The foundations of republican system, i.e. freedom for all members of the society as human beings, belonging of each individual to a public code of law as subject, and equality before law as a citizen, are important in Kant's political philosophy. Two primary responsibilities for Kant's federation of free states, i.e. non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, and upholding of a unified front against extraterritorial aggression, suffer from ambiguity and inadequacy, and is therefore vulnerable. Kant's formulation of "a unified world government" is cautionary and conditional; for it can be ended to despotism and decline.
Keywords: Freedom, Democracy, Peace, War, Republic, State, Citizen.
Had the Prussian government declined to assume the leadership of the war against France's revolutionary government, and had the military commanders, in the closing months of 1794, failed to come to the realization that beating the French was not as easy as they had presumed, and thus had to signed the Treaty of Ball in early 1795 , Kant's Perpetual Peace; a Philosophical Sketch may have assumed a different form and he may not have published it in Konigsberg in the same year as that of the signing of the Treaty of Ball. Of course, in the 18th century, Europe was the scene of countless internal and external conflicts and Kant, as a philosopher concerned with the political and military developments of the continent, could not remain indifferent to the catastrophic consequences of war for people and their rights and to the fate of humanity in the larger historical context.
Perpetual Peace bursts with the great, revolutionary, and epoch making ideas of a philosopher whose teaching have the potential of inspiring the crusaders for peace and security for centuries to come. Kant's choice of the year of publication (1795) is in itself an indication of the work's political undertones. He opted to take advantage of the social and political milieu created by the Treaty of Ball and to voice his views- as a loyal citizen of Prussia and yet an advocate of the ideals of the French revolution - on the idea of a perpetual peace founded on justice and international law.
It is quite insignificant that Kant was rushed in his decision to publish the work, since in political matters the picking of the appropriate moment of the essence. The first edition of Perpetual Peace was sold out in a matter of weeks. The second printing was accompanied by two annexes: "About the Conflict between Ethics and Politics Vis-à-vis Perpetual Peace", and "About the Harmony between Politics and Ethics on the Idea of the Transcendental Public Right". The German edition of Perpetual Peace was promptly rendered into English and French and its contents were widely discussed throughout the 19th century.
Kant had previously set forth his views on war and peace and international relations in such tracts as the "Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose", "Conjectures on the Beginning of Human History", and "Theory and Practice". In his Critique of Judgment, Kant makes passing references to the notions of civil society and cosmopolitan society as well as to war and peace. However, his ideas about the latter subject go a long way back. Based on Werlinder's account, the manuscripts, which came to light after Kant's death point to the German philosopher's musings about the subject of perpetual peace dating as far back as 1755-6. Thus, Kant started thinking about war and peace some fourty years prior to the publication of his treatise of Perpetual Peace . He continued to deal with the subject of perpetual peace in his later treatises such as the Metaphysics of Morals and The Contest of Faculties. None the less, on the one hand, Perpetual Peace is his most comprehensive and fundamental treatment of the notions of international law and world order and, on the other hand, it is his most systematic work in the field of political philosophy.
The first part of the present paper begins by an examination of the primary conditions for the realization of a perpetual peace, i.e. the republican system, the federation of free states, and the right to cosmopolitanism, as reflected in Kant's words. In this part, the basis of the republican system, along with whether the federation of free states is a thorough and clear plan or suffer, at least in some parts, from ambiguities, will be examined.
In part two of this paper, the possibility of the establishment of Kant's world government is evaluated. In this part, the main question is as follows: Is the world government in our age an objective and realistic plan or is it an ideal universal state, - a desirable global order – for mankind in the future?
The main argument of part three will be an assessment of Kant's idea of a "Cosmopolitan Society" and its link to a proliferation of universalistic tendencies in today's world. The main purpose in this part is firstly to assess Kant's "Cosmopolitan Society"; secondly, to compare his idea with the contemporary concept of "Global Civil Society", in particular John Rawls' notion of "Realistic Utopia", and finally to examine if there are similarities between these two conceptions.
The Primary Conditions for Perpetual Peace
In Kant's view, perpetual peace will come about after the fulfillment of three primary conditions: (1) a republican form of government as the civil constitution of every country; (2) the rights of people being based on a federation of free states; and (3) the right to cosmopolitanism being limited to the conditions of global hospitality.
The first condition for the realization of perpetual peace is a republican form of government. The establishment of a republican system founded on the constitution of a state is an indication of the fact that the citizens of that state, based on their natural and a priori rights and according to their popular will, enter into a social contract, of which the establishment of a civil society is an actual manifestation. The establishment of a republican system is the crystallization of the will of the populace, every one of whose members is considered as its citizen. Every republican system is based on three fundamental principles: freedom for all members of the society as human beings, each individual's belonging to a single public code of law as a subject, and equality before law as a citizen. Thus, individuals under a republican system are in possession of three different and independent identities: being human and free, being a subject of the state and under a legal system, and being a citizen and equal before the law. Therefore, within a republican system, people as human beings, enjoy freedom; at the same time that they are subjects of the state and follow its rules, have the right to citizenship and are equal before the law.
Perpetual peace will only be realized within the framework of a republican system based on a representative democracy with three independent branches of government. It goes without saying that the establishment of a republican system, with its concomitant conditions and principles, is impossible until people come to possess a certain degree of knowledge and social and political maturity. The mere departure from the natural state, where all are constantly at one another's throat and entrance into a civil environment is by itself no guarantee for the realization of a republican system. The establishment of a civil society is contingent upon rationality, justice, intellectual and moral maturity, and the rule of law.
Kant's Republic is biased upon a constitution, which is formed by individuals through a democratic representation. Thus, every individual involve herself/himself as a citizen in the process of political decision making . In so doing, republican system at the time of peace or war belongs to the people and they accept the consequences of their political decisions.
The first prerequisite for the realization of perpetual peace is the establishment of republican system throughout the world. However, it must be borne in mind that such a system of government is the fruit of immense effort and countless sacrifices. A republican system, like unto a child, enters the world at an instant, however, it takes years of care and education before it reaches a states of maturity .
The second condition for the actualization of perpetual peace is the establishment of a "Federation of Free States". Similar to the case of individuals who prior to the establishment of the civil society, live in a natural state, governments - as independent entities - prior to the formation of a Federation of Free States exist in a natural state. A group of people who come together within the framework of a nation-state may be deemed as individuals who exist in a natural state. Just as individuals, who can be the ultimate arbiters of their decisions and conduct, governments, in a natural environment, can decide about their mode of interaction with other governments. Likewise, similar to individuals whose dealing within a natural state eventually lead to war and conflict, governments in a natural state end up in state of confrontation. Thus, governments in a natural state - a state which may as well be dubbed as the law of the jungle - upon feeling compelled, will enter into hostility with other states. The sole outcome of such a state of affairs will be nothing but increasing destruction and bloodshed, just as its counterpoint among individuals, whose relations will debilitate into criminality and insecurity.
Governments in a natural state view themselves as being in a constant state of war with other countries. However, their relationships are much more complex that those of individuals who live under a natural state. Therefore, individuals and governments existing under a natural state have similarities and divergences. Governments, before their accession to the Federation of Free States, deal with three types of relationships with each other: (1) the mutual relationship between two states; (2) the relationship between their members; and (3) the relationship between the people of one state with the government of another. Emergence from a warlike state of affairs has to occur within a framework of adherence to international law as a safeguard for the rights of states in their dealings with one another.
What is unique in Kant's system is the combination of law and public at all levels. This is what Patrick Riley has explained in his Kant's Political Philosophy as "the mutual need of republican constitutionalism and international federalism for each other, and the dependence of constitutionalism itself on peace through international lawfulness" .
Now, based on Kant's political thought, one may ask: why should countries join the federation of free states? Although Kant in his perpetual peace describes states as 'moral persons' which have, like ordinary persons, obligations towards each others, nonetheless, he realistically builds his doctrine on motives of self – interest. Admittedly, for Kant, this is a matter of preference; for according to his moral philosophy, each state (like each person) should treat another in such a way that it would like that state treats it. Kant formulated this Golden Rule as the Categorical Imperative . Therefore, Roger J. Sullivan is right while referring to Kant's preference, writes: "He believed that the same self-interest that could drive individuals from the state of nature to a juridical society will drive nations toward an international federation, a league of nations in the form of a worldwide republic of sovereign powers".
In his Metaphysics of Morals, Kant enumerates the factors affecting international rights. First, in the field of foreign relations, governments behave as "lawless savages with no regards for justice and rights" . Second, this state of affairs even if free of actual warfare is, nonetheless, to the advantage of powerful states and thus is inherently unjust, for no government is eager to outperform others in terms of seizing the moral high ground. Therefore, states have to emerge from the natural state. Third, the establishment of a Federation of Free States is a necessary measure so that, within an environment of non-interference, governments would be able to provide mutual security against foreign invasion. Fourth, the Federation of Free States must have no leader. It should be drawn up along the lines of a union, where countries would be free to join as members or withdraw when they see fit .
Countries join the Federation of Free States in order to leave behind their erstwhile natural state of lawlessness and aggression, and to attain to security and stability. Kant defines two primary responsibilities for the federation, if it is to succeed in its task of providing security for its member states. The first has to do with non-interference in the internal affairs of member stats and the second is the upholding of a unified front against extraterritorial aggression. It is quite evident that the fulfillment of the latter duty is only attainable through an acceptance of the former within the field of international relations. In other words, until governments subscribe to the notion of non-interference in one another's internal affairs, the idea of a mutual defensive pact is a non-issue, regardless of the aggressor being a member of the federation or an outsider. At the heart of Kant's idea of a world federation lies the universally accepted principle that the invasion of a member state of an international union is tantamount to the invasion of all its members.
Of course, Kant is silent about the possibility of the breach of the principle of non-interference by one member of the federation against another. Neither does he clarify whether invasion against the federation members is limited to those from the outside, or whether it may happen through a transgression of the non-interference principle by a member state which chooses to enter into war against its fellow federation member. It is not clear what should be the reaction of other members toward the aggressor? Should they merely suffice by repelling the belligerent? Or should they enter into action against it? Should they opt for the latter option, what are the mechanisms and executive instruments? And if they choose to remain idle in the face of such aggression what are the guarantees that such violations would not occur again, something which would eventually undermine the federation and lead to a crisis of legitimacy. Kant offers no clarifications to such possibilities in his political philosophy and remains silent about the possibility of an unstable federation, which is to be the upholder of perpetual peace.
A world federation differs from a "peace agreement". A peace agreement may serve as a means of cessation of hostilities, but it will not change the conditions, which may be used as a pretext for starting a new war. Kant calls on all people and governments to embrace the notion of rights and ethical responsibility as a means of eliminating war and conflict. Reason, as the ultimate source of ethical legislation, on the one hand, levels an absolute condemnation against war and, on the other hand, establishes peace as a pressing obligation. To establish peace, there has to be a common agreement among nations, which Kant referred as a Pacific Federation. A peace agreement may eventuate in war, while a Pacific Federation will seek to end all wars and bring about the transcendental good. In Kant's view, this federation, which assumes an air of justice and morality, aspires not to power like a typical government, but solely intends to maintain the freedom of all countries, including those of the member states . Just as in a law based civil society in which individual freedoms come into harmony, in the world federation governments abandon the idea of infringing upon one another's sphere of freedom and contribute to an atmosphere of peaceful coexistence.
In Kant's Critique of Judgment the notion of a world federation is reflected in the idea of "cosmopolitan whole". Based on Kant's views in that work, nature reaches its ultimate goal only when mutual relations are brought into the framework of a civil society in a way that human freedoms are not in a position of conflict. Under such circumstances, natural abilities will attain to their highest potentials. The requisite for the creation of such conditions is the establishment of a cosmopolis as a safeguard against countries posing threats to each other. Should the ambition and lust for wealth and position prompt government leaders to throw obstacles in the way of establishment of such a cosmopolis, war and destruction will inevitably dominate the course of events .
In his A Theory of Justice, Rawls, taking inspiration from Kant's views about governments in the natural state, expands his theory of the "Original Position" of individuals to that of the "representatives of various nations". Based on Rawls' view these representatives must formulate the fundamental principles, which are to serve as the basis for the resolution of disputes among governments. Just as Rawls placed free and rational individuals in the primal state in a position of having no access to presuppositions so that they could come up with fundamental principles for the establishment of a just political system, he goes on to place these representatives in the same hypothetical situation . He Notes:
"I assume that these representatives are deprived of various kinds of information. While they know that they represent different nations each living under the normal circumstances of their own society, its power and strength in comparison with other nations, nor do they know their place in their own society. Once again the contracting parties in this case representatives of states, are allowed only enough knowledge to make a rational choice to protect their interests but not so much that the more fortunate among them can take advantage of their special situation" .
Rawls considers this original position among nations to be a fair one, and one that neutralizes the effects of accidental events and any tendencies toward a historical fate - which has a unilateral aspect. Rawls considers the foundations of establishment of justice among nations to be the principles that are adopted in the original position. These principles partake of a political nature, since they govern the general policies among nations .
In Kant's political philosophy, the idea of federation - which develops in steps so as to embrace all nations and to lead them toward a perpetual peace - is one that is capable of external actualization. To Kant, any powerful and enlightened nation that establishes a republican system of government - a government with an inherent tendency to peace - is one that contributes to the building of a world federation. Upon closer scrutiny, it becomes clear that Kant's search for peace begins at home before reaching beyond the borders of one's homeland. To Wolfgang Kersting, the link between the republican government and the Federation of Free States lies in the ancient affinity between the notions of peace and justice. He holds that Kant's idea of perpetual peace is founded upon the three notions of right, justice, and peace:
"Kant's concept of peace is a secularized version of the traditional connection of pax and iustitia, peace and justice, which characterizes classical as well as medieval political thought. It asserts a connection between justice within the state and peacefulness between states, and organizes peace as a system for the regulation of conflicts according to the standard of requirements of justice that are acknowledged on all sides" .
Peace and security will remain a distant dream unless there come into existence a republic that would be the result of a confluence between rationality, rule of law, and high moral values; a confluence that would be the manifestation of the maturity and greatness of a nation. There first has to be a transformation in the natural state of individuals (nations) to a civil government before the natural state of governments can be transformed into a civil status, which will culminate in the establishment of the world federation.
In his "Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose", Kant examines the issue of governments' departure from the natural state and adherence to a universal mechanism from a different perspective and considers it as a necessity. Just as man's proclivity for a societal framework, in spite of his unsociability and even averseness to society, pushed him to put behind him the natural state with all its violence, insecurity and uncertainty and to embrace the civil society, the fear of war, insecurity and destruction prompts governments to come into terms with the necessity of the establishment of a world federation and to obey the rules laid down by it. To Kant the founding of a world federation is the inevitable step toward the achievement of perpetual peace, though he points out that the project is multi-staged and is to be carried out over time .
Kant considers the establishment of a unified world government to be a perilous project, incongruous with existing realities. The vast reach of such government would call for stringent order so that the affairs would be managed smoothly and efficiently. Thus, such a government has the potential of easily degenerating into the most "fearful despotism". On the other hand, the vast dominion of such a government would render actual enforcement impracticable. Therefore, attempts at safeguarding the security of individuals, groups and various associations would push the government toward a war-like state .
Of course, in his Perpetual Peace Kant stops short of considering the realization of a unified world government as an impossible undertaking. He even goes as far as terming the "world republic" as a "positive idea". Elaborating his idea, Kant notes that based on the current notions of international right the "positive idea of a world republic is unrealizable" since it is not desired by nations. Thus, when humanity reaches to such level of enlightenment, rationality, thoughtfulness and maturity as to become capable of establishing a unified world government, Kant's "positive idea" will have become a reality.
Not only in 18th century, i.e. during the Age of Enlightenment while Kant raised the idea of world government, but also in the first decade of 21st century, in our age, international relations give no positive sign of embracing a world government. Analyzing of Kant's argument on world government, Hans Reiss tries to formulate the main fundamental problems of Kant's doctrine. In Reiss' view:
"Kant himself argued that the central power of a world state would find it more and more difficult to exercise control and protect its citizens the further away its territories were from the centre. The remoter territories would seek to become involved in war with their neighbours. Thus, a world state would not lead to perpetual peace at all but to further strife. Moreover, the very attempt to set up a world state would be unlawful, because it would interfere with the constitutional arrangements of existing states. No one has right to surrender its own sovereignty and abandon its constitution" .
In addition to Reiss' remarks on the obstacles of achieving world government, which are related to the matters of security and the construction of states, there are other barriers in this direction. In contemporary world, despite of realistic phenomena such as global issues, international organizations, and globalization, people in different part of the world live with different cultures, traditions, religions, etc. , and would like to keep their national, regional and continental identities alive. Therefore, Kant's world government remains as an ideal for peoples in nation – states around the glob.
Kant was well aware on these complex barriers towards a world government in his time. What he describes in the "conclusion" of The metaphysics of Morals is fundamental for understanding the main purpose of theorizing the world government. Kant writes:
"moral-practical reason within us pronounces the following irresistible veto: there shall be no war. […..] thus, it is no longer a question of whether we are not perhaps mistaken in our theoretical judgment if we assume that it is. On the contrary, we must simply act as if it could really come about [……] even if the fulfillment of this pacific intention were forever to remain a pious hope […] for it is our duty to do so" .
In his The Law of Peoples, with a view to the impossibility of the establishment of unified world government within the framework of the present conditions of the world and bearing in mind Kant's politico-philosophical heritage, Rawls calls for the formation of a "realistic utopia". He considers political injustice as the root cause of evils that plague human societies, such as unfair war, oppression, religious persecution, slavery and the like. On the contrary, the implementation of fair and noble policies checks political injustice. Such evils are evenly rooted out through the establishment of just fundamental institutions. Rawls is hopeful that free nations through their respect for the law of peoples would contribute to the realization of this realistic utopia .
Rawls' realistic utopia bears a close affinity to Kant's federation of states. The realization of this utopia is an inevitable necessity for the nations of the world, for otherwise the true meaning of human existence on earth would become hollow. By underscoring Kant's remark that "If justice perishes, then it is no longer worthwhile for men to live upon the earth", Rawls tries to drive the point home that whenever it becomes impossible to establish a just society encompassing all nations "whose members subordinate their powers to reasonable aims" and whenever men in an amoral, self-centered and irrevocable manner become pessimistic about the righteousness of humankind, then "one might ask, with Kant, whether it is worthwhile for human beings to live on the earth?".
In any event, Kant and Rawls are of one voice regarding the impossibility of the establishment of a unified world government under the current circumstances and they both consider the realization of solidarity, cooperation and peace among nations as only achievable within a rational and equitable framework and based on a realistic and pragmatic model.
Now that the realization of an ideal unified world government is proven as impossible, one should abandon its implementation - while keeping it in view as an idea - for the adoption of a "negative substitute", i.e. the establishment of a world federation; one to which countries can voluntarily accede or from which they can freely break away. In other words, membership in this international institution is not mandatory. In his writings, Kant refers to such a federation as a "union of several states", which is tasked with the maintenance of peace, or as a "permanent congress of states", in which all neighboring countries can freely participate . To show his flexibility and openness in the designing of a real mechanism for the preservation of peace, Kant goes as far as underlining the necessity for the establishment of a "universal union of states". Thus, he recognizes the diversity of international civil institutions each of which can embrace a particular set of nations. For instance, he refers to the State General at The Hague, set up in the first half of 18th century, which was a tribunal for adjudicating cases of transgression committed by one European country against another. The member states tended to view Europe as a unified federal government and the States General as the arbiter of their differences . In his Metaphysics of Morals, Kant considers the world federation as a "permanent congress of governments" and as the only vehicle for the realization of the "idea of general international right" which empowers nations to settle their differences within a civil framework, instead of resorting to barbarous methods and military conflict .
From Cosmopolitan Society to Global Civil Society
Subsequent to the establishment of the "republican system" and the "federation of free states", the third condition for achieving perpetual peace is providing citizens with "cosmopolitan right". Human relations on earth are founded on right. People can mingle and transact and consolidate such interactions without being treated as enemies. The right-based unity and solidarity among men can lead to the creation of specific laws, which can frame individuals' relations and transactions. Such a right is dubbed by Kant as "cosmopolitan right".
In the days of Kant, advancements in navigation technology brought closer together countries which had hitherto been separated by vast oceans. This gave rise to a booming international trade, which, nonetheless, led to occasional conflicts arising from certain countries' attempts to annex foreign territories. However, such acts of abuse did not pose an obstacle in the way of people entering other societies and interacting with their fellow humans. Of course, even if they were herdsmen or hunters, they could not resort to force as a means of establishing themselves in a particular land. By giving prominence to the notion of compact as the legitimizing instrument for utilization of others' lands, Kant undercuts the idea of exploitation and colonization of less civilized people and their deception into giving up their rights to their motherlands. He enumerates the pretexts used by colonizers in their attempt at dominating the world, e.g. to bestow culture on uncivilized nations, or to refine the personalities of the deprived with a view to reforming their children and notes that neither of such humanitarian motives is sufficient to "wash away the stain of injustice from the means which are used to implement them".
In Perpetual Peace, Kant speaks of "universal hospitality" within the framework of cosmopolitan right. It should be borne in mind that here he is not concerned with a type of humanitarianism but is worried about right. To him, hospitality has a pejorative connotation, since it normally implies "the right of a stranger not to be treated with hostility when he arrives on someone else's territory […], if this can be done without causing his death, but he must not be treated with hostility". An alien cannot expect to be given the treatment of a guest, but he may expect the "right to a shelter", i.e. the right to enter and dwell in another land. Thus, the people of one continent can visit other continents and establish peaceful mutual relations that can eventually he framed within universal laws.
In his Metaphysics of Morals, Kant elaborates citizens' relations with their fellow countrymen as well as with other countries based on right, the right of people to migrate and the right of governments to exile. First, every citizen has the right to migrate and no government can take away this right, since citizens are not the properties of governments. The citizen can also carry with him his movable property. Second, governments have the right to encourage immigration and establish foreigners as immigrants in their countries, even if the natives look on the new arrivals in a less than honorable light. Third, should a citizen commit a crime in a manner that other citizens would become his accomplices against the government, the government has the right to exile him to a foreign land. Kant does not consider such an individual - who along with others is guilty of collective resistance against the government - as being entitled to the right of citizenship. Fourth, the head of government has the right to expel this criminal individual from the country and to relinquish the responsibility of providing him with security .
Such a process will bring the people of this planet closer and will culminate into a cosmopolitan institution. Nations emergence into a global society must go through several stages. However, in Kant's political philosophy:
"The idea of a cosmopolitan right is therefore not fantastic and overstrained; it is a necessary complement to the unwritten code of political and international right, transforming it into a universal right of humanity. Only under this condition can we flatter ourselves that we are continually advancing towards a perpetual peace".
Kant is of the contention that after many revolutions and their consequences, finally, cosmopolitan life, as the ultimate destiny of nature, will meet with universal consent. The cosmopolis is the country and the dwelling place where the innate potentials of humanity come to fruition .
In The Contest of Faculties, Kant sets forth his final thoughts on the cosmopolitan society with a view to the future of humanity. In response to the question that seeks to determine the benefits that come to man as a result of his progress, Kant chooses to underscore man's ethical conduct. He envisions a world in which those who hold the reins of power exhibit less violence and where obedience to law becomes more prevalent. In such a world, cooperation spreads, conflicts subside, and trust and loyalty assume a prominent place. Love of dignity and virtue, on the one hand, and self-awareness regarding advantage and benefit, on the other, contribute to the expansion of individual relations until they culminate in a "cosmopolitan society". To Kant, the development of human relations and expansion of man's abilities are not tantamount to a rise in the ethical capacities of individual human beings, since that would call for a new type of creation or be effected through a supernatural influence. We ought not have high expectations from men, otherwise we will be faced with politicians who would view human progress as a whimsical dream .
In her Lectures on Kant's Political Philosophy, Hannah Arendt in the course of elaborating the notion of "citizen of the world", which she thinks is an idealist concept, defines citizenship as having responsibilities, obligations, and rights. Arendt considers these notions to be only meaningful when confined to a particular geographical area. She does not subscribe to Kant's notion of a cosmopolitan citizen and views it as a "spectator of the world". It is unclear why in her view one can be a citizen when placed within a particular geographical context, and bereft of citizenship when seen against the backdrop of the entire planet? Arendt holds that "Kant knew quite well that a world government would be the worst tyranny imaginable". Arendt's mistake is in blurring the distinction between the two Kantian notions of "cosmopolitan citizenship" and that of "unified world government", which prompts her to consider the legitimacy of the former to hinge on the establishment of the latter. In fact, Kant bases his idea of cosmopolitanism on the "federation of free states", which is a separate concept from that of a unified world government.
As regards meeting the three necessary conditions for the realization of perpetual peace, i.e. the republican system, the world federation, and the cosmopolitan society, Kant offers a single method: a steady, gradual movement in several stages. Precipitate action, revolutionary moves, and stepping up the pace of developments would inevitably give rise to disruption and chaos. The pace of movement toward perpetual peace has to be commensurate with the extent of a people's or government's proclivity to culture, respect for law, and rationality, otherwise it will be doomed to failure.
The idea of "cosmopolitan right" or that of the establishment of a cosmopolitan society could not be seen as anything more than a utopian dream by the people of the 18th century. But for us at the threshold of the 21st century, with the great revolutions in communications and technology and the collapse of many barriers leading to an ever shrinking world, to the point of creating a global village, the idea of a cosmopolis is not as farfetched when viewed within the context of a "world civil society". Trans-industrial developments, vast information highways, and variegated, complex and intertwined communication networks between nations and governments throughout the world have given the mankind a new identity. In addition to being citizens of their own countries and having their religious, national, and regional identities, people all over the globe have come to view themselves as members of a world civil society. Membership in a cosmopolis has brought about a new identity for the people of our age, one that is accompanied by new responsibilities distinct from those of the citizen of a country or even a particular region of the world.
Through the adoption and implementation of which principles and criteria does a "citizen of the world" acquire the identity accorded by cosmopolitanism? A number of political philosophers have set forth views with regard to these principles. In his new book, The Law of Peoples, John Rawls examines several of these ideas and comes up with the following eight principles, which he terms the "principles of justice among free and democratic peoples:
"1. Peoples are free and independent, and their freedom and independence are to be respected by other peoples.
2. Peoples are to observe treaties and undertakings.
3. Peoples are equal and are parties to the agreements that bind them.
4. Peoples are to observe a duty of non-intervention.
5. Peoples have the right of self-defense but no right to instigate war for reasons other than self-defense.
6. Peoples are to honor human rights.
7. Peoples are to observe certain specified restrictions in the conduct of war.
8. Peoples have a duty to assist other peoples living under unfavorable conditions that prevent their having a just or decent political and social regime".
These principles, which encompass the most fundamental human obligations, can readily serve as a compact that would facilitate coexistence and dynamic and constructive cooperation among the citizens of the world. These principles, in addition to being informed by humanitarianism and rationality, are characterized by objectivity, comprehensiveness, and universality: freedom, equality, independence, adherence to treaties, non-interference in others' internal affairs, the right to self-defense, respect for human rights, consideration of rights, law and ethics in the conduct of war and finally empathy for and assistance to other fellow human beings deprived of equitable political and social systems. All of the above principles - excluding the fourth and the second part of the fifth, which imply negative notions - are positive in their content. Needless to say, the implementation of these eight-fold principles, as Cosmopolis teachings, would be possible when nations, as citizens, will have achieved freedom and democracy. According to Kant's political philosophy, it is only after going through this stage that men are presented with the opportunity of attaining the status of "citizen of the world".
The citizen of the world, or in Kant's terminology, the member of the cosmopolitan society, believes that more than any other time in human history he belongs to a global family and that his fate is irrevocably tied to those of other denizens of the planet. As if billions of people living in today's world are all passengers in a ship, with a common fate, playing the tumultuous waves of a vast ocean.
Kant's three conditions of achieving perpetual peace i.e. the republican system, the federation of free states, and the cosmopolitan society are ultimately based upon a democratic foundation. Individuals form a republic through a democratic process on the basis of a constitution. States make decision whether or not to join the federation of free states. Individuals are free to hold membership of the cosmopolitan society.
As it is evaluated, Kant's federation of free states is vulnerable, because of some ambiguities in its structure and rules; although he takes advantage of morality and motives of self-interest for its justification. Since there are serious obstacles to establish a unified word government, which partly emerges from pluralistic nature of societies in the world, and partly comes from its complex structure, the world government still is an ideal among the unattainable desires of mankind.
The concept of global civil society and Rawls' notion of "Realistic Utopia" in this direction, remind us Kant's idea of "Cosmopolitan Society" in which, individuals identify themselves as world citizens. Of course, this characteristic is not in contradiction with individuals' national, regional and continental identities on the one hand, and cultural, social and political differences on the other.
 In 1790-1795 the government of Russia, Prussia, and Austria twice divided the Polish territory among themselves. During the same period, Katherine, the Queen of Russia, made several attempts at sparking conflict between the latter two and France. But since the leaders of Prussia and Austria were suspicious of Katherine's motives, France was spared their unified attack. In 1792 the Prussian king Fredrick II fearing his rivals diverted his march toward Paris and set out for Warsaw. After a breief encounter at Valmy he gave up his design for France and at the head of a vast army headed for Poland, while leaving a small contingent with the alliance fighting the French. In the early 1795, when Fredrick received the news that Austria and Russia were about to divide Poland without counting him in, he rushed to mend fences with France through signing the Treaty of Ball. See Albert Maley and Issac Jules, History of the 18th Century: The French Revolution and the Empire of Napoleon, PP.492-3.
 Armstrong, A.C. (1931), 'Kant's Philosophy of Peace and War', The Journal of Philosophy, vol. XXVIII, no. 80, April, P.197.
 Williams, Howard (1983), Kant's Political Philosophy, New York, St. Martin's press, P.16.
 Kant, Immanuel (1991), Perpetual Peace, trans. by H.B. Nisbet, in Kant; Political Writings, ed. by H.S. Reiss, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, PP.99-102.
 Riley Patrick (1983), Kant's Political Philosophy, New Jersey, Rowman & Littefield, P.134.
 "Categorical Imperative" as a key concept of Kant's moral philosophy is explained in two main sources of Kant: Critique of Practical Reason, and Groungwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.
 Sullivan, J.Roger (1997), An Introduction to Kant's Ethics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, P.21.
 Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, Reiss, P. 165.
 Kant, Immanuel, Perpetual Peaces, Reiss, P.104.
 Kant, Immanuel (1986), Critique of Judgment, trans. by James Creed Meredith, Oxford, Oxford University press, P.96.
 Mahmoudi, Seyed Ali (1997), "An Evaluation of Aspects of Freedom in John Rawls' A Theory of Justice, in Justice and Freedom; Discourses on the philosophy of Politics, Tehran, Andish-e Mo'aser, [Persian text], pp. 105-136.
 Rawls, John (1986), A Theory of Justice, Oxford, Oxford University press, P.378.
 Kerstin, Wolfgang (1992), 'Politics, Freedom, and Order: Kant's Political Philosophy', The Cambridge Companion to Kant, ed. by Paul Guyer, Cambridge, Cambridge University press, P.363.
 Kant, Immanuel, 'Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose' Reiss, P.46.
 Kant, Immanuel, 'Theory and Practice' Reiss, P.90.
 Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, Reiss, P.171.
 Kant, Immanuel, Perpetual Peace, Reiss, P.105.
 Reiss, Hans, 'Postscript', Kant; political writings, P.271.
 Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, Reiss, P.174.
 Rawls, John (1999), The Law of Peoples, U.S.A., Harvard University Press, P.141.
 Ibid., P.128.
 Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, Reiss, P.171.
 Ibid., P.170.
 Ibid., P.171.
 Ibid. P.172.
 Kant, Immanuel, Perpetual peace, Reiss, P.105.
 Kant, Immanuel, The Metaphysics of Morals, Reiss, pp.160-1.
 Kant, Immanuel, Perpetual Peace, Reiss, pp. 107-8.
 Kant, Immanuel, 'Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose', Reiss, P.49.
 Kant, Immanuel, The contest of Faculties, Reiss, P.188.
 Arendt, Hannah (1995), Lecture on Kant's Political Philosophy, ed. by Ronald Beiner, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, P.44.
 Rawls, John, The Law of Peoples, P.37.