Professeur émérite (philosophie) à l’Université de Paris 10, Nanterre

Professor, Critical Theory, University of California, Irvine


Europe : Vanishing Mediator


Being invited by the Humboldt-Universität Berlin to give this year’s first public George L. Mosse Lecture is one of the greatest honors that I have received.[1]  It is also for me a moving opportunity to return to Berlin and meet dear friends and excellent colleagues.  Finally, it gives me the possibility to present before you some hypotheses on the function that European intellectuals can perform and the ideas that they should advocate in the current international situation, where the very project of a European community of nations and citizens is challenged.  For all these generous gifts I want to thank you very sincerely.

I am especially pleased to speak under the auspices of George Mosse.  I became aware of the importance of his work rather late in my life. Since reading Nationalism and Sexuality and his other books dealing with the relationships between nationalism, race, gender, and sexuality in the building of modern communities, I have always considered him a master of historical and political anthropology.[2]  I have also realized the extent to which his life and career, marked by the consequences of the European catastrophe of the twentieth century, and shared among the universities of three continents, form an epitome of our cosmopolitan background and a key to the intelligence of our present. I draw a permanent inspiration from them.

Allow me to begin these considerations on the uncertainties of Europe’s political identity at the beginning of the 21st century by referring to celebrated formulations from another European writer who, although belonging to a previous generation and writing along quite different lines, nevertheless shared some of the same experiences, namely exile and antifascist intellectual commitment: I am thinking of Thomas Mann.  As we all know, Mann’s attitude towards politics completely changed between the First World War and the period of the rise of Nazism leading to the Second World War.  In 1918 he published Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen  (Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man), in which he rejected “democracy” along with “politics” in the name of the alleged opposition between the spiritual notion of “culture” developed in Germany and the intellectualized notion of “civilization” developed in France.[3]  But already in 1935, in Nice, before the “Comité de cooperation intellectuelle” (European Committee for Intellectual Cooperation) he launched the famous call: “Achtung Europa!” (Beware Europe!), and in a 1939 essay, “Zwang zur Politik” (literally, “No Escape from Politics,” translated into English during the war under the title “Culture and Politics”), he returned to the idea of the identity of “politics” and “democracy,” but drew opposite conclusions.  In this essay Mann criticized any concept of culture synonymous with “political passivity” (politische Willenslosigkeit), and called on intellectuals not to abandon the peoples and the cause of mankind at the hour of peril.[4]  I find it especially remarkable that, in the case of Mann as of Mosse, it took the detour of exile to uncover the character of the European Civil War, and draw therefrom universalist conclusions.  Critical consciousness seems to be closely associated here with dis-location or de-centering.

Should we say that, in the current situation, where it is again a question of waging wars between “cultures” and “civilizations,” an “apolitical” temptation is on the agenda among intellectuals?  This is not true without exceptions, to be sure, but it does seem present, particularly in the form of resignation, even despair, a feeling of powerlessness, which seem to have grown out of two main causes.  One is the sensation that—in the age of globalization—the complexity of historical and social processes has escaped the grip of collectively debated strategies and resolution of conflicts (and this is one of the reasons why conflicts tend to become catastrophic).  Another is the conviction—to which some great intellectual figures of the past century themselves paradoxically contributed—that the field of intellectual intervention is now mainly “expertise,” i.e. a specific and specialized one, which makes it difficult or impossible to address global or universal questions if one does not want to fall prey to the media type of sheer opinion.[5]  There are remarkable exceptions to this nihilistic resignation, undoubtedly, in Germany, in France, and in many other parts of the world.  Powerful voices of artists, writers, philosophers from Europe, America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, speak and win audience.  But there is an uncertainty as to how to recreate a civic function for intellectuals and intellectuality in general.

In this lecture I want to advocate the right and duty of intellectuals to address urgent political questions with their own instruments, calling on them to reject any “non-political” temptation.  But I want also to take into consideration some of the reasons that account for this temptation, one of them being the uneasiness with cultural identity, and the difficulty of giving a geographical, cultural, or institutional definition of the “place” or “position” where intellectuals are working, where they could “meet,” where they write and talk from.  This place has become,more than ever, intermediary, transitory, and dialogic.  And it has to take into account the irreversible effects of the globalization of culture—very different from a simple uniformization indeed.  It cannot keep the traditional figure of a double but fixed location that Michel Foucault called the “empirico-transcendental doublet”[6]: a particular location in the nation, the idiom, the academy, and a universal one in the ideal community of mankind.  Nor can we believe that, by its sole virtue, the internet will provide a technical solution for the problem of the constitution of the “global public sphere” by granting access for all to a single system of communications and data banks.  Both our singularity and our universality must adopt more complicated patterns.  Intellectuals must become “nomadic,” traveling physically and mentally across borders.  They must take risks to elaborate the discourses and patterns of their new trans-national function.

When I speak of the right and duty of the intellectuals, I am specifically thinking of European intellectuals.  In the world today, we are already perceived and addressed not only as “French” or “German,” but as “European” intellectuals.  In my opinion however, European intellectuals do not sufficiently exercise their capacity to cross political and cultural borders, translate discourses (other than specialized ones) within and beyond the official limits of the European Union, set the agenda of European politics before the Öffentlichkeit, the “public realm,” and thus actively contribute to its emergence.  They are not sufficiently acting as citizens of Europe, dare I say thinking European citizens.  But I am also aware of the fact that such categories as “European citizenship,” “European culture,” and “European intelligentsia” are much too narrow: not only do they grant no automatic access to universality, but they are clearly unilateral—something that we will need to correct when we address the question of, precisely, “unilateralism.”  It will be one of my claims tonight that there exists nothing such as a “synoptic” or singular-universal point of view from which the “characters” of the present times, and the “justice” of any politics, could be decided: neither the point of view of the empire, nor those of some nation with a “manifest destiny,” the multitude of its adversaries, or any specific continental region.  This is not to say that we are forever enclosed within particular interests and beliefs.  But the universality that we associate with the very idea of politics and the vocation of the intellectual has to be constructed practically and empirically; it has to be approached through confrontation and conflict.  One of the ways to contribute to this process, for we European intellectuals, is to critically listen to objections and calls that we receive from other parts of the world: East, West and South, including America.


Voices from America

Since September 11, many calls are directed toward Europeans.  This is flattering for us, but also embarrassing.  We understand that we really exist, but we fear some misunderstanding.  I shall concentrate on the calls coming from the United States, and for the sake of simplicity I will be very quick on the official (or quasi-official) ones which express the view of the current Administration, examining in more detail those coming from the liberal intellectuals of America.

Some such calls come from President Bush and his group of advisors, but also from speeches and writings of those who, at least temporarily, support his politics (this was notably the case of the group of well-known intellectuals who, in the wake of the war in Afghanistan, gathered around the “propositions” of the Institute for American Values—among them such different figures as David Blankenhorn, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Francis Fukuyama, Samuel Huntington and Michael Walzer).[7]  Their formulations vary from “Wake up, Europe! Fascism is back! ” to “Join us in the just war,” through the now famous “Whoever is not with us is against us” (which sounds more like a threat than a call, in fact).  They refer either to American interests or common Western interests, much less often to the interest of international law and institutions.  They insist on legitimacy or on efficiency (which in a sense meet on the diplomatic terrain, where in order to efficiently rally a broad international coalition, for example, you must also be legitimate).  But they remain unilateral insofar as they embody a strong notion of leadership, based on material hegemony and, most often, on the idea of a global mission of the dominant power to keep peace, order, and civilization, and to protect “democratic values.”  This leaves little room for self-criticism, for the discussion of goals and methods, not to speak of possible contradictions between the domestic interests of the hegemonic power and the universal or common interests that it claims to represent.

We should not, however, underestimate the extent to which a broad acceptance of this point of view, which by nature doesn’t seem very attractive, has been helped, not only by the overwhelming material hegemony (economic and military as well as ideological, following the collapse of communism and Third World nationalism) of the American “hyperpower,” but also by the traumatic effects of the September 11 attack on Manhattan: the “world city,” the cosmopolitan city par excellence.[8]  In a sense the United States “enjoys” a paradoxical combination of opposite statuses: dominant hyperpower and  victim, a situation that produces powerful effects of identification.

Quite different, however, are the calls coming from the liberal intellectuals of America (“liberal” in the sense that, despite their obvious divergences, since they range politically from socialism to neo-republicanism, they advocate the same basic principles: the civil rights and legal protections of the individual are inalienable, governments are accountable before their constituencies, civil authorities must rule over the military, international law has primacy over national interests).  This call is indeed self-critical; it is voiced by a “minority” that wants to distinguish itself from the “majority” in its own country, criticizing the choices that are imposed by the majority and their elected representatives.  It is a call not only for support but also for help (“Help us, Europe!”), implying that the Europeans should influence American internal and external politics, for the sake of Europe itself, for the sake of America, and for the sake of all the others.  The underlying idea (“multilateralist” in the broad sense) is that in a globalized world no power (not even the biggest) can “save” itself alone (not to speak of saving the others), but that it could very well “doom” itself and the others.

I shall recall some of the voices from America that could be heard in this sense in the last months, insisting at the same time on the importance of the idea that they contain and on some of the antinomies that I think they involve. I have selected four significant (and very diverse) voices: Bruce Ackerman, Immanuel Wallerstein, Timothy Garton Ash, and Edward Said.

To begin, Bruce Ackerman.  In February 2202, the prominent jurist and political philosopher from Yale published an article in The London Review of Books with the title “Don’t Panic.”  Ackerman begins with the idea that “the attack of 11 September is the prototype of similar events that will litter the 21st century,” and that “if American reaction is any guide, we urgently require new constitutional concepts to deal with the protection of civil liberties.”  Otherwise, he prophecies, “a downward cycle threatens [¼].  Even if the next half-century sees only four or five attacks on the scale of 11 September, this destructive cycle will prove devastating to civil liberties by 2050.”  However, he does not see “an absolutist defense of traditional freedom” as the right response on the part of liberals (Ackerman defines himself as a civil libertarian).  Not only it would not allow any democratic government to achieve popular support and would not help preventing future terrorist strikes, but it would leave totally unanswered the constitutional problems that emerge in situations of crisis.  Declaring his concern to “prevent politicians from exploiting momentary panic to impose long-lasting limitations on liberty,” Ackerman is especially critical of the notion of “war on terrorism” (a “war” already announcing itself as “without end”), which can and will be used both to cancel civil liberties (for Americans and non-Americans alike) and to destroy the democratic balance of powers between the administration, Congress, and the judiciary.  What he advocates is a carefully controlled “state of emergency” with legal and temporal limits, where as many “normal” institutions as possible keep working under internal and external scrutiny of the “defenders of freedom.”  And he concludes:

Europe is already influencing this political dynamic.  The Spanish Government’s refusal to hand over suspected terrorists has checked the Bush Administration’s ardour for military tribunals.  The French citizenship of the suspected “20th terrorist” helped persuade the Attorney General to try Zacarias Moussaoui in a civilian court [¼].  In the future, it will not be enough to defeat proposals that threaten permanent damage to civil liberties. [¼]  A framework  law emerging from any major European state would have worldwide influence.  It would help us see the “war on terrorism” for what it is: an extravagant metaphor blocking responsible thought about a serious problem.[9]

Even if you take into account that this was written for a European journal, it remains surprising and striking.   The appeal seems to imply that certain traditions rooted in European politics form a legal pole of resistance against the tendencies towards the militarization of politics, inside and outside America, that threatens the very values in whose name the “war on terrorism” is declared and fought.  It also suggests that Europe should and could act as a bulwark of international law, which is an essential safeguard against the corruption of constitutional principles (in particular the balance of powers that lies at the core of American constitutionalism), that could result from a “war without an (ascribed) end,” in other terms a permanent state of exception.

I want to take my second example from a very different author and context.  In a public lecture delivered in December 2002, the Marxist historian and social scientist Immanuel Wallerstein, Director of the Fernand Braudel Center at the State University of New York at Binghamton, explained how he saw the prospects of relationships between the United States and the world after the revelation of a completely new situation that the destruction of the twin towers had represented for Americans.[10]  In the first part of his talk, he reminds us that the United States “had always defined itself by the yardstick of the world,” which seemed to prove its continuous superiority.[11]  In the second part (“Attack on America”), he quotes from Osama bin Laden’s presentation of America as a “depraved” country, showing that bin Laden was the first person in history to become able to translate very widespread anti-American feelings into a physical attack initiated on American soil that left it momentarily helpless.  As a consequence, a “war on terrorism” was declared, with “no reservations,” that is, including measures against internal enemies.  “It is clear at this point that, even if the events of September 11 will not alter the basic geopolitical realities of the contemporary world, they may have a lasting impact on American political structures.”[12]  In a certain sense, the powerful America discovers, or fears to discover that it is vulnerable. In his third part (“America and World Power”), Wallerstein discusses the vulnerabilities of American hegemony, by comparing it with previous examples in history.  Wallerstein’s thesis is that the hegemony of the United States is no longer based on unchallenged economic superiority, but only on military capacity.  He describes the successive strategies that were implemented after World War II to eliminate forces and powers considered adversary to American interests in the world: containment, neutralization, interventions, subversion, selective “anti-proliferation” military policies:

As a policy, non-proliferation seems doomed to failure [...].  But there is also a moral/political question here. [...]  The U.S. trusts itself to use such [nuclear] weapons wisely, and in the defense of liberty (a concept seemingly identical with U.S. national interests). It assumes that anyone else might intend to use such weapons against liberty [...]. Personally, I do not trust any government to use such weapons wisely.  I would be happy to see them all banned, but do not believe this is truly enforceable in the contemporary interstate system.  So personally I abstain from moralizing on this issue.[13]

In his fourth part (“America: Ideals versus Privilege”) Wallerstein distinguishes between the belief that “America and Americans are the cause of all the world’s miseries and injustices,” which he denies, and the belief that “they are their prime beneficiaries,” which he endorses.[14]  He expresses his fear that America, while trying to “rebuild” the power that the Twin Towers symbolized, might sacrifice the ideals of freedom and universality that went along with the traditional privileges.  Finally, in his last part (“America: From Certainty to Uncertainty”), contrasting a rational view of the uncertainties of the world’s future with the irrational attempt by President Bush to “offer the American people certainty about their future [...] the one thing totally beyond his power to offer,” he addresses his fellow Americans with an eloquent plea for a contribution to the rebuilding of the world based on equality instead of privilege, universality instead of globalization.  This is where a reference to Europe (among others) surfaces again:

What the United States needs now to do is to learn how to live with the new reality—that it no longer has the power to decide unilaterally what is good for everyone. [...]   It has to come to terms with the world.  It is not Osama bin Laden with whom we must conduct a dialogue.  We must start with our near friends and allies—with Canada and Mexico, with Europe, with Japan.  And once we have trained ourselves to hear them and to believe that they too have ideals and interests, that they too have hopes and aspirations, then and only then perhaps shall we be ready to dialogue with the rest of the world, that is, with the majority of the world.[15]

I understand Wallerstein’s position as expressing a neo-universalist perspective.  It takes the form of a defense of multilateralism against the attempt to recreate the conditions of a past economic hegemony through the implementation of a military superiority that remains unchallenged at its own level, but is entirely vulnerable to the new kind of  threat that develops within the limits of the dominant system.  It should be a permanent concern, therefore, to resist the polarization of the world into the mimetic figures of Leviathan (the world-monopoly of “legitimate” violence) and Behemoth (the ubiquitous power of subversion based on “fundamentalist” religious creeds).  Accordingly, it would be necessary to recreate a multipolar equilibrium of forces (be they national or post-national) that counteracts this polarization.  In a more recent talk delivered at the “Anti-Globalization Conference” in Porto Alegre, Wallerstein has publicly endorsed the  necessity of backing the development of the European Union, precisely in order to counteract the American hegemony, even if Europe is also an “imperialist” power (there are “primary” and “secondary” contradictions—remember Mao!).  A multipolar world offers more possibilities for democracy and social transformations than a world with a single superpower.[16]

I borrow my third example from the article published in The New York Times last April by the British historian and expert on Eastern European Affairs, Timothy Garton Ash (who teaches in Oxford but also works at the Hoover Institution in Stanford University), with the unambiguous title: “The Peril of Too Much Power.”[17]  This is also a voice “from America.”  Professor Garton Ash begins by stating that “for most of the 20th century, the defining political question was: What do you think of Russia?  At the beginning of the 21st century, it is: What do you think of America?”  He deems the picture of America as “a dangerous selfish giant, blundering around the world” and “an anthology of what is wrong with capitalism” to be a caricature, especially if this serves to prove the moral superiority of Europe: “Of course America can’t be reduced in this way.  Apart from anything else, it is much too large, too diverse, too much a cornucopia of combinations and contradictions to allow any simple interpretation.”

He goes on to recall how “America is part of everyone’s imaginative life, through movies, music, television and the Web, whether you grow up in Bilbao, Beijing or Bombay. Everyone has a New York in their heads, even if they have never been there.”  In a sense it is not the existence of an American culture that is doubtful, but rather that of a European one.  But then comes the problem of the use of America’s power and the effects of the enormous imbalance of power in the world.  Not since Rome has a single power enjoyed such superiority, he explains, “but the Roman colossus only bestrode one part of the world.  Stripped of its anti-American overtones, the French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine’s term hyperpower is apt. [...]  The fundamental problem is that America today has too much power for anyone’s good, including its own.”  The example of U.S. policy in the Middle East clearly shows that there is a problem both when the Americans intervene and when they refuse to intervene.  “When a nation has so much power, what it doesn’t do is as fateful as what it does.”   Professor Garton Ash especially fears the consequences of a possible American (or American-led) war in Iraq, without any simultaneous initiative to negotiate a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which would unite the Islamic world against the West while dividing Europe from America, “with disastrous consequences for years to come.”  Finally he explains that, since “contrary to what many Europeans think, the problem with American power is not that it is American,” but that it is unchecked.  What applies to domestic politics (and is embodied in the American Constitution), namely the necessity for each power to be “checked by at least one other,” also applies in world politics, hence the crucial question: “Who, then, should check and complement American power?”  The internal democratic controls are no longer sufficient or working.   “International agencies, starting with the United Nations, and transnational nongovernmental organizations are a place to start.  But they alone are not enough.  My answer is Europe—Europe as an economic equal to the United States and Europe as a close-knit group of states with a long diplomatic and military experience.”   A difficulty remains, however: “the gulf between its military capacity and that of the U.S. grows ever wider.”   Europeans therefore face a “complicated double task”: “to strengthen [their] capacity to act outside [their] own borders while disentangling the idea of a stronger Europe from its sticky anti-American integument.”  To make, in short, Europe a “partner” (with a capacity to resist¼), but not a “rival” of the United States. Timothy Garton Ash firmly believes that the U.S. itself has no real interest to remain in the position of “lonely” hyperpower.

Finally, I want to quote from a recent article by Edward Said (the Palestinian-American professor at Columbia University, author of Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism among other books): “Europe versus America.”[18]  Reporting from England, where he is currently teaching, Said emphasizes cultural differences between the U.S. and Europe, especially the disproportionate power of religious fundamentalism : “religion and ideology play a far greater role in the former than in the latter. [...] [T]he vast number of Christian fanatics in the US [...] form the core of George Bush’s support and at 60 million strong represent the single most powerful voting block in US history.”  This American fundamentalism has merged with the conservative ideology of “American Values” developed during the Cold War and has become “a menace to the world.”  It produces the “unilateralist” external policy, the belief that the U.S. as an “elect nation” has a divine mission to be fulfilled by all means.  Which leads to the only seemingly paradoxical combination of deep anti-Semitism (“these Christians [...] believe that all the Jews of the world must gather in Israel so that the Messiah can come again”) and the global threat against the Arab-Islamic world confronting Israel.  Said embarks then on a synthetic comparison of the ideologies and the political systems on both sides of the Atlantic: “There is no trace of this sort of thing in Europe that I can detect.  Nor is there that lethal combination of money and power on a vast scale that controls elections and national policy at will.”  For Said, Europe remains more democratic in practice, the citizens have more effective control over the politicians, are less exposed to ideological blackmail when they dissent from the official policy (to be “un-American,” the cardinal sin¼), and have a less Manichean view of the world.  “No wonder then that America has never had an organized Left or real opposition party as has been the case in every European country.”

But finally comes the concern, which is double: that Europe might lose its political identity, and that it might prove unable to act as a pole of resistance against American unilateralism: “Tony Blair’s wholeheartedly pro-American position therefore seems even more puzzling to an outsider like myself. I am comforted that even to his own people he seems like a humourless aberration, a European who has decided in effect to obliterate his own identity [...].  I still have time to learn when it will be that Europe will come to its senses and assume the countervailing role to America that its size and history entitle to play.  Until then the war approaches inexorably.”


Contradictions and Illusions

We certainly cannot ignore this call coming from the intellectuals of America (and also from other parts of the World, although not exactly in the same terms: each would deserve a special analysis).  It really touches our common interests.  We may observe that all these texts have a certain “family resemblance.”  But we suspect that they include deep contradictions, and we fear that they have substituted an imaginary Europe for the real one.

Obviously (and understandably), some American liberals share the view that America is the model democracy, they are especially concerned with the future of democracy in America, which they think should be an interest of the whole world, while others—from a more “global” or “systemic” point of view—believe that the democratic character of the U.S. will itself entirely depend on the way America behaves towards the rest of the world (any country that oppresses others cannot be itself a free country).  Even more striking are the diverse ways in which these voices refer to the great divides of the world after the Cold War. Some of them ask us to be fully “Western,” others want us to be properly “European,” that is, to destroy the false identity of the Western world (or bloc)—thus perhaps pushing America more effectively in the direction of its own “European” traditions.  Others imagine that Europe may become the intermediary, at least one of the intermediaries in the great “negotiation” that should take place in the end : between the American “Empire” and its real “others,” the peoples and cultures from East and South, the Mediterranean, the Third World.   These considerable differences are indeed mirrored in our own reactions.

But what I find even more striking is the latent tension between two opposite ways of formulating the call to Europe: either as a demand for a check and balance, in order to countervail the American (super)power, or a demand for mediation within the “war of civilizations”  that America is now apparently waging.  If you choose the first formulation, you are in a “strategic” logic, where the relationships of forces ultimately resolve into military terms, quantitatively and qualitatively (how many troops and weapons? and how do you use them?).   Why address Europe in this case rather than, say, Russia, Japan, or China?  Perhaps because the authors of these texts more or less transfer onto Europe the ideal model of “force merged with right” (the rule of law, the constitution of liberty) that they fear America has now betrayed.  If you choose the second formulation, you are in a logic of “moral” and “social” influences, which certainly does not ignore relationships of forces, but sees them as only one aspect of a more comprehensive process of cultural transformation.  In that case, the apparently irreversible gap in military power between the United States and Europe is not necessarily a handicap for Europe.  But the question whether it really displays an alternative to American policy becomes more embarrassing.  Clearly, “multilateralism” does not mean exactly the same thing from these two points of view.  The first is compatible with a confrontation between rival “isolationisms” (more or less what has been reproached to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder during his last electoral campaign, when he “unilaterally” announced that Germany would not follow the U.S. in any war in Iraq).[19]  Whereas the second implies that political isolation today, among allies or even adversaries, has become obsolete and impossible to achieve.  Rather than a “right of intervention,” what we are confronted with would be a “fact of intervention,” that is, interdependence: we cannot ignore it, only perhaps organize it and modify its consequences.

Certainly it would be interesting to examine how certain European voices, official or not, reacted to these demands.  But let me refer instead to the way they have been quickly refuted in America.  I am thinking in particular of the essay on “Power and Weakness” published by the former State Department expert and member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Robert Kagan, which has received considerable attention on both sides of the Atlantic.[20]  “It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world,” writes Kagan, who is targeting the kind of “European opinion” on whose emergence and development American liberals place their hopes.  “Europeans believe they are moving beyond power into a self-contained world of laws and rules and transnational negotiation and cooperation.”  But, while Europe would have entered “a post-historical paradise, the realization of Immanuel Kant’s perpetual peace,” the United States “remains mired in history, exercising power in the anarchic Hobbesian world where international rules are unreliable and where security and the promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might.”[21] 

One may wonder, then, whence the European rejection of the use of force as a means to solve international conflicts originates ?  This is not, according to Kagan, because Europeans possess a special character or nature: in past centuries, when they dominated the world, they never tired of using force to increase or keep their power, but they have become weaker, and quite simply they no longer have the capacities for power politics.  Europe and America have “exchanged” their political cultures, as it were: it is now Europe that has adopted the Wilsonian discourse, dreaming of “civilizing the world” by putting an end to the wars and doing away with Machtpolitik, whose terrible effects Europeans have lived on their own soil.  A nice project indeed... with one proviso: what makes European pacifism and moral consciousness materially possible is American military power itself!  “The irony is that this trans-Atlantic disagreement is the fruit of successful trans-Atlantic policies.  As Joschka Fischer and other Europeans admit, the United States made the new Europe possible by leading the democracies to victory in World War II and the Cold War and by providing the solution to the age-old ‘German problem.’  Even today, Europe’s rejection of power politics ultimately depends on America’s willingness to use force around the world against those who still do believe in power politics.  Europe’s Kantian order depends on the United States using power according to the old Hobbesian rules.”  Most Europeans do not realize that they can project themselves into “post-history” or “post-modern history” only because the U.S. did not follow this path¼  But as a result “this has put Europeans and Americans on a collision course.”[22]  Formally speaking, they remain allies, but the former see the latter as a “rogue colossus,” and the latter see the former as a virtual obstacle, if not a potential traitor.  Perhaps it would be better to acknowledge this contradiction, rather than desperately trying to fill the cultural gap.

I don’t believe that I distort the meaning of Robert Kagan’s analysis if I say in a nutshell: the “European” position, expressing something like a religion of law, is at the same time powerless  (“Europe? how many divisions?,” we might ask, echoing a famous question raised by Stalin), and illegitimate (since it disguises a historical regression as moral progress, misrepresenting its real weakness as an imaginary strength).  Finally it is self-destructive: it undermines the defensive capacities of the Western democracies, everywhere under attack in the world, which remain its only safety.  It is decidedly not America that has “too much power,” it is Europe that has too little¼

A double question is at stake here. There is a first question concerning the “power” of Europe.  In a sense, Europe as a sum is even less powerful (not more) than some of its constitutive nation-states, or its power is less effective, more difficult to implement (hence the project of many: to “reinforce” it, to achieve more “integration”¼).  There is also a second question concerning the “political capacity” of Europe in today’s world, in particular its capacity to help resolve conflicts (be they “old” or “new” in Mary Kaldor’s terms),[23] and hence the concept of the political by which this capacity can be measured.

Here is the position that I want now to develop: undoubtedly, from a certain point of view, Europe does not exist, it is not a political “subject” (the subject of a political power).  And in this sense to ask Europe to disturb the ongoing processes and plans, to “check and balance” other powers, is a pure illusion.  But on the other hand you cannot (or you can less and less) reduce the idea of “mediation” to the alternative of power politics (ultimately relying upon military force) and “moral” powerlessness, even if you admit that a diplomatic and institutional expression has to be found for such a mediation at some moment.  The question then becomes: how to imagine a change in the relationship between “politics” and “power,” or perhaps better, in the very notion of “power.”

I agree that European political capacity, which is a necessary condition of its autonomy, in a sense simply does not exist.  “Economic weight” is a weak argument, especially in a globalized economy.   Even if you crown it with a (partially) common currency, it represents only a variable statistical aggregate, precisely so long as no corresponding “strategy” or “economic (therefore also social) policy” exists.  If you reflect further on the recent confrontation at the United Nations Security Council about the right of the United States to launch what it called a “preventive war” against Iraq, which (provisionally) ended with a compromise (the U.S. accepting an international procedure that, at least in theory, leaves Iraq the possibility to prove its “innocence”),[24] you see clearly that it is not “Europe” that, to some extent, has checked American power.  It is a conjunctural (and highly fragile) convergence of middle-range powers (France, Germany, Russia, China, Mexico¼) who refused to become completely “marginalized” in international relations.  They are not all of Europe, and not all of them are European.  In addition, they wouldn’t have achieved anything without certain internal divisions within American strategy itself.

Above all, there is a strong case to be made for Europe’s incapacity to solve its own problems without American “help.”  When I say its “own” problems, I am also thinking of neighboring problems where Europe is necessarily involved.  This is exactly the opposite of the liberal dream, but there are numerous dramatic and recent examples, of which we can list but a few.  Europe remains unable to solve the Irish problem, where two of its old nations are involved, each with its own “diaspora.”  It proved unable to prevent the civil war in (former) Yugoslavia, which produced the worst crimes against humanity since Nazism, whether by offering a framework for development and coexistence to the various Balkan communities (which belong since time immemorial to the European ensemble), or by launching a military intervention to neutralize the agressors and protect the populations with some chance of success (when this was finally undertaken by NATO under American leadership, it was with questionable results).  The U.S. then has good reasons to explain that, beginning with the two World Wars, it has been American intervention that has stopped bloodshed and opposed savagery on European soil (although Americans tend to “forget” that the Soviet “patriotic war” against Nazism played an equally important role, which the contemporaries still remember, associating Omaha Beach with Stalingrad in their memories of World War II).  What seems to be a characteristic of the twentieth century, and could characterize the twenty-first as well, is not a “European mediation” in conflicts involving America, but rather an “American mediation” in conflicts that rend Europe and prove that it is unable to provide an effective political expression for the historical and moral identity it claims to represent.

This is equally true concerning the way Europe deals with violent situations that have developed at its “borders” (and in fact where it is so intimately mixed, and affected, that the distinction with the previous “internal” cases sometimes seems quite artificial).  Algeria, Palestine-Israel, Chechnya: these are the names of a long series of shameful collective resignations of Europe.  Each time in different ways, tracing back to colonial history, to its own ethnic and religious divisions, its wars and genocides, Europe was involved as a cause or a mirror of these “impossible to solve” conflicts, whose continuous degradation threatens its own civility and moral identity.  History seems to show that any political entity (call it a “state” in the broad sense), in order to exist, needs an “idea” or a universal project to unify its human and material forces.  But Europe’s project can no longer be to subjugate the world, as in the colonial era.  Nor can it be a messianic project of announcing (after the Christian or the Communist model) the birth of the “new man.”  Europe can indeed try to exercise a “civilizing” influence in the world, as well as to build the moral conditions of its own construction, but in order to do so it has to be more active.  By abandoning the Chechens to the total war waged against them by post-soviet Russia, Europe keeps in the traditional line of blindness before genocidal processes, and it practically denies the “European” character of Russia, destroying the possibilities of finally lifting the “iron curtain” (or its latest replica).  The Russians can do what they like, they are not “applying” to the European Uunion¼  By practically endorsing the plans of the U.S.-Israel alliance in the Middle East (with some limited counterweights: periodical statements that the United Nations resolutions should be enforced, humanitarian projects that neither protect the Palestinians from colonization and state terrorism nor completely convince them to reject terrorism), the Europeans help the development of a new “generalized” anti-Semitism in the world, where judeophobia and arabophobia paradoxically merge.  By keeping silent on the crimes of the Algerian army (which seem to match the crimes of the Islamic terrorist groups) and backing the repression of democratic movements by other authoritarian regimes in Northern Africa, while at the same time racially and culturally discriminating against their own “immigrant” populations from the Maghreb, they provoke a disastrous collapse of the “Euro-Mediterranean” project (a theme to which I will return).

But, we may ask, is this the only way to analyze the situation?   I would suggest that the new “global” conjuncture offers other alternatives.  Undoubtedly the cultural divisions and conflicting interests of the world also affect us in Europe and could become acute.  There is to date no strong symbol of a common identity that could help neutralize or suppress them.  Undoubtedly Europe and America are not separated spaces, any more than Europe and Eurasia, or Europe and the Middle East.  In this respect some countries owe to their history or their geography or their demographic composition the virtual capacity to “open gates” and “build bridges.”  Whether you think of Britain, the Ukraine, Turkey, or the Balkans, it would be absurd to try and forcefully locate them on a single side of an external “European border.”  Undoubtedly Europe does not have the capacity to build a Grossraum on the Continent, to impose a kind of European “Monroe Doctrine” (a geostrategic idea that was invented in the 1930s by Carl Schmitt to justify German imperialism, and that is now retrieved by some in a democratic context¼).[25]  But you can read all this in the opposite sense.  No European “identity” can be opposed to others in the world because there exist no absolute borderlines between the historical and cultural territory of Europe and the surrounding spaces.  There exist no absolute borderlines because Europe as such is a “borderline” (or “a Borderland,” to borrow Scott Malcomson’s beautiful title for a beautiful book on the Bosphorus and its region).[26]  More precisely it is a superposition of borderlines, hence a superposition of heterogeneous relations to the other histories and cultures of the world (at least many of them), which are reproduced within its own history and culture.

We must therefore concentrate our attention on a very singular pattern of dialectical interactions between the “interior” and the “exterior.” This was precisely the theme of a recent essay by the Director of the Institut français des Relations Internationales, Thierry de Montbrial, acting Chair of the French Académie des Sciences morales et politiques, “Europe: la dialectique intérieur-extérieur.”[27]  After many others, Montbrial draws lessons from the recent international events. He too agrees that there is an amazing disproportion between Europe’s limited influence in international negotiations and its economic prosperity, a military gap that automatically confers upon the U.S. the responsibility of decision-making in security matters, and he pictures a sharp contrast between Europe’s incapacity to define a common foreign policy and the “strong demand upon Europe” that he perceives in the world, from the former Soviet Empire to Latin America.  He quotes from a “Brazilian authority” who would explain this “insufficient offer” as a consequence of Europe’s remaining “ashamed of the way it destroyed itself in the first half of the 20th century.”  His own explanation is different, however, taking the form of a dialectical reversal.  In the history of the building of nation-states, it was the strong preexisting national unity, the feelings of belonging and identity, that made it possible for the state to mobilize all the human and material resources needed to achieve international goals.  But now, in the case of the European unification, however impressive the achievements since 1957 may appear, the reverse is true: a “European Europe” can emerge only if foreign policy shapes domestic policy.  A truly unified foreign policy and defense policy are impossible in the immediate situation, but a “combined intervention” of European nations in the “high politics” of world affairs (decisions concerning war and peace, as in the case of Iraq, for example) can result from a permanent alliance between the three major European powers (Great Britain, France, and Germany) if they agree to consult each other following certain established rules.

This idea of a “dialectical relationship” between interior and exterior is well meant, but I fear there is  something like a petitio principii in the (very conventional) way it is used here.  Why should it be easier for a “common political will” to emerge at the level of the three European “great powers” (in reality, medium powers), rather than at the level of all members of the European Union, or rather than developing a majoritarian opinion on the European scale, especially when it comes to discussing “world affairs”?  The reverse could very well be the case.  But above all I think that the change of method as it is advocated here should be much more radical, if we are to cope with the new situation we have entered.  I myself would suggest that we must draw all the consequences from the fact that Europe is a borderland rather than an entity that “has” borders (or “will have” them in the future).  This quite naturally leads us to completely reexamine the relationships between “strategy,” “power,” “agency,” and “subjectivity” (or “identity”).  In order to overcome the dilemma of a strategy that presupposes the autonomy of the subject that conceives and implements it, agency must have a privilege over identity.  What is at stake is indeed a complete change in the way relations of power are calculated, imputed, and recognized on the world scale.


Toward a European “Anti-Strategic” Policy?

I am convinced that only a transformation in the way we understand the concept of politics in relation with the idea of “power” will allow us to begin to escape the aporias affecting the notion of a “European policy,” and to give a realistic content to the notion of a “European mediation,” which combines such opposite demands as increasing Europe’s specific role in world affairs, and deconstructing the myths of European closure and exclusive identity (“Fortress Europe,” to quote its most aggressive formulation).  How then both to individualize and de-substantialize Europe?  Is that really possible?

It will become possible only if, reacting to the calls addressed to us and drawing lessons from historical experience, we criticize to the roots the proposition presupposed by most of the arguments concerning politics and power: that an efficient action can take place only when the agent has an exclusive control over some resources, and is able to use them as a unified “sovereign subject,” at the very least enjoying a stable and recognized identity.  This was typically the objective of the classical nation-states, and the European Union seems to be in permanent search of similar constitutional and administrative tools to achieve the same result.  What I suggest is that we need to explore a completely different path, where power does not predate action, but is rather its result, in a sense that depends upon the goals that one wants to achieve.  It is action, or agency, that produces the degree and distribution of power, not the reverse. As Michel Foucault used to explain, agency is “power acting upon power,” therefore it is the (efficient) use of the other’s power, also resulting from its own orientation.[28]  For the same reason, a “collective identity” is not a given, a metaphysical prerequisite of agency, and it is certainly not a mythical image that could be forcefully imposed upon reality by inventing this or that historical criterion (for example, “Christian Europe”).[29]  It is a quality of collective agency, which changes form and content in time, as new agents come into play and new solidarities are built among those who, not long ago, were ignoring or fighting each other.

It will be useful to remind ourselves, in a schematic manner, of historical experiences that contributed to shaping contemporary Europe, especially in the past century.  The lessons that we can draw from them are clearly not beyond dispute; they can be interpreted diversely in different places on the Continent and according to the social and political affiliations of each of us.  But they have become to a large extent part of our collective memory, which is active in our intellectual elaborations and the institutional realities of Europe.

A first lesson—let us call it the lesson of tragedy, because it concerns the “civil wars” that devastated the European community of peoples—seems initially to be purely negative. However, it gives its deep roots to what I would call, following Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, a “transnational public order” (not reducible to a form of moral “pacifism”) that contradicts the “Clausewitzian” equivalence of the “means” of war and the “means” of politics.[30]  Retrospectively, the interstate national wars that periodically broke into the history of the “peoples” and modified their respective powers, leading in the end to the mass exterminations during the World Wars and even after (as I recalled), are only one aspect of a more general system of violent conflicts, which includes also “wars” between classes, religious communities, ideologies.  And it is far from easy to always clearly distinguish what mainly depends on ethnic or religious, as opposed to social and ideological determinations.  If a lesson can be drawn from the long twentieth-century “European civil war,”[31] it should be that no “absolute victory” is possible, no final suppression or neutralization of the “enemy.”  Whenever you believe to be able to reach this “final” solution, you create the conditions for more destruction and self-destruction.  Mutual extermination as such does not have an “end”—or better said, it can reach an end only when it is radically deprived of its legitimacy, and if collective institutionalized counter-powers emerge.

But this is an incomplete lesson, and in some sense a blind one.  It takes the problem of violence within a “metropolitan” framework that cannot really be isolated.  Only recently, and with considerable difficulties, have we become conscious of the fact that “barbarity” indeed circulated for centuries between the dominant center and the dominated periphery.  The critical labor of memory concerning the violence of European conquest and rule did not immediately start with decolonization, but long after the event, as in the case of the French War in Algeria.  It was clearly encouraged by the massive presence, increasingly legitimate in spite of all the remaining discriminations, of “post-colonial” populations within the European nations.  Much remains to be uncovered and acknowledged, but this growing consciousness of the realities of colonial history, a history that has made Europe what it is, has now profoundly disturbed Eurocentric visions that used to contrast “our” civilization with “their” barbarity: the greatest barbarity certainly was not on the side that we imagined, although it is not an “imperialist” privilege either (witness the tragic development of post-colonial ethnic conflicts in Africa and elsewhere).  The positive counterpart of all this is a powerful, irreversible phenomenon of hybridization and multiculturalism now transforming Europe in a way that considerably differs from the American “melting pot,” even if you consider such “cosmopolitan” cities as New York and Los Angeles.  It started with specific, reciprocal ties between former metropolises and their former empires (France and Northern and Western Africa, Britain and India, Pakistan, and the West Indies, the Netherlands and Indonesia, etc.), but is now quite generalized as a pattern of interaction between Europe as such and its “exterior.”  If the first lesson to be drawn from recent European history could be called a tragic lesson of public order, we might call this other one a lesson of otherness.  It leads Europe to recognize, albeit with considerable hesitations and drawbacks, that the Other is a necessary component of its “identity,” therefore its future vitality, its “power.”

I would like to add a third lesson.  It cannot be isolated from the other aspects of European history, but has its own specific implications.  It concerns the possibility of a gradual transformation of the violence of social antagonisms into collective political capacities by combining the different resources of institutionalizing conflicts (providing antagonistic interests with a formal “representation” within the state, instead of suppressing and criminalizing them), setting up public and private instances of social regulation (or distributing in a more or less stable manner the regulating functions between “law” and “contract”), and progressively introducing new basic rights, which add new positive “liberties” or, as Amartya Sen calls them, “capabilities,”[32] to the existing rights of the individual, thus becoming an essential component of citizenship. We might call this lesson “Machiavelli’s Theorem,” referring to the political model that can be found in famous pages in his Discorsi sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio.[33]

I would admit that globalization has weakened this lesson, or confronts it with a dilemma, since it places nation-states in a defensive position, restricting their possibilities to mediate social conflicts and leaving without solution the urgent problem of the constitution of a new “citizenship” in Europe.  But the fact remains that Europe, in this respect, has a singular, if not privileged, position in the world.   Europe certainly has no monopoly of pluralist representative democracy.  But its own history of social movements (acute class struggles, if we want to be explicit) has produced a level of institutional recognition of basic social rights that is still unrivaled in today’s world.  It has no monopoly of either religious tolerance or intolerance.  But its own history of confessional divisions, heresies, and wars of religions has produced a form of “secularization” of politics and society that goes far beyond the classical idea of “tolerance,” allowing a recognition that religious memberships are an important aspect of the constitution of the “civil society,” but without either creating state religions or, conversely, accepting a “free” development of religious sects in the form of what Max Weber called the “market of salvation goods.”[34]

It would seem that this last lesson has to do with an original elaboration of conflictual democracy, where different heterogeneous constitutional principles are combined (therefore contributing to a revival of the old notion of the “mixed constitution,” but again in a way that significantly differs from the American experience).  This combination includes a development of legal or formal democracy, making sure that the individuals who vindicate them are recognized, ultimately, as the true bearers of rights.  It also includes a development of social or substantial democracy, making sure that inequalities are addressed and conflictual interests taken into account, so that individual freedom is not pure and simply equivalent with competition, and competition with an elimination of the weakest within the “city.”  Finally, it refers to an idea of expansive democracy  (in the language of Antonio Gramsci) or democratic invention (in the language of Claude Lefort), which means that politics remains open to the integration of new elements into the “common part” of mankind, and there can be no “end of history.”[35]

I would not be misunderstood: none of these “lessons” seems to me irreversible, valid for ever, or unquestionable.  All of them remain clearly fragile and ambiguous.  After experiencing extermination processes on its own soil, Europe believed that it had become the natural champion of international law, which in many cases it does not obey itself.  It has become conscious of the positive value of the other as such, but it keeps excluding people by systematically combining criteria of culture (practically equivalent to race) and economic discrimination.  To be poor and colored in Europe is not a good situation, it means overexploitation and insecurity, a condition of pariah¼  Europe has invented a secular state and society, but in an environment where Christian denominations were completely dominant.  Many European historians and theologians even believe that it is Christianity that has separated the sacred and the secular realms in general.  As a consequence secularism can be brandished as a shield against other forms of religious universalism (above all Islam), antagonistic with Christianity, and becomes an instrument to protect “domestic” cults (the attitude towards Judaism in this respect being highly ambivalent, combining age-old anti-Semitism with the recognition generated by the Holocaust).  The dominant form of European “secularism” (this is particularly the case with French laïcité) is also a form of resistance to real multiculturalism, since many cultures are deemed to be too “religious” to become acceptable in the picture.  This is not far from transforming Western culture into a secular form of religion indeed.  Finally the “European” conception of conflictual democracy that I have described is more a past ideal than a living reality today: it has a tendency to return to purely corporatist forms, since economic deregulation and globalization deprive it of its material possibilities to protect citizens from the brutal variations in the labor market and the continuous decrease in the level of welfare.

However, these deep contradictions are part of a dynamic whose consequences should and could be to continue and broaden the European experience of politics by mobilizing all our forces, be they economic, cultural, intellectual, social, or legal, but also “external” forces, to transform international relations.  Such a project is not an exercise of power politics; it does not aim at constituting a new (great) power, but rather at constituting a new type of power, one that nobody can appropriate (not even the forces that could more effectively push in that direction).  This type of power is essentially a new correlation among the existing forces; it becomes effective inasmuch as structures and relations of forces are evolving, and resistances and alternatives to the dominant tendencies become more consistent. This explains why I preferred the expression “anti-strategic politics.”  But it is not to say that we can do without initiatives, orientations, and even mottoes.  I have no intention to define a “program,” but I will try to list some priorities, being aware that they concern long term evolutions, where obstacles and setbacks and rectifications will inevitably take place.


Collective security: for protection, against fortifications

In order to transform international relations, we need a model of collective security that can open the possibility of escaping the confrontation between “terrorist” and “counter-terrorist” forces.  But the notion of “collective security,” which is constitutive of the texts on which international institutions are based (in particular the Charter of the United Nations),[36] can not remain purely formal.  It cannot simply demand that the use of military force be subjected to the (admittedly very restrictive) conditions registered in international law.  It must become (again) a political goal, therefore involve decisions on certain crucial issues.  In my view the demarcation line clearly passes between a necessity and an impossibility.  It is necessary to take into account the real complexity and deep social roots of the causes that feed violence and encourage the recourse to terrorist practices and ideologies everywhere in the world: not only in the “peripheries” ridden with poverty, humiliation and corruption, but also in the “centers” where inequalities and discriminations are growing, with probably no less corruption.  But it is impossible to blindly accept violence and terrorism as real answers to exploitation and domination.  This answer is neither legitimate nor effective; it destroys the very cause in the name of which it is exercised.  Collective security (which we should not identify with the “unilateral” defense of the established order, especially if this “order” more and more resembles a violent disorder) therefore requires us to reject the projective illusion of transforming the main victims of insecurity into its ultimate authors, but also to leave aside prophetic discourses picturing “the capitalist system” as the hidden cause of every violence and all conflicts, including those which are obstacles to its own development.

What are then the complementary requisites of a viable model of collective security?  It must allow the possibility for both actively fighting against injustice and having intelligence and police services combine their actions under legal control against terrorist networks, if their existence is proved (which seems to be the case of Al Qaeda, although the various powers involved—beginning with the United States—clearly don’t want all its dimensions to be clarified).  If we agree that, for various reasons, there is currently is a special threat of “Islamic terrorism” (or terrorism fueled by a fundamentalist Islamic ideology), there is no doubt in my mind that the ultimate condition for an effective “counter-terrorist” policy is an active commitment to promoting the emergence of democratic regimes within the Islamic world.  Only the ensemble of societies and states where Islam is the essential cultural reference, with the assistance of the international community, will prove able to “uproot” Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism.  A model of collective security therefore rules out the substitution for joint operations that prove either too difficult or too embarrassing for the hegemonic power and its clients, of potentially exterminist and imperialist wars that serve mainly objectives of regional domination and prestige. The same could be said, indeed, concerning plans to develop the “anti-missile shield” (or Star Wars) program.  Above all a policy of collective security must systematically eliminate all the factors that lead to a merging of violence “from above” and “from below,” creating a symmetrical alignment of fundamentalist ideologies and economic interests in the world.


General Disarmament: Who is in Charge?

It is meaningless to talk about collective security if the global level of armaments is not reduced.  International institutions are not only in charge of negotiating and settling conflicts; they have been created with a goal of generalizing and controlling the process of disarmament.  This is the true basis of the idea of “multilateralism,” and it cannot be left aside from the moment when it becomes officially a question of obtaining (if necessary, compelling) the “disarmament” of one or several states whose weapons, quantitatively and qualitatively, are dangerous “for the whole of mankind” (many of them, be it said in passing, former allies and clients of this or that superpower who changed sides).  By definition no state (“rogue” or not) can be excepted from this rule, since precisely the populations of the whole world are likely to become victims of aggressions or, conversely, of retaliations and preventive wars against particular aggressors.  It has been repeatedly proven that the origin of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and more generally the constant elevation of the level of military equipment in the world, has to be traced back to the great powers themselves, which produce them or develop most of the corresponding research programs (Iraq bought its lethal germs in the United States¼).  More generally, it is meaningless to speak of a multilateralism of warfare, which in practice means an arms race, whereas a multilateralism of disarmament is surrounded with obstacles, but thinkable.

The practical consequence is that Europe should not accept the comparison currently drawn (including by honest commentators) between the “war on terrorism” and the war against Nazism, raising once again the specter of “Munich” when the idea of disarmament is suggested.  It should refuse NATO plans to start a new cycle of development of its military capacities (including the capacities to “project” forces outside Europe, to join or replace the special forces of the U.S. Army in some of its operations).[37]  On the contrary it should immediately raise the question of a long-term reduction in the level of armaments in the world, concerning both the “new” and the “old” concentrations of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, which include the European concentrations and exportations, under international control and inspections.

There are obvious difficulties with such a perspective, which are only too likely to lead to its abandonment.  It contradicts powerful private and public interests in the production and consumption of arms, which continuously increase the level of insecurity throughout the world, producing a general phenomenon of militarization of social life, and transforming large regions of the world into zones of endemic violence and death.  To speak of disarmament, one might say, is to beg the question, to suppose that the lack of trust between mutually hostile societies which did not share the same historical experiences and have opposite conceptions of law and politics, which can be either very rich or very poor, has already been overcome.  This is true enough; it proves that any serious program of disarmament involves a number of material conditions, including social and political changes all over the world.   This is also the reason why we should not simply identify disarmament with pacifism.   Controlled disarmament should be compatible with modernized national or supra-national defense policies, provided only that negotiations take place to replace offensive programs by defensive ones.   Consequently and above all it means that “the world” agrees to offer guarantees and means of security to the American people which, in the long run, would appear better than the prospects of isolation, fortification, and counter-terror on a world scale.  This may indeed require the experience of tragic events, such as the attacks on September 11 (or worse, which is thinkable¼).


Local and Global Processes: Who Is Accountable, Who Can Mediate?

I am not trying to introduce a new brand of pacifism.  I speak of collective security and advocate, against the current, a new cycle of general disarmament, but I don’t speak against “interventions”—at least against any intervention —in the violent conflicts and civil wars that tend to shape world politics today.  I have recalled the recent examples, both inside Europe and close to it, of Ireland, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Palestine, that show the necessity of interventions: not only humanitarian interventions, but coercive interventions, making use of the means that derive from the contemporary intersections of economic, technological, and cultural processes.  Not even military “forces of interposition” should be excluded as a matter of principle, if the conditions exist for their introduction.   However, Europe might draw another lesson from its own experience: military conflicts where ethnic, religious, and cultural communities confront each other, which are at the same time extremely unequal and mixed with one another (a general characteristic of what Mary Kaldor calls the “new wars,”[38] expressing “organized violence in the era of globalization”), can be resolved only locally.  Better said, the local and global determinations should invert their roles.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is exemplary here.  Everybody understands now that the roots of further hostilities were present in the very terms of the Oslo Accords and the “peace process” based on them,[39] because they masked objective contradictions under carefully imprecise formulations, and could be immediately manipulated, not only by the Israeli Government, but also by the Palestinian Authority.   But the Oslo Accords had one important positive aspect: they implied that, with the help of external mediating forces, the solution should be found by the conflicting groups themselves.  You frequently hear just the opposite nowadays, both in America and in Europe: that “the Israelis and Palestinians have proved incapable of discussion.”  The result is a merging of the causes of the conflict into elements of a global conflict (including the identification of local adversaries with the macro-forces of “terrorism” and “counter-terrorism”), producing destructions and hatreds that become more irreversible every day.

What I tentatively call an “anti-strategy” therefore also implies giving a systematic primacy to local determinations over the “global” ones, because they refer to the specific historical and geographical roots of the conflict, which are also dialectically the premises of its solution, and because they allow us to assign responsibilities and make concrete forces accountable for their actions, whereas the primacy of the global nourishes passivity by suggesting that everything is determined at the “global” level, that is, nowhere.  But to emphasize the importance of the local level is not to isolate it: we should neither deny globalization nor fetishize it as a “destiny,” but rather explore all the possibilities that it provides in order to set up “multilateral” interventions which provide the conflicting subjects with observers, mediators, and witnesses who are themselves accountable, in order to build a space for coexistence.  On the stage of globalized violence, there are today many actors more or less powerful and dangerous, but apparently only one “judge,” who is or seems to be as powerful (and therefore also as dangerous) as all the others combined.  But seen from another angle, this stage also offers many potential “mediators”: Europe is one of them, albeit not the only one.  It is perhaps no chance if many of them, as Europe itself, are trans-national orders, which can be found or will emerge in a near future in East Asia, in the Cono Sur of Latin America, in Southern Africa, perhaps even in the Middle East, where a renovated “Arab League,” both democratized and liberated from the dream of the “Arab Nation” (or transferring it onto more rational prospects) could play a decisive role.  Maybe we could say that these potential “mediators” are the true “anti-systemic forces” of today and tomorrow, to borrow one of Immanuel Wallerstein’s favorite categories.[40]


The “Fault Line” Reduced, or the Euro-Mediterranean Ensemble

In order to be more precise, I will now make a critical use of the great debate raised by the publication of Samuel Huntington’s book The Clash of Civilizations, with its strategic proposal of a new “world order” based on the simultaneous acceptance of a “multicultural world” and rejection of “multiculturalism” within the West, more specifically within America (the idea that America and Europe belong to a single “Western civilization” being one of the unquestioned assumptions of Huntington’s book).[41]  My “anti-strategic” idea that we ought to push in the direction of the primacy of local determinations over global determinations within the relation constitutive of both, in order to promote the “mediated” resolution  of conflicts, will remain meaningless unless it proves possible to define an open, non-exclusive framework that would nevertheless be sufficiently binding in geographical and historical (and therefore “cultural”) terms.  In such a framework conflicts would ultimately appear as “civil wars,” that is, as wars whose very violence and “irreconcilable” character force the community to assert itself, offering simultaneous recognition to the conflicting camps, and thus paving the way for mutual recognition or the building of “civil peace.”  There seems to be an enigma, if not a logical flaw in such a formulation: which community is able to play such a role?  To answer the question, we must fully admit the circle that is involved in the idea of creating a community in order to promote a solution for the problems which are its obstacles.  No preexisting community, based on traditional membership and “roots,” can play this historic role, but only a community of alliances that is instituted with a view toward favoring this kind of recognition.  Let us note in passing that, to a large extent, this was precisely the way in which modern nation-states were “invented,” as a non-existing solution for the problem of religious, feudal, and regional conflicts, but at a different scale and following procedures that are now obsolete.[42]

I believe that the “Euro-Mediterranean ensemble,” whose development is both advocated and constantly hindered by multiple obstacles, including phobias profoundly buried in the collective unconscious which trace back to centuries of religious and colonial conflicts, is nevertheless exactly such a framework.[43]  Its progressive construction, through negotiations, common projects, and simultaneous mediations in the common interest, is itself a way to affirm the originality of Europe’s position in international relations, where the assertion of a specific identity goes hand in hand with its (seeming) opposite: the inclusion of the Other within itself.  This is where Huntington’s conceptualization can give us a precious inverted indication (a counterfactual as logicians would say), since the central notion in his book is not only the concept of “borderline” separating heterogeneous populations and territories, but more precisely the concept of a global borderline (now replacing the geopolitical one that used to separate the “blocs” in the Cold War), which appears as a real “fault line.”  It is along such “fault lines” that the new (coming) type of wars would develop (for example, wars between the West and the Islamic world, or the West and the rising “Asian” ensemble around China).  According to Huntington, it is impossible to reduce fault lines: you can only “freeze” the violence they tend to unleash, and organize the world order around the fragile equilibrium of competing, ultimately incompatible civilizations, which are essentially external to one another.  This idea clearly derives from the geopolitical notions that were theorized around World War II by the German (pro-Nazi) jurist and philosopher Carl Schmitt, who explained that every political institution was based on the absolute primacy of the “friend versus foe” divide, and sought to transfer this notion to the new “spatial distribution of power” (Nomos der Erde) emerging after the second World War.[44]  Clearly, the idea of a “Euro-Mediterranean” ensemble (or alliance) expresses the exactly opposite axiom: it does not say that there are no “fault lines,” no vested hostilities around them, but it does say that political institutions (the “polity” and the “civility”) precisely arise when hostility becomes a focal point for the elaboration of common interests and historic compromises.  Such common interests express the “complementarity of the enemies,” to borrow an expression from the French anthropologist Germaine Tillion that I have commented elsewhere, and this is what makes them politically significant.[45]

Recent debates—sometimes quite virulent—about the possible admission of Turkey into the European Union, which followed the electoral victory of the “Party for Justice and Development” (AKP) (a party that defines itself “conservative” and is pictured by political scientists as “moderate Islamic”), and were prompted by the declarations of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former French President and now Chair of the European Constitutional Convention, to the effect that Turkey was “non-European” and its admission would ruin the European construction,[46] have had at least one good effect: they have manifested a reality that does not belong to utopia or a distant future, but is approaching fast.  Whatever the (probably very great) diversity of institutional solutions, ranging from formal inclusion to close association, Turkey will not remain an isolated case.   The whole of the southern shore of the Mediterranean will become progressively involved in the construction of a common space of interdependence, a laboratory for new relationships between “developed” and “developing” countries, and between cultures that have their religious roots in antithetical versions of the same monotheistic theology.  Provided, of course, that the political conditions are consciously and tenaciously forged.

If such an ensemble were to gain consistency, it would become at the same time an instrument to correct inequalities in the rates of development, an intermediary structure making it easier for Europeans to effectively influence world affairs, and a powerful force for democratizing Arab-Islamic regimes in the Middle-East.  This is the real way to overcome the old patterns of opposition between “Occidental” and “Oriental” cultures (which are only one figure among many for understanding the history of mankind, but still project a substantial shadow on contemporary thought and politics).  It seems to me obvious that, in conjunction with other, similar processes, it could play a very effective role in promoting collective security and activating the working of international institutions.  The alternative is quite gloomy: that the “global” logic keeps igniting “fault lines” for decades¼.


I have been following the guiding thread provided by the obligation to “answer” (at least answer something) to the call of American liberals (among whom I include those who, like George Mosse in the past, or Edward Said nowadays, were driven to America by exile, and became essential contributors to its intellectual life), and it took us some distance further away.  Allow me to summarize this path, leaving aside some inevitable detours: starting with the critique of the equivocalities of any demand addressed to Europe to act as a counterweight or a mediator, I advocated in the end an “anti-strategic” metamorphosis in our conception of the relation between power and political capacity.  Meanwhile, I made some concrete suggestions concerning the way European nations, European States, European institutions, and European social forces and public opinion could favor a new system of international relations.  It will be said that any “anti-strategy” remains a strategy¼[47]  This is of course true; if it was not the case, there would be no point in offering this idea to determinate actors, in a situation that is critical, both urgent and antagonistic.  What was important in this choice of terms was to make clear how deeply we must  locate the inversion of perspectives necessary to answer the call that we receive: we must displace the call, we must call in return upon the Americans to think in different terms, we must question the very presuppositions of the demands.  We must start changing the concept of the political.  As a way of concluding, I would like to explain why I chose this title (“Europe, Vanishing Mediator?”), and I will return to the function of the intellectuals.

As a matter of fact, while I was sketching the elements of this presentation,[48] I happened to read (with considerable delay: almost thirty years!) Fredric Jameson’s brilliant essay “The Vanishing Mediator; or, Max Weber as Storyteller.”[49]  Jameson attempts to show that, at the core of Weber’s interpretation of the process of modernization or rationalization (which is basically a European or Eurocentric process), but also of certain Marxian descriptions of revolutionary processes in the past, there lies a dialectical figure that can be called the figure of the vanishing mediator.  This is the figure (admittedly presented in speculative terms) of a transitory institution (or force, community, or spiritual formation) that creates the conditions for a new society and a new civilizational pattern, albeit in the horizon and the vocabulary of the past, and by rearranging the elements inherited from the very institution that has to be overcome.  This is notoriously the case of the “protestant ethic,” centered around the paradoxical notion of a “worldly asceticism,” or an immanent spiritual calling, where a twist in the meaning of religious beliefs in fact prepares the subjective conditions for a secularized behavior of individuals and the whole society, the emergence of “rational” economic subjects.  It creates therefore the conditions for its own suppression and withering away.  But without this “vanishing” mediation no transition from the old to the new fabric of society would have been possible.

It seemed to me that I could in fact play on the double meaning of this remarkable dialectical expression to discuss the paradoxical situation in which Europe and European intellectuals find themselves today.  On the one hand, I should critically assess the limits of Europe’s capability to influence and mediate conflicts and historical processes that are changing the structure of the world under our eyes.  On the other hand, I should explore the possibilities for Europe to use its own fragilities and indeterminacies, its own “transitory” character in a sense, as an effective mediation in a process that might bring about a new political culture, a new pattern of the political institution as such, in our context of acute national and international crisis.  Or perhaps, even more paradoxically, I should explore the possibilities for Europe to offer itself as an instrument that other forces in the world, aiming at a transformation of politics, could use and shape to cope with the crisis.

The idea of the vanishing mediator is probably not so different from the idea of the translator, the intermediary, or the traveler that I have associated with the essential function of the intellectual.  In “our” case—we the citizens of Europe—the similitude becomes almost a fusion.  As Umberto Eco has proposed, the only genuine “idiom of Europe” (and we know that any political entity needs an idiom or a linguistic institution) is the practice of translation.[50]  This might well be the “exceptional” character of Europe, due to its specific history, in particular its global expansion and the past competition between its imperialist powers, followed by the “striking back” of the empires.  Europe is not the only region in the world where translations are made, where technologies, professional instructions, literary works, and sacred texts continuously pass from one idiom to another.  But nowhere—not even in India or in China—was it necessary to organize to the same degree the political and pedagogical conditions of linguistic exchanges.  It seems actually possible to imagine how this age-old institutional practice of translation, which is both typically “European” and impossible to enclose in the “borders of Europe” (since almost none of the great European idioms has remained a national “property”), could be expanded, in two directions.  It could be expanded by including new elements in the group of languages taught and practiced for the sake of labor and culture, thus broadening the circle of legitimate translations (starting with those—Arabic, Turkic, Urdu, etc.—that are already widely practiced on European soil).  It could be expanded also by stretching the idea of “translation” from the merely linguistic to the broader cultural level.  This is a decisive but still enigmatic task, one that involves acknowledging certain impossibilities (“non-translatable” ideas and forms) and looking for equivalences: scientific, literary, legal and religious “universals.”

We are thus led to an additional meaning of the idea of the “vanishing mediator”—perhaps our utopia or our myth: Europe as the interpreter of the world, translating languages and cultures in all directions.   This is an attempt to restore the political function of intellectuals: notwithstanding other activities and commitments, intellectuals would continuously broaden the horizon of their translating capacities. It also points at a broad, “organic,” function of the intellectuals.  Intellectuals would “disappear into [their] own intervention,” as Louis Althusser used to say.[51]  They would be necessary, but without monopoly.  They would be borderlines themselves.



[1]. This article (to be included in my forthcoming We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship, Princeton University Press) is  an expanded version of the first George L. Mosse Lecture at Humboldt-Universität Berlin for the Academic Year 2002-2003, delivered on Thursday, November 21st, 2002. The Mosse Lectures are sponsored by the Mosse-Zentrum Berlin, and the Hilde Mosse Foundation, New York. The text has been revised by James Swenson.

[2]. George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985).

[3]. Thomas Mann, Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, trans. Walter D. Morris (New York : Frederick Ungar, 1983).

[4]. Thomas Mann, “Europe Beware” and “Culture and Politics,” Order of the Day: Political Essays and Speeches of Two Decades, trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942), pp. 69-82, 228-37.

[5]. I am especially thinking of Michel Foucault’s opposing the “universal intellectual” of the past and the new “specific intellectual,” which was often misunderstood.  See Michel Foucault, “Truth and Power,” Essential Works of Foucault, 1954-1984, ed. Paul Rabinow and James D. Faubion, 3 vols. (New York: The New Press, 1997-1999, vol. 3: Power, pp. 111-33.

[6]. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Pantheon, 1971).

[7]. David Blankenhorn et al., “What We’re Fighting For: A Letter from America,” Institute for American Values, February 12, 2002.  In a second Letter (“Pre-emption, Iraq, and Just War: A Statement of Principles,” dated November 14, 2002), some of the initial signatories express their concern that the new strategic doctrine of “pre-emption” applied to the case of Iraq by the Bush Administration, is “inconsistent with the just war tradition” that legitimized the war in Afghanistan.  Both letters are available on line at and‑emption.html.

[8]. See the subtle analysis by Sophie Body-Gendrot, La Société américaine après le 11 septembre (Paris: Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 2002).

[9]. Bruce Ackerman, “Don’t Panic!” London Review of Books, February 7, 2002, pp. 15-16.

[10]. Immanuel Wallerstein, “America and the World: The Twin Towers as Metaphor” (delivered as the Charles R. Lawrence II Memorial Lecture, Brooklyn College, December 5, 2001), Transeuropéennes 22 (Spring-Summer 2002): 9-29.

[11]. Ibid., p. 9.

[12]. Ibid., pp. 14-17.

[13]. Ibid., p. 22.

[14]. Ibid., p. 23.

[15]. Ibid., pp. 25-27.

[16]. “Immanuel Wallerstein on the World Movement Facing the Capitalist Domination,” World Social Forum at Porto Alegre II, February 2002, available on line at

[17]. Timothy Garton Ash, “The Peril of Too Much Power,” New York Times, April 9, 2002, p. A25 (op-ed).

[18]. Edward Said, “Europe Against America,” Al-Ahram Weekly, November 14-20, 2002 (available on line at  See also Edward W. Said, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon, 1978), and Culture and Imperialism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).

[19]. In September 2002, during the German electoral campaign, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (who was to be reelected with a slim majority) declared that he would refuse any engagement of German troops in an American led war against Iraq, even if it was endorsed by the United Nations.  This led both to sharp criticism in the U.S. and the expression of reservations by other European governments.   A radical interpretation of Schröder’s intentions as paving the way for a “non-Western” Europe has been proposed by the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, “La différence de Schröder: la voix de l’Europe,” Libération, October 7, 2002.

[20]. Robert Kagan, “Power and Weakness,” Policy Review 113 (June-July 2002): 3-28.

[21]. Ibid., p. 3.

[22]. Robert Kagan, “Europe and America III: Different Philosophies of Power,” International Herald Tribune, May 27, 2002, p. 10 (a summary of the arguments of “Power and Weakness”).

[23]. See Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999).

[24]. Resolution n° 1441 of the Security Council of the United Nations, dated November 8, 2002.

[25]. The “Monroe Doctrine” was expressed in the Message to Congress by President James Monroe dated December 2, 1823.  It enunciated four principles: 1) that the American continents were no longer to be considered open for colonization by the European powers; 2) that the political system of the Americas was different from that of Europe; 3) that the United States would consider any attempt on the part of the European powers to extend their system to the Western hemisphere as dangerous to its peace and safety; 4) that the U.S. would not interfere in the internal affairs of European countries.  For the text, see Richard Hofstadter, Great Issues in American History: A Documentary Record, 2 vols. (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), vol. 1: From the Revolution to the Civil War, pp. 244-247.  It was later used to legitimize U.S. imperialist policies in Latin America as “inter-American affairs.”  The German conservative, later Nazi, jurist and political theorist Carl Schmitt had started very early to discuss its meaning for a new conception of international relations (see Carl Schmitt, “Völkerrrechtliche Formen des modernen Imperialismus” [1932], Positionen und Begriffe im Kampf mit Weimar-Genf-Versailles [Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1994], pp. 184-203).  In 1938 he used it to legitimize German plans to create a “European Great Space” under German leadership (see Carl Schmitt, “Neutrality According to International Law and National Totality,” Four Articles, 1931-1938, ed. and trans. Simona Draghici (Washington, D.C.: Plutarch Press, 1999).  Hitler himself borrowed the formula of a “European Monroe Doctrine” in his Reischstagsrede of April 28, 1939, rejecting Roosevelt’s warning against an aggression of Poland by Germany.  For a recent use, see Jean-Pierre Chevènement (former Socialist Minister of the Interior), “Pour une doctrine de Monroe européenne,” La Lettre de République Moderne 104 (December 2000).

[26]. Scott L. Malcomson, Borderlands: Nation and Empire (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1994).

[27]. Thierry de Montbrial, “Europe: La dialectique intérieur-extérieur,” Le Monde, November 19, 2002, pp. 1, 17.  See also his latest book, Thierry de Montbrial, L’Action et le système du monde (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2002).

[28]. Michel Foucault, “The Subject and Power,” Essential Works of Foucault, vol. 3, pp. 326-48.

[29]. The expression “Christian Europe,” which comes from German Romanticism (see Novalis [Friedrich von Hardenberg], “Christianity or Europe: A Fragment” [1799], The Early Political Writings of the German Romantics, ed. Fredrick C. Beiser [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996], pp. 61-79), is constantly used by Pope John Paul II, who, when receiving Valéry Giscard d’Estaing on October 31, 2002, urged that the coming “European Constitution” refer to the Christian values that are essential to Europe’s identity.  Giscard himself expressed the same idea indirectly when he argued that Turkey, as an Islamic country, could not belong to the European Union.  See Arnaud Leparmentier and Laurent Zecchini, “Europe: Pour ou contre la Turquie,” Le Monde, November 9,  2002, pp. 1-2.

[30].Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, “Contre l’ordre impérial, un ordre public démocratique et universel,” Le Monde diplomatique, December 2002, pp. 22-23. See also her recent book,  Droit international et démocratie mondiale: Les raisons d’un échec (Paris: Les Éditions Textuel, 2002).

[31]. This expression is used by historians of quite different orientation: Ernst Nolte, Der Europäische Bürgerkrieg, 1917-1945: Nationalsozialismus und Bolschewismus, 5th ed. (Munich: F. A. Herbig Verlag, 1997); but also E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes. A History of the World, 1914-1991 (New York: Vintage Books, 1996).

[32]. Amartya Sen, Inequality Reexamined (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992).

[33]. Machiavelli’s basic idea is that the strength of the Roman Republic came from the fact—half calculated, half unintended—that the antagonism between the two great social classes (the “Patricians” and the “Plebeians”) found an institutional solution with the creation, after violent revolts and repressions, of the “Tribunate of the Plebs.”  See Niccolò Macchiavelli, Discourses on Livy, trans. Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), book I, chapter 4 (“That the Disunion of the Plebs and the Roman Senate Made That Republic Free and Powerful”), pp. 16-17.

[34]. Max Weber, “The Social Psychology of World Religions,” From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. and trans. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills (New York: Oxford University Press, 1946), pp. 267-301.

[35]. “Expansive democracy” is a synonym for what Gramsci more often calls “hegemony,” that is, a strategy of “permanent revolution” transposed within the state itself.  See Antonio Gramsci, Quaderni del carcere, Edizione critica dell’Istituto Gramsci, ed. Valentino Gerratana, 4 vols. (Turin: Einaudi, 1975), pp. 972-973, 1565-1567 and passim (see note 30 to chapter 2 above on the relations between this edition and the existing English translations of the Prison Notebooks). See also Claude Lefort, The Political Forms of Modern Society: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Totalitarianism, trans. John B. Thompson (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1986) [many of the essays in this collection were collected in French under the title L’Invention démocratique: Les limites de la domination totalitaire (Paris: Fayard, 1981)].

[36]. See Charter of the United Nations, Chapter I, Article 1: “The Purposes of the United Nations are: 1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removals of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace¼

[37]. The NATO summit in Prague of November 2002 admitted new members from Eastern Europe, and heard a call from President Bush  to “modernize” the capabilities of  the European members in order to adapt to the new type of wars that the Alliance is now contemplating.  “Some critics argue that, in the course of carrying out this work of political incubation, NATO has ceased to be a workable military alliance and now may be destined to wither.  In fact the organization has been slowly but steadily rebuilding itself for the 21st century.  The creation of a reaction force capable of deploying around the world is a significant step in the right direction.  Whether NATO now becomes a force for combating terrorists and rogue states and for spreading democracy beyond Europe will depend on whether the political will for a strong trans-Atlantic partnership can be sustained, both in Washington and in Europe.  Yet the power and potential of that bond ought to be evident in the two great achievements for which NATO can now be credited: first the deterrence of Soviet aggression and now the consolidation of a Europe that is peaceful and free” (“NATO’s Success Story,” Editorial, The Washington Post, November 22, 2002, p. A40).


[38]. See Kaldor, New and Old Wars, p. 111: “Precisely because the new wars are a social condition that arises as the formal political economy withers, they are very difficult to end.  Diplomatic negotiations from above fail to take into account the underlying social relations. [...]  Temporary ceasefires or truces may merely legitimize new agreements or partnerships that, for the moment, suit the various factions.  Peacekeeping troops sent in to monitor ceasefires which reflect the status quo  may help to maintain a division of territory and to prevent the return of refugees.  Economic reconstruction channeled through existing ‘political authorities’ may merely provide new sources of revenue as local assets dry up.  As long as the power relations remain the same, sooner or later the violence will start again.  Fear, hatred and predation are not recipes for long-term viable politics.  Indeed, this type of war economy is perennially on the edge of exhaustion.  This does not mean, however, that they will disappear of their own accord.  There has to be some alternative. [...]  In particular, islands of civility might offer a counterlogic to the new warfare.”

[39]. See Charles Enderlin, Le Rêve brisé: Histoire de l’échec du processus de paix au Proche-Orient, 1995-2002 (Paris: Fayard, 2002).

[40]. Giovanni Arrighi, Terence K. Hopkins, and Immanuel Wallerstein, Antisystemic Movements (London: Verso, 1989).  More recently, see Ramòn Grosfoguel and Ana Margarita Cervantes-Rodriguez, eds., The Modern/Colonial/Capitalist World-System in the Twentieth Century: Global Processes, Antisystemic Movements, and the Geopolitics of Knowledge (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2002).

[41]. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).  See the discussion by Bruce Robbins, “How Not to Criticise The Clash of Civilizations,” Transeuropéennes 22 (Spring-Summer 2002): 31-41.

[42]. Olivier Christin, La Paix de religion: L’autonomisation de la raison politique au XVIe siècle (Paris: Seuil, 1997).

[43]. A critical view of the “Euro-Mediterranean Partnership” is presented in the forthcoming issue of Critique Internationale 18 (January 2003).

[44]. Carl Schmitt, Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europäum (Berlin: Duncker and Humblot, 1988).

[45]. See Germaine Tillion, France and Algeria: Complementary Enemies, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961).  See my commentary in Étienne Balibar, “Algeria, France: One Nation or Two?,” trans. Adele Porter, in Giving Ground: The Politics of Propinquity, ed. Joan Copjec and Michael Sorkin (London: Verso, 1999), pp. 162-72.

[46].Leparmentier and Zecchini, “Europe: Pour ou contre la Turquie.”

[47]. As was pointed out during the discussion following this talk at the Humboldt Universität.

[48]. An initial version was presented at the New School for Social Research in New York, on March 14th, 2002, where I had been invited by Nancy Fraser from the Department of Political Science and Jay Bernstein from the Department of Philosophy.

[49]. Fredric Jameson, “The Vanishing Mediator; or, Max Weber as Storyteller,” The Ideologies of Theory, 2 vols. (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), vol. 2, pp. 3-34 (originally published in New German Critique 1 [1973]).

[50]. Umberto Eco, The Search for the Perfect Language (The Making of Europe) (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), pp. 350-51.

[51]. Louis Althusser, “Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists” [1967], Philosophy and the Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists and Other Essays, ed. Gregory Elliott (London: Verso, 1990), p. 78.