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International Law

What is nation?

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The concept of nation is a very ancient, broad and multifaceted concept. Although it is not known exactly when the concept of nation came into being, it is more or less known to the world of science when the concept of nation was understood and activated. As we know, until the 19th century, our world consisted of a system with different realities and different perspectives. Geographical territories, states, and people within states were not divided by any nation, and were not defined in this way. However, events such as the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment in the 19th century forced the world into a different reality and a different system. Thus, thanks to these different realities, after people realized who they were as a nation and fought for it, the traditional system of the world began to change, and thus people, nation-states and geographical areas began to be divided and defined by nations and groups. Therefore, today I will try to give a brief overview of the concept of nation and the importance of this concept for the national state.

Part 1

In general, in order to understand the concept of nation, there are 3 features that we need to know. The first is the formation of the concept of nation, the second is what a nation is, and the third is the activity and activity of a nation in our world. These three concepts are able to explain the concept of nation one by one, from its inception to its activity in our modern world.

The first of these is the process of formation of the concept of nation. Anderson himself once claimed that the emergence of the concept of nation was mainly due to the loss of connection between the three great cultural concepts historically.

1) For example, the first cultural concept was languages ​​that were considered sacred. These languages ​​were mainly Latin and Arabic. For example, if we look at historical processes, the beginning of the Arab occupation in the East in the 7th century and the use of Arabic as the main language in the territories occupied by the Arab caliphate led to the expansion and unification of the Arabic language in the East. Later, in the West, the long history of the Roman Empire and the fact that Latin was the main language made Latin the main and unified language in science, books and basic concepts in the West. Thus, the predominance of Arabic in the East and Latin in the West, and the sanctity of these languages, enabled people to be persuaded and governed by similar truths under the same religious identity. However, the concepts we call similar truths made it difficult for people to understand the concept of nation. However, Anderson argues that the historical loss of influence of these sacred languages ​​was the first factor in the emergence of the concept of nation. For example, the weakening of Latin as a result of historical processes in Europe and the emergence of European languages ​​such as French, Italian, Romance, Spanish, and Portuguese contributed to the formation of the concept of nation in the West. A number of political processes and national enlightenment movements in the East also weakened the Arabic language and lost its strategic power. Thus, the loss of Latin and Arabic languages ​​in the West and the East and their emergence from the prism of a single language became one of the factors that led to the formation of national understanding and the concept of nation in people. This was the first separation of the cultural concept in the historical understanding of the concept of nation.

2) The second cultural difference in the understanding of the concept of nation was the disappearance of the dynastic government, ie the monarchy. Anderson claimed that one of the obstacles to understanding the concept of nation was the power of the church and the monarchy. Because of the church’s strong position in society, he claimed that the king and queen were chosen by God, and in this case, too, the people unconsciously obeyed the king and queen. Thus, the king and queen could easily keep the people under their control and control their thoughts easily. Even in this situation, the formation of the concept of nation and what the concept of nation could not be formed among people could not be formed. However, the French Revolution of 1789, the weakening of the kingdoms and monarchs in Europe, and the subsequent spread of the values ​​of this revolution globally to the West through Napoleon Bonaparte, led to a strong sense of nationhood and nationalism in Europe and Latin America. Later, the Decembrist uprising in Russia and the deportation of Decembrists led to the spread of this idea and its spread to all Eastern countries. The deportation of the Decembrists and the spread of their ideas in the places where they were sent began to form a serious notion of nationhood in the East. Thus, the French Revolution in both the West and the East, the Decembrists and other similar revolutions weakened the power of the monarchy and the kingdoms, and led to the emergence of new administrations. Thus, the process of understanding the concept of nation began in people, and this process led to the formation of the concept of nation.

3) In addition, Anderson argues that there is a third factor that has allowed people to imagine the concept of nation. Going a step further here, given the capitalist attitudes and social changes that have taken place in modern times, the author claims how they affect people’s outlook on life. In other words, in addition to the previous sacred languages, books were published in languages ​​understood and spoken by the common people, which changed the attitude of the common people towards life.

Part 2

In addition to all this, there is a second feature to understand the concept of nation, which is called the concept of nation. We have learned how and in what way the process of understanding the concept of nation has been historically formed. But let’s clarify what we mean by the concept of nation.

There are basically two basic concepts in the concept of nation. The first is the analysis of the concept of nation on the cultural level, and the second is the analysis on the political level.

1) The cultural analysis of the concept of nation is mainly based on several values. These values ​​are mainly based on factors such as common language, traditions, geography, religion, history and art. When analyzing the concept of nation in a cultural way, academics mainly refer to these factors. Academics, who see the concept of nation as cultural, claim that having a common mass creates an identity among people. For example, in World War II, Jews needed an ideology and an identity to save the Jewish nation from torture and to reunite it as a disintegrated nation. This idea was the idea of ​​struggle and the ideology was the ideology of nationalism. Therefore, the Jews saw that there was no other way but struggle and nationalism, and focused on struggle and nationalism. The identity that united them in this struggle was a common language, religion, historical tradition and common culture. Or, in the formation of the Finnish nation as a nation and in the reform of the Finnish state, and in the struggle for this reform, the identity that united them as a nation was mainly cultural identity and values. These identities and cultural values, as I said, were common religions, languages, geographies and historical traditions. Therefore, the concept of cultural identity and values ​​is a concept that helps nations to come closer to each other and work together in the idea of ​​struggle. Cultural national identity makes nations feel safe, comfortable and happy. For example, a person can never feel psychologically comfortable in a country he never knows, among people who speak a language he never knew. However, speaking the same language with a member of the same nation can make them happier. Because in this case, a mechanism of cultural identity is activated between them, and they feel more comfortable psychologically. These were the cultural analysis of the concept of nation.

2) In addition, there is an identity analysis of the concept of nation as a political entity. Unlike the cultural analysis of the concept of nation, the concept of political unity is more related to civil and political loyalty. For example, in the cultural sense of the word, if people are united by a common language, customs, history, art and geographical area, they are united here mainly under the identity of a citizen. Academics who support this approach are mainly academics who support the notion of nation as a cultural concept. Academics, who see the nation more as a political union, claim that it is impossible for a nation to remain culturally pure and unchanged. Its traditions change over time or disappear altogether. For example, the values ​​and languages ​​of each nation change over time through the soft power of different countries and through today’s globalization process, or disappear altogether. Therefore, the concept of nation should be analyzed politically, not culturally. Because political interests can keep the nation together at any time, anywhere.

In general, these were ideas about what the concept of nation was. I tried to explain how the concept of nation came into being and what it is, both with practical examples and with theoretical foundations.In addition, there is a third and final concept to understand the concept of nation, which is how the nation operates and how it actively participates in the process. The functioning of the nation is mainly based on some principles. For example, the first principle is common customs, the second principle is common language, the third principle is common geography, the fourth principle is common art, the fifth principle is common history and the same race, the sixth principle is political existence, and the seventh principle is common citizenship. As you can see, some of them are culturally based on the concept of nation, and some are based on the concept of identity as a political union. When all this is one, the nation exists and can function. Otherwise, the nation cannot be formed. For example, Ireland, which had been ruled by others for centuries, had such a nation at that time. Or, on the contrary, Ottomanism ended its political existence without becoming a nation. The unity of the race is the same. In general, most European nations belong to the same races, but they have not been able to form one nation. Or, on the contrary, France, full of different races, is one of the greatest examples of the concept of nation alive. Language is a bigger factor. However, it is possible to see that people who speak the same language belong to different nations. For example, we can give examples of Iran and Afghanistan, Britain and America. Religion, on the other hand, has lost its former political power in many countries, and it is possible to see that people of the same nationality today belong to more different faiths.

Conclusion

As we know, the concept of nation is a very serious and ancient concept. In our modern world, people, states, and geographical areas are often divided and analyzed by nationality rather than by name. However, despite the fact that the concept of nation has such a wide and ancient history, today, multiculturalism internally, and the globalization of culture externally, is one of the factors damaging the concept of nation. With the development of communication and transport technologies, people can now easily travel to other countries and keep in touch with other countries. This can lead to the emergence of a global common culture in humans. The emergence of a global culture is one of the concepts that seriously harms the concept of nation in the world today and is likely to degrade the concept of nation.

Reference

  • Peter Alter, Nationalism, p. 9
  • Andrew Heywood, Politics, p.5
  • Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, p 186-189
  • Andres. B, 1983 Imagine communities; Reflection on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism

I am a 3rd year student at Khazar University in Azerbaijan. My specialty is political science. My main areas of focus are South Caucasus politics and Asian studies.

International Law

Carl Schmitt for the XXI Century

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For decades, the scholars of international relations have confused the term “New World order” in the social, political, or economic spheres. Even today, few scholars confuse the term with the information age, internet, universalism, globalization, and  American imperialism. Unlike the complex categorization of the New World Order, the concept of the Old World Order was purely a juridical phenomenon. However, from standpoint of modernity, the term New World order is a purely ideological and political phenomenon, which embodies various displays such as liberal democracy, financial capitalism, and technological imperialism.

In his Magnus Opus “The concept of the Political”, Carl Schmitt lauded a harsh criticism on liberal ideology and favored competitive decisionism over it. This is why according to Schmitt’s critics; the whole text in “The concept of the political” is filled with authoritarian overtones. Nonetheless, the fact cannot be denied that it was the radical political philosophy of Carl Schmitt that paved the way for the conservative revolution in Europe. Even today, his writings are being regarded as one of the major contributions to the field of political philosophy from the 20th century.

Throughout his major works such as “Nomos of the earth”, “the Crisis of Parliamentary democracy”, “The concept of the Political” and “Dictatorship”, Carl Schmitt frequently employs unadorned terms such as ‘actual’, ‘concrete’, ‘real’, and ‘specific’ to apprize his political ideas. However, he advances most of the core political ideas by using the metaphysical framework. For instance, in the broader political domain, Carl Schmitt anticipated the existential dimension of the ‘actual politics’ in the world today.

On the contrary, in his famous work “The Concept of the Political” readers most encounter the interplay between the abstract and ideal and, the concrete and real aspects of politics. Perhaps, understanding of Schmitt’s discursive distinctions is necessary when it comes to the deconstruction of the liberal promoted intellectual discourse. However, the point should be kept in mind that for Schmitt the concept of the political does not necessarily refer to any concrete subject matter such as “state” or “sovereignty”. In this respect, his concept of the political simply refers to the friend-enemy dialectics or distinction. To be more precise, the categorization of the term “Political” defines the degree of intensity of an association and dissociation.

In addition, the famous friend-enemy dialectics is also the central theme of his famous book “The Concept of the Political”. Likewise, the famous friend-enemy distinction in Schmitt’s famous work has both concrete and existential meaning. Here, the word “enemy” refers to the fight against ‘human totality”, which depends upon the circumstances. In this respect, throughout his work, one of the major focuses of Carl Schmitt was on the subject of  “real Politics”. According to Schmitt, friend, enemy, and battle have real meaning. This is why, throughout his several works; Carl Schmitt remained much concerned with the theory of state and sovereignty. As Schmitt writes;

I do not say the general theory of the state; for the category, the general theory of the state…is a typical concern of the liberal nineteenth century. This category arises from the normative effort to dissolve the concrete state and the concrete Volk in generalities (general education, general theory of the law, and finally general theory of the knowledge; and in this way to destroy their political order”.[1]

As a matter of the fact, for Schmitt, the real politics ends up in battle, as he says, “The normal proves nothing, but the exception proves everything”. Here, Schmitt uses the concept of “exceptionality” to overcome the pragmatism of Liberalism. Although, in his later writings, Carl Schmitt attempted to dissociate the concept of “Political” from the controlling and the limiting spheres but he deliberately failed. One of the major reasons behind Schmitt’s isolation of the concept of the political is that he wanted to limit the categorization of friend-enemy distinction. Another major purpose of Schmitt was to purify the concept of the “Political” was by dissociating it from the subject-object duality. According to Schmitt, the concept of the political was not a subject matter and has no limit at all. Perhaps, this is why Schmitt advocated looking beyond the ordinary conception and definition of politics in textbooks.

For Schmitt, it was Liberalism, which introduced the absolutist conception of politics by destroying its actual meaning. In this respect, he developed his very idea of the “Political” against the backdrop of the “human totality” (Gesamtheit Von Menschen). Today’s Europe should remember the bloody revolutionary year of 1848 because the so-called economic prosperity, technological progress, and the self-assured positivism of the last century have come together to produce long and deep amnesia. Nonetheless, the fact cannot be denied that the revolutionary events of1848 had brought deep anxiety and fear for the ordinary Europeans. For instance, the famous sentence from the year 1848 reads;

For this reason, fear grabs hold of the genius at a different time than it does normal people. the latter recognizes the danger at the time of danger; up to that, they are not secure, and if the danger has passed, then they are secure. The genius is the strongest precisely at the time of danger”.

Unfortunately, it was the intellectual predicament at the European stage in the year 1848 that caused revolutionary anxiety and distress among ordinary Europeans. Today, ordinary Europeans face similar situations in the social, political, and ideological spheres. The growing anxieties of the European public consciousness cannot be grasped without taking into account Carl Schmitt’s critique of liberal democracy. A century and a half ago, by embracing liberal democracy under the auspices of free-market capitalism, the Europeans played a pivotal role in the self-destruction of the European spirit.

The vicious technological drive under liberal capitalism led the European civilization towards crony centralism, industrialism, mechanization, and above all singularity. Today, neoliberal capitalism has transformed the world into a consumer-hyped mechanized factory in which humanity appears as the by-product of its own artificial creation. The unstructured mechanization of humanity in the last century has brought human civilization to technological crossroads. Hence, the technological drive under liberal democratic capitalism is presenting a huge threat to human civilizational identity.


[1] Wolin, Richard, Carl Schmitt, Political Existentialism, and the Total State, Theory and Society, volume no. 19, no. 4, 1990 (pp. 389-416). Schmitt deemed the friend-enemy dialectics as the cornerstone of his critique on liberalism and universalism.

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International Law

Democratic Backsliding: A Framework for Understanding and Combatting it

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Democracy is suffering setbacks around the world. Over the past decade, the number of liberal democracies has shrunk from 41 to 32. Today, 34 percent of the global population lives in 25 countries moving in the direction of autocracy. By contrast, only 16 countries are undergoing a process of democratization, representing just 4 percent of the global population. Reflecting these troubling trends, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, during her confirmation hearing, highlighted democratic backsliding – along with climate change, conflict and state collapse, and COVID-19 – as among the “four interconnected and gargantuan challenges” that will guide the Biden Administration’s development priorities.

However, defining “democratic backsliding” is far from straightforward. Practitioners and policymakers too often refer to “democratic backsliding” broadly, but there is a high degree of variation in how backsliding manifests in different contexts. This imprecise approach is problematic because it can lead to an inaccurate analysis of events in a country and thereby inappropriate or ineffective solutions.

To prevent or mitigate democratic backsliding, policymakers need a definition of the concept that captures its multi-dimensional nature. It must include the actors responsible for the democratic erosion, the groups imperiled by it, as well as the allies who can help reverse the worst effects of backsliding. 

To address this gap, the International Republican Institute developed a conceptual framework to help practitioners and policymakers more precisely define and analyze how democratic backsliding (or “closing democratic space”) is transpiring and then devise foreign assistance programs to combat it.  Shifting away from broad generalizations that a country is moving forward or backward vis-à-vis democracy—which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to derive specific solutions—the framework breaks closing democratic space into six distinct, and sometimes interrelated, subsectors or “spaces.”

Political/Electoral: Encompasses the arena for political competition and the ability of citizens to hold their government accountable through elections. Examples of closing political or electoral space range from fraudulent election processes and the arrest or harassment of political leaders to burdensome administrative barriers to political party registration or campaigning.

Economic: Refers to the relationship between a country’s economic market structure, including access and regulation, and political competition. Examples of closing economic space include selective or politically motivated audits or distribution of government licenses, contracts, or tax benefits.

Civic/Associational: Describes the space where citizens meet to discuss and/or advocate for issues, needs, and priorities outside the purview of the government. Examples of closing civic or associational space include harassment or co-optation of civic actors or civil society organizations and administrative barriers designed to hamper civil society organizations’ goals including limiting or making it arduous to access resources.

Informational: Captures the venues that afford citizens the opportunity to learn about government performance or hold elected leaders to account, including the media environment and the digital realm. h. Examples of closing informational space consist of laws criminalizing online speech or activity, restrictions on accessing the internet or applications, censorship (including self-censorship), and editorial pressure or harassment of journalists.  

Individual: Encapsulates the space where individuals, including public intellectuals, academics, artists, and cultural leaders– including those traditionally marginalized based on religious, ethnicity, language, or sexual orientation–can exercise basic freedoms related to speech, property, movement, and equality under the law. Common tactics of closing individual space include formal and informal restrictions on basic rights to assemble, protest, or otherwise exercise free speech; censorship, surveillance, or harassment of cultural figures or those critical of government actions; and scapegoating or harassing identity groups.

Governing: Comprises the role of state institutions, at all levels, within political processes. Typical instances of closing the governing space include partisan control of government entities such as courts, election commissions, security services, regulatory bodies; informal control of such governing bodies through nepotism or patronage networks; and legal changes that weaken the balance of powers in favor of the executive branch.

Examining democratic backsliding through this framework forces practitioners and policymakers to more precisely identify how and where democratic space is closing and who is affected. This enhanced understanding enables officials to craft more targeted interventions.

For example, analysts were quick to note Myanmar’s swift about-face toward autocracy.  This might be true, but how does this high-level generalization help craft an effective policy and foreign aid response, beyond emphasizing a need to target funds on strengthening democracy to reverse the trend? In short, it does not.  If practitioners and policymakers had dissected Myanmar’s backsliding using the six-part framework, it would have highlighted specific opportunities for intervention.  This systematic analysis reveals the regime has closed civic space, via forbidding large gatherings, as well as the information space, by outlawing online exchanges and unsanctioned news, even suspending most television broadcasts.  One could easily populate the other four spaces with recent examples, as well. 

Immediately, we see how this exercise leads to more targeted interventions—support to keep news outlets operating, for example, via software the government cannot hack—that, collectively, can help slow backsliding.  Using the framework also compels practitioners and policymakers to consider where there might be spillover—closing in one space that might bleed into another space—and what should be done to mitigate further closing.

Finally, using this framework to examine the strength of Myanmar’s democratic institutions and norms prior to the February coup d’etat may have revealed shortcomings that, if addressed, could have slowed or lessened the impact of the sudden democratic decline. For example, the high-profile arrest of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in December 2017 was a significant signal that Myanmar’s information space was closing. Laws or actions to increase protections for journalists and media outlets, could have strengthened the media environment prior to the coup, making it more difficult for the military to close the information space.

A more precise diagnosis of the problem of democratic backsliding is the first step in crafting more effective and efficient solutions. This framework provides practitioners and policymakers a practical way to more thoroughly examine closing space situations and design holistic policies and interventions that address both the immediate challenge and longer-term issue of maintaining and growing democratic gains globally.

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International Law

Authentic Justice Thus Everlasting Peace: Because We Are One

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The ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestine conflict is a good thing. We thank God for it. Be it between two individuals or institutions or nations or the internal colonial and colonized, war does not do anything except cause more immediate or future mass misery and human destruction. Our continued memories of our interpersonal and international and internal colonial and civil wars and the memorials we erect to remember them recall and record wounds and pains we never get over. 

So it becomes a bothersome puzzle as to why we human beings still just don’t get that war like oppression leads to nowhere except to more human devastation. And we should have learned by now but have not that peacemaking like ceasefires mean nothing without justice.

 It is the reason why I constantly find myself correcting those who stress Peace and Justice.No Justice No Peace is more than a cliche.It is real politic emotionally, economically, socially, and spiritually.

Our American inner cities like those in every continent where culturally different and similar people live cramped impoverished lives and nations and colonial enclaves with such unequal wealth remind us of their continued explosive potentialities when peace is once again declared but with no justice.Everyone deserves a decent quality of life which not only includes material necessities but more importantly emotional and spiritual freedoms and other liberations.Not just the victors who conquer and rule and not just the rich and otherwise privileged.

 And until such  justices are  assured to everyone peacemaking is merely a bandaid on cancerous societal or International conflictual soars which come to only benefit those who profit from wars which are bound to come around again when there is no justice and thus peace such as  family destroying divorce lawyers, blood hungry media to sell more subscriptions , arms dealers to sell more murderous technologies, politicians needing  votes so start and prolong wars, and military men and women seeking promotion while practicing their killing capacities.

So if those of us who devoutly practice our  faiths or our golden moral principles,  let us say always and pray and advocate justice and peace always  as a vital public good  and  do justice then lasting peace in our personal lives and insist that national leaders, our own and others do the same in their conduct of international affairs and affairs with those who are stateless in this global world. 

All such pleading is essential since we are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God who created all of us  in God’s image as one humanity  out of  everlasting divine love for all of us so we should love each other as God loves all of us  leading to desiring justice and thus lasting peace for each and every one of us.

This is difficult for those in international affairs to understand who take more conventional secular approaches to historical and contemporary justice and peace challenges as if our universal spiritual connectivennes  ( not to be confused with the vast diversity of organized religions)as human beings which makes us all brothers and sisters has no relevance. But if we are going to find true enduring peace we have no alternative but to turn our backs on increasingly useless secular methods which go either way, stressing peace then justice or justice then peace and understand how much we must begin to explore and implement approaches which we look at each other as spiritually connected brothers and sisters in which it is the expectation that peace only comes and lasts when  through the equal enjoyment of justices for every human being, we restore our universal kindred rooted in the everlasting love of God and thus for each other, no matter the different ways in which we define God or positive moral principles which originate in understandings that we human beings in all our diversities are one and thus brothers and sisters.

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