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Economy / FinancePolitics / Int'l RelationsPhilosophy  │  Qualitätskontrolle  │ Blog                Blog
Nation-state versus collective security arrangements
Dialogue with the Alter Ego on a conservative view of the international community, first drafted on Jul. 19,
published on Aug. 9, 2013
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Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Just for intellectual purposes, let’s talk about something that isn’t
really on the front-burner these days?
Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd): Sure. Fire away!

AE: Is Noah denkt™ aware of a British academic and journalist by the name of John Laughland?
Nd: Somewhat. He apparently is the Director of Studies at a Paris-based think-tank called the Institute of
Democracy and Cooperation which is being funded by Russian contributions. He occasionally appears on
France24’s “Debate” program. And his core argument is that all this talk about the supranational reality of a so-
called “international community” which administers and exercises an unbiased global rule of law is bogus since in
the end it is the nation-state and the nation-state only that defines the ultimate point of reference for personal
security, social cohesion and political allegiance. In other words, it is his view that all matters of international
relations are ultimately dictated by individual and national power interests and that there isn’t such a thing as a
morally neutral and supreme will of the international community, since the latter tends to be manipulated by the
most powerful entity in that community.

AE: In deed, it is a very Hobbes-like position that he defends. And what does Noah denkt™ make of this
reasoning?
Nd: It strikes us as being overly British.

AE: Why do you say that?
Nd: Because not all countries could stand to benefit as much from a return to the old 19th century power
jockeying as Great Britain would.
Germany, for instance, would soon find itself reduced again to having to live with
the fact that most of its neighbors rapidly gang up against it for being an unwelcome bully in the center of the
continent. Or, take Belgium as a less conspicuous witness in this. Belgium would obviously fall back into a
frightening scenario where its most powerful neighbors are constantly competing to challenge the neutrality of the
small, in-between Belgian state. It, hence, doesn’t seem a viable alternative for quite a few countries to give up
the United Nations based idea of collective security or the Pax Americana as Mr.Laughland would probably call it.  

AE: So, what you are saying is that it is in the interest of certain nation-states to forego some of its independence
by submitting itself to a collective security arrangement. But doesn’t that validate Mr. Laughland’s theory
according to which it is ultimately the nation-state itself that takes these decisions on the basis of its own
individual interest?
Nd: Sure. But does that mean that nations cannot reach just and balanced judgments when participating in
collective security arrangements?

AE: Well, it certainly means that they accept to dilute their primary necessities.
Just look at the erosion of family
structures that these liberal and open societies suffer from when submitting themselves to a standardized
Western yardstick.
Nd: And yet, these countries have managed to raise their life expectancy rate, their respect for minorities, for
women, for animal rights, and last but not least, they have managed to maintain peace in Europe for a very long
time. It is not such a bad bargain which these countries have achieved by accepting a common yardstick, is it?

AE: Mr.Laughland would probably argue that the final vote on all this is still out!
Nd: Obviously, you can always argue that. And in the mean time, life is passing you by while you keep waiting for
something to happen in an undecided future.

AE: But this project itself continues to wait for something to happen that hasn’t materialized as expected. And
while success and recognition for us are still very much wanting, life is passing us by too. In other words, why
criticize a principled stand
when you yourself have chosen to be equally principled in your own approach.
Nd:  Because it seems reasonable to us to defend the relative autonomy and calm in which we continue to
operate our long-shot project. Traditional nation-states would probably not have granted us this tolerance and
leeway.

AE: How so?
Nd: Well, if history is an adequate judge here
they would probably have exercised a closer control over our
choices by means of invoking traditional family and religious values.

AE: This is an exaggeration and unnecessary scaremongering.
Nd. We don’t think so.
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Keywords:

nation-state versus collective security arrangements, future of the nation-state, moral supremacy of the
United Nations, biased international community, relevance of supranational concepts in international
relations, national interest versus international community interests, legitimacy of supranational
authorities
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