Does western economics herald ‘perpetual peace’?

Immanuel Kant proposed a number of diplomatic tests that if passed might herald a state of perpetual peace between two or more nations. Dan O’Brien, in the latest edition of Britain and Ireland, argues that a range of external pressures have transformed the economic relationship between the Republic and the UK sufficiently believe we may be entering a new long term era of substantive peace:

…while it is true that power will remain crucial in international relations, the 20th century saw many other factors come to the fore. As a result, the way states deal with each other has changed far more in the 84 years since the Irish state’s founding than in the previous three hundred.

The reasons are manifold: the waning of belligerent nationalism and the waxing of self-constraining multilateralism; the multiplying of identities and increasingly pacifistic publics; and changes in the type, amount and geographic spread of economic activity.

All of these forces, and others besides, have been at work in both Ireland and Britain, and have had a profound effects on relations in what Patrick Keatinge, the doyen of the Irish international relations discipline, called the “British Isles sub-system”.

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  • Martin

    I think “sub-system” is a good way of describing the relationship between Britain and Ireland these days. Nonetheless I’m not sure about “British Isles Sub-System” is going to win many fans as a name for that relationship. I’ve just finished Diarmaid McCulloch’s “Reformation” and he uses the term “Atlantic Isles” for describing this little archaepeligo of ours but whenever I saw that phrase I kept thinking of the Azores or Canaries…still, an alternative beats me. Anyone fancy putting their hands up as a resident of the “Atlantic Isles Sub-System”, we have 3 years to sort it out before the “Atlantic Isles Sub-System Lions” tour South Africa.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”the waning of belligerent nationalism”

    Aside from Sinn Fein, the BNP, the SNP and Claid Cymru, this guy is spot on.

  • elfinto

    Surely the DUP should be on that list too, G l C

    Perhaps western economics brings perpetual peace to those who live in the west at the expense of those who live in the rest of the world.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    With respect GlC, he’s talking about parties which are in a position to exercise power. That does not (yet) apply to any of those you’ve mentioned.

  • Brian Boru

    I resent Ireland being called a “British isle”. The South of Ireland is not British. Hopefully a day will come when some geographers and the media outside Ireland will desist from using this term.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”With respect GlC, he’s talking about parties which are in a position to exercise power. That does not (yet) apply to any of those you’ve mentioned.”

    Granted none are currently in power, but the SNP have a substantial core vote which could yet see Scotland breaking away from UK PLC and SF are nothing if not dedicated in their pursuit of ‘belligerent nationalism’. They have little time for Europe, next to no time for the US and absolutely no time for Britain and could well be exercising power (albeit in coalition form) as early as next year.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    And what exactly, GLC, would be so bad about Scotland breaking away from the UK and becoming a full member of the EU making it’s own decisions about it’s own future within a European context. People who support the idea of their country leaving the UK cannot be constantly dismissed by Unionist commentators as some kind of narrow nationalists.

    Is it because if Scotland (and/or Wales) decide to determine their own destiny the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland doesn’t quite have the same ring to it?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”And what exactly, GLC, would be so bad about Scotland breaking away from the UK and becoming a full member of the EU making it’s own decisions about it’s own future within a European context.”

    Absolutely nothing Tochais — it would be a democratic decision, but I suspect the main reason this hasn’t happened as yet is the realisation that Scotland would become an economic backwater (even more so than now). English economic subvention in both Scotland and Northern Ireland is huge and given the choice of remaining part of the fourth largest economy in the world or throwing in my lot with an isolated and irrelevant Scots nation or an Irish socialist republic, I know which I’d choose.