Harvard International Law Journal | Volume 54, Issue 1: Winter 2013 | By Manik Suri
Immanuel Kant’s 1795 essay, “Toward Perpetual Peace,” established a concept of cosmopolitan law as the nemesis of war, instilling in generations of liberal thinkers and practitioners a vision of a world without conflict. Kant’s paradigm posited that “republican constitutions, a commercial spirit of international trade, and a federation of interdependent republics” would provide the basis for a “perpetual peace” amongst states bound together under international law. Yet cultural relativists since the time of Kant have argued that only certain nations – namely those with a “Europeanized” culture – are capable of coming together to secure this lasting peace. This article challenges such claims and assesses the contemporary relevance of Kant’s ‘perpetual peace’ in light of one of the key geopolitical developments of our time: the rise of China. Read the full piece here.