Monday, December 12, 2005

Geopolitics explained

Magister sounds off with an in-depth analysis of the Holy See's geopolitical goals (in all their myriad forms).

What follows is an analysis of the Church’s international politics – its highlights, its shadows, its confusion – as it appears at the beginning of Benedict XVI’s pontificate.

The Church has an undeniable originality as an historical entity. It is simultaneously an earthly city and a heavenly city. But as an earthly city, it belongs to the same order that governs other states. And so it can be analyzed within this order, according to its greater or lesser proximity to the dominant lines of international politics in the last decades: realism, isolationism, internationalism, neoconservatism, etcetera.

From this intro, Magister runs down the Holy See's position in world politics from Roman times up to the present and then runs through those four theories of international relations. It's long and detailed and I suggest reading through it, though it is rather technical in places.

In the end, Magister sums up with the following:

In short, in the Vatican’s vision of geopolitics, peace and war are not necessarily incompatible. In addition to peace, war can also have its just reasons. The final confirmation of this vision came a few months ago. In September of 2005, at the United Nations, nuncio Celestino Migliore presented, in the name of the Holy See, a proposal aimed at linking war and peace. And this is how he explained it:

“The wars of the twentieth century demonstrated how politics for the cessation of war and postwar operational planning are essential for reestablishing justice and peace, and for providing protection. In the past, great attention was rightly paid to the ‘ius ad bellum’, the conditions necessary for recourse to force, and to the ‘ius in bello’, the legal parameters of ethical behavior in war. The moment has come to focus upon and develop a third dimension of the jurisprudence connected to war, the ‘ius post bellum’, or how to arrive rapidly and effectively at a just and lasting peace, which is the only objective admissible for the use of force.”

Read the complete article Between Venus and Mars, the Church of Rome Chooses Both from www.chiesa.

How does one win the peace? That is a question that has dogged international relations for centuries. The problem though is that peace is usually something that has to occur organically. In places such as Kosovo and Iraq, building an artifical peace in the context of decades of autocracy and current anarchy is extremely difficult. Europe in general has known peace now for only sixty years and it took over a millennium for that situation to work itself to this point. More recently, the United States became a successful federal union basically because the individual states had been practicing democracy and living under the rule of law for a couple of centuries before the break with Britain.

The needed benchmarks to be reached in winning the peace are not difficult to conceptualize. Rather, it's the follow-through in meeting those benchmarks that is extremely difficult. State-building as the US government can truthfully say is expensive in both lives and money.

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