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The International

Politics of Recognition

Edited by
Thomas Lindemann and
Erik Ringmar

Paradigm Publishers
Boulder • London

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All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be transmitted or reproduced
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Copyright © 2012 Paradigm Publishers
Published in the United States by Paradigm Publishers, 2845 Wilderness Place,
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Paradigm Publishers is the trade name of Birkenkamp & Company, LLC,
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Cute cats can create outrageous miracles.
In recognition of my catwoman Catherine Small.
Thomas Lindemann

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” and the “Trauma of Expectations Foregone” Charles F. Doran 87 109 v Lindemann & Ringmar.Contents Illustrationsv Part I  Theoretical Preliminaries Introduction  The International Politics of Recognition Erik Ringmar 3 Chapter 1  Recognition between States: On the Moral Substrate of International Relations Axel Honneth 25 Chapter 2  Prickly States? Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples Reinhard Wolf 39 Chapter 3  Symbolic and Physical Violence Philippe Braud Chapter 4  Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition? Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller 57 71 Part II  Empirical Applications Chapter 5  Spirit. “Adjustment Delusions.indb 5 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Recognition and Foreign Policy: Germany and World War II Richard Ned Lebow Chapter 6  World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory: Recognition.

vi  ✻  Contents Chapter 7  Recognition. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises Alexandre Hummel 171 Chapter 10  Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence Andreas Behnke 189 Part III  Conclusions Chapter 11  Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition Thomas Lindemann 209 Index227 About the Contributors Lindemann & Ringmar. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco: Rethinking Imperial Germany’s Security Dilemma Michelle Murray 131 Chapter 8  Self-Identification. Recognition and Conflicts: The Evolution of Taiwan’s Identity.indb 6 000 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 1949–2008 Yana Zuo 153 Chapter 9  Recognition.

1  Systemic Bounds on Relative Growth 00 Figure 6.2  Conflicting Messages 00 Figure 6.indb 7 4/18/11 12:36 PM .1  Numbers of States Recognizing Taipei and Beijing (1950–1990) 00 vii Lindemann & Ringmar.Illustrations Figures Figure 6.4  Power-Role Lag 00 Figure 6.3  Expectations Foregone: Resolving WWI “Puzzles of History” 00 Figure 6.5  Dynamics of Changing Systems Structure 1500–1993 00 Table Table 8.

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Part I Theoretical Preliminaries Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 1 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

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have been misinterpreted and badly explained. we need to have this account accepted by people around us. including colonialism and armed conflicts. we have no idea of who we are. We need to come up with an account that describes us. Abandoning the old Realpolitik for a new 3 Lindemann & Ringmar. Yet putting together an identity is often quite a struggle. This is a logic of action and interaction. or perhaps who. the logic of identity creation is relevant also to the entities that populate world politics—most notably to the state.1 As the chapters in this book make clear. In the twenty-first century. The state was the indisputable subject of a study of world politics and its existence was impossible to problematize. without an identity.Int roduct ion The International Politics of Recognition Erik Ringmar Identities matter to individuals and they matter to collective entities. The reason why previous generations of scholars have ignored questions of identities is simply that they did not come up. In fact. but in addition.indb 3 4/18/11 12:36 PM .3 As a result. We need to be recognized. and the position of the state in world politics is questioned like never before. few things matter more than the identities we put together for ourselves since. and never what.2 In fact. the state was. which has been largely ignored by traditional scholars of international relation. The question was always what the state did and why. We are placed in a better position. the struggle for recognition takes up much of a state’s time and resources. many international phenomena. States too are coming up with self-descriptions and struggling to have them recognized. identity crises and identity makeovers are everywhere. and it makes states act and interact in specific ways.

no single memory. The European origins of this way of talking explain how subjectivity came to be attached to the state.10 Propagated through the new systems of public education. The states made up stories about themselves. A person may not be what a state is.” and to endow this body with “arms. we need new intellectual tools. political relations. and it does not necessarily apply elsewhere. there is a sense that the state is a subject.” a “stomach. we believe that sociological insights into how identities are formed. States in early modern Europe were compulsive self-mythologizers.6 States can be compared to persons to be sure but that does not make them into persons.” who directed the state’s overall movements. the world was often compared to a stage. The body-metaphor and the stagemetaphor were combined.12 Sometimes. as in Shakespeare. the body. it is surely difficult to talk about the “identity” of a state and to assume that this identity is fashioned in the same way as the identities of individuals. or the “head of state. The argument is contested since states clearly are not persons. the metaphor was used.11 Most of us still believe in some versions of these semi-mythological accounts.7 Guilds and fraternities were bodies but so were cities and kingdoms. the sovereign state found it useful to adopt this body language and to use it for its own purposes.4  ✻  Erik Ringmar Identitätsproblematik. but this is nevertheless how states have been talked about at least for the last four hundred years.” and a “heart. maintained.9 The nationalists of the nineteenth century rearranged these accounts to include more references to “the people. like all human associations. but it soon became the standardized way in which international politics was discussed. it was the king. slightly pathetically. This book unapologetically assumes that world politics is a social system that can be analyzed with the help of the tools of sociology. that is.5 Admittedly. the body of the state was turned into an actor.indb 4 4/18/11 12:36 PM . a state has no unified consciousness.” Naturally. In the Middle Ages. This introduction provides a first outline.” “legs.4 More specifically. this is a contested and an explicitly Eurocentric argument. attaching their often quite undistinguished present to a past filled with classical or biblical references.” inventing traditions designed to bring legitimacy to their claims to national self-determination. It is Eurocentric since it most obviously applies to the international system that came into existence in Europe in the late Renaissance. In early modern Europe. these stories were soon established as the official histories of the nation-state. which can be compared to a person. which was the body of the Church. and dissolved have much to teach a student of international relations. to express the superficiality and vanity of human pretensions. were understood through the metaphor of the corpus. In early modern Europe. The Subjectivity of the State To begin. As a result. and no subjective will. Lindemann & Ringmar. and all bodies were ultimately incorporated into the universal body. Most obviously.8 It was common to talk about the “body politic.

and it is an actor who can think rationally and be held responsible for the consequences of its actions. The stage was a world and the world was a stage.19 If we probe our brains for evidence of our identities we will necessarily be disappointed. This is how the subjectivity of the state originally came to be established.” “acting aggressively. and it will be replete with states “considering options. we celebrate their successes and lament their defeats. a way to show how international politics works. in legal treatises the state has usually attained nothing short of a transcendental status. The l’ état c’est moi of Louis XIV was not an egocentric indulgence as much as an expression of the official French theory of sovereignty. such as at country fairs. It is only if the state is completely divided up by others that its subjectivity comes to an end. We may perhaps object that this language is metaphorical through and through and that the subjectivity of the state for that reason is a matter of language rather than any real. L’ état. the state is the protector of our national culture and our status in the world. there can be no additional proof of the state’s subjectivity.indb 5 4/18/11 12:36 PM . This metaphorical cluster and its associated performative practices were eagerly adopted by absolutist rulers for whom they seemed ideally suited. after all. they had an awesome military and political capability. or as territory is added to or subtracted from it. self-directing actor constrained only by the actions of other states. And this is how we still think about international politics. and its political system.” or “threatening sanctions”—all before the critical or the approving eyes of world opinion. In fact. Identities are social facts created through social interaction. We tie our hopes to our states and make careers in their institutions. and what is true for the identities of individuals Lindemann & Ringmar. the state came increasingly regarded as a sovereign. even Americans agree. It was in their company that lesser political units one day aspired to appear. the audience would literally see their state acting and interacting with other states.17 In international law. they were Christian.18 The state remains the same even as it changes its rulers. Both citizens and leaders identify themselves with their states.15 But the subjectivity of the state was equally useful to republics and later to the needs of democratic governments. observable facts. c’est nous! 16 In international law. Brain states.14 On the stage before them. And admittedly. plays were performed that illustrated the political relations of the day. a state is a subject endowed with rights and obligations. But much the same can be said about the subjectivity of individuals. Funnily enough. Together the various states formed a theater company that regularly met for performances on the battlefields of Europe or in the conference halls where the peace treaties were signed. It was an illustrious troupe: the actors were civilized.13 At the royal courts but also on more popular occasions. The state is the persona of international law in much the same way as individuals are the persona of civil law and corporations the persona of commercial law. such étatisme is often strongest in places where state institutions are least appreciated. beyond this metaphorical language. are not what we are. its citizens.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  5 After the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. the subjectivity of the state is a well-established commonplace. Pick up any newspaper article on world affairs. Perhaps it is nothing more than a hermeneutic device—a way to illustrate and explain things.” “signing agreements.

they know far better what we are like as social beings. alternatively. recognized. The problem with these self-descriptions is that they often are faulty. Lindemann & Ringmar. it should be possible to understand the formation of state identities with the help of the same intellectual tools we use for understanding the identities of individuals. they provide the nation with a past and a future. We start by telling stories about ourselves. Relying heavily on Hegel’s celebrated account in the Phenomenology of Spirit. The stories locate the national self in space and time. we are only too ready to accept the accounts.” certain traditions. Locating ourselves inside our bodies. but equally. too: seeing us from the outside. We let other people know who we believe we are. Above all. which we go on to test on people around us. by contrast. After all. Stories are told about states in much the same fashion.20 We are not in the realm of reality. In this way. there are still many things about us that we simply do not know. identities are created through an interplay of these two alternative perspectives. other people have a privileged perspective. The stories are expressed in our particular vernacular and disseminated through national printing presses and electronic media. and each state only one nation. they may be able to see potentials in us that we have ignored. we have only limited knowledge of what we look like while interacting with others. ways of behaving. our stories about ourselves are. hearing. since we never can see ourselves except awkwardly and in fleeting moments in a mirror. are wont to describe us far more realistically. In either case. we know where we belong.”23 A nation consists of people who mutually recognize each other as belonging to the same imagined community. and long lists of things that people like ourselves are likely to think. or we make up many. Unfettered in our fantasies. and they let us know whether or not our account is reasonable. which describe ourselves to ourselves.6  ✻  Erik Ringmar is true for the identities of states. Reading. we are in the realm of interpretation. A community of storytellers could be referred to as a “nation. In the end. of what a person like ourselves is supposed to be. And even if we somehow manage to describe ourselves in a reasonably realistic fashion. it is important—important to nationalists—that each nation should have a state. do. we believe we have privileged access to our mental states— indeed we may believe that we are our mental states—but this privileged perspective is also quite limiting. we can understand this process first as a question of the stories that individuals tell about themselves. a “national character. or watching these accounts. The state can be understood as the political guardian of this story-telling community. and eat.22 Other people. For that reason.21 We make up an account. or are not. handed down to us by society and by tradition.indb 6 4/18/11 12:36 PM . They are unlikely to exaggerate our importance or our looks. we are wont to exaggerate our importance and our prospects or. we will be mistaken about ourselves. Recognition and Its Denial If there is a sense in which states can be thought of as persons.

others as great powers. we have an identity which we. revolutionaries. our pride is injured. and brought low. however. increasingly self-confidently. and different stories often contradict each other.” meaning not only a right to independence. where the principle of cuius regio. However.27 Stacked inside each other. we insist that our audiences treat us as equal to others and endowed with the same rights as everyone else. if the audience boos and hisses—if we are denied recognition—we have a problem. we demand attention from an audience.indb 7 4/18/11 12:36 PM . We feel slighted. (2) we want respect. (3) we want individuality. The stories we tell make four separate claims on their listeners. and from our enemies we ask enmity. we also want to be different from others. Rather. or as neutrals. We want to be recognized in the sense of being noticed. This is the case for individuals but also for states.”29 Like a Hobbesian actor. as a Mask or a Visard. or by groups that yield disproportionate economic or political power—and in some societies. the United Nations similarly affirmed that all peoples have the right to freely determine. as revisionists. and it “signifies the disguise. In addition to being equal to others. uncritically accepted. That is. counterfeited on the Stage. and the persona will be attached evermore securely to our face. “The word Person is latine. These stories are not necessarily generally shared. eius religio stipulated that the religion of a country should follow the religion of its ruler. Finally. can go on to use. ­Doing Lindemann & Ringmar. we carry our identities as masks before the audiences we address.26 On the most basic level. These stories. and (4) we want an affiliation. insulted. public discussions are of course far from free. yet through public discussions and obfuscations. These demands turn identity-creation into a profoundly theatrical process. their political status. some dominant accounts usually emerge. We ask our listeners to recognize us as a clearly identifiable someone with a life that is uniquely our own. much as the stories we tell about our individual selves. all stories about ourselves simultaneously make these four demands: (1) we want our existence to be acknowledged. and most people still believe in them.” as Thomas Hobbes pointed out. But our stories also ask for respect. To the extent that people identify with their states—and they do—they will demand redress. derived from the masks carried by actors in the Roman theater. Yet stories are still told about states. Some states see themselves as superpowers.y25 Many of the stories concern the role of the state in world politics. In 1970. From our friends we ask support. we have lost our status and our face.24 This right has been protected at least since the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.28 Compare the Latin word persona. which disguiseth the face. without external interference. To be denied recognition is a traumatic experience. If the audiences recognize us. This is not necessarily a democratic process. and sometimes more particularly that part of it. but a right to determine the character of its own collective self. must be recognized before they can come to constitute a reasonable account of our national selves. or outward appearance of a man.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  7 This story-telling capacity is acknowledged by international law. Each state has the right to “national self-determination. debates about national roles and purposes are usually dominated by traditional accounts. our stories make statements about our affiliations—they place us in an affective field made up of friends and enemies.

they are attached to a particular subject. Instead the state in question has to come up with an alternative self-description and re-brand itself as something else. Once this task is completed. we are able to increasingly take our identities for granted. and projects that appear in our public sphere.8  ✻  Erik Ringmar nothing is not an option: we cannot be without being described.30 As a result it is. hoping to finally be recognized as the state it always presumed to be. This is the situation a state faces in the wake of a loss in a war or some similar calamity. A second option is to accept the verdict of the audience but to stick to our stories and insist that we can live up to the self-descriptions they contain. In the end. do not apply to someone such as ourselves. It is only as recognized that our identities will come to have continuity over time and space. When faced with a denial of recognition. they become ours. we have no social identity.” “great. is an important concern of international lawyers. and for a group fighting for its “national independence. and there is of course no guarantee that the new identity we come up with will be recognized either. for example. memories. The most obvious alternative is to give up. since you cannot force someone to respect or love you. A third option is to stand by our stories without reform and instead to fight for the self-descriptions they contain.33 An identity gives a measure of coherence to the ever-shifting events. A state that is not taken seriously can to go war to prove its importance. This means embarking on a program of self-reformation. and so on.31 The offended state will have to do whatever it takes to be accepted on its preferred terms—develop itself economically. jurists need to decide which entities Lindemann & Ringmar. Violence may work badly in interpersonal relations. provided that they espouse political goals and are organized into regular armies. improve its educational system. to accept that others are right about us and that we cannot be the person we thought we were. Such a reconsideration of one’s role is often a long and painful exercise. Experts in international law have long recognized the right of such groups to be considered as belligerents rather than as simple criminals. The task here is to convince our detractors that they are mistaken about us and to force them to change their minds.32 If our claims are rejected. Our stories. and unless we are recognized. we try to bomb our way to respectability. Recognition in International Law and Diplomacy Recognition. In international relations. no longer possible to lay claim to a status as a “super.35 Since the state is taken as the subject of international law. however.34 To the extent that we are able to achieve recognition for our performance and to the extent that our audience remains loyal. clearly. the use of force has greater use and similar threats are often successful. the ugly duckling can go back to its detractors as a beautiful swan.” or a “colonial” power. adopt the required political institutions. we said.indb 8 4/18/11 12:36 PM . we basically have three options.” violence is often the only available option. we will even forget that we are play acting and that our identity originally was nothing but a make-believe.

43 In addition. and of good name and reputation. of intercourse. recognition plays a role in establishing the conditions that make international law possible in the first place.41 Only European states—and a couple of extra-European settler colonies—were regarded as similar enough to form a proper society.”42 European states had complete sovereignty. it is not international. which since the late Middle Ages. This is the problem that recognition addresses. non-members excluded. and if it is international. it is not law. of equality. of independence. they were above all supposed to honor their obligations and to respect the laws of civilized warfare. of territorial supremacy. there can be no international society. were somewhat problematic cases. but when questions about their status arose. only “civilized” states qualified. What these rights were was a matter of some dispute. but the list commonly included items such as “the right of existence. the Europeans usually discussed the matter amongst themselves and decided on a shared course of action. The norms that develop in this way constitute a body of customary law. is not an environment in which law can have much force. In the end. there was no ranking between them and they enjoyed the same rights and responsibilities. were regularly convened to discuss common affairs. of self-preservation. Without such recognition. that is. only European states. They had diplomats stationed at each other’s courts. As legal scholars have pointed out. but restrain our actions is exactly what the law does. It is the same in all membership clubs: we must establish some criteria by which members can be selected. means that no other institution or power is in a position to restrain our actions.36 In addition. New countries in Eastern Europe. and they could act as they saw fit—enter into treaties. As for responsibilities.” after all.39 When states act and interact with each other over time. and they had the right to participate in the diplomatic conferences. Turkey was formally admitted into international society in 1856. particularly at the conclusion of major wars. That is. of holding and acquiring territory. and the relations between members and non-members regulated. there are other sources of law than sovereign command. only they could be counted on to recognize each other—to acknowledge each other’s sovereignty and to behave reciprocally. not all political units can be included. As the first generation of international jurists concluded.indb 9 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and without an international society. The codification of these norms was the task of the new discipline of positive international law as it came to be developed from the middle of the nineteenth century. like Romania. A world of sovereign states.37 To be “sovereign. and far more fundamentally. a standard gradually comes to be established regarding accepted and acceptable conduct. European states recognized each other diplomatically. there can be no international law.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  9 belong to this class. in other words. make alliances. All European states were regarded as subjects of international law and as equal before it.38 If it is law. the right to territorial integrity. In this way. in other words. critics have insisted. which is no less powerful than laws promulgated through sovereign fiat. the question becomes who belongs to this society.40 Yet if international society is the source of the law that governs the conduct of states.44 On these Lindemann & Ringmar. and go to war.

A human being is surely a human being even if unrecognized by others. a fixed population and political institutions.”52 Savages were itinerant peoples without a fixed territory and without political institutions. and who for that reason in many ways resembled European states. and their alien ways immediately defined them as strange. Their populations were often nomadic. and for states to sign copies of treaties in alternative order. their history. Europeans came up with a distinction between “savages” and “barbarians. say. their territories were badly demarcated. the practice has been for states to seat themselves in alphabetical order around a conference table. As a practical matter.51 In fact. international society would no longer be a society. Siam. To accommodate such differences. to defend itself. and China could at best be “semi-barbarian” or possibly “semi-civilized.53 Barbarian states. It must have a permanent population.indb 10 4/18/11 12:36 PM . however. A state that is not recognized may exist in itself but never for itself. For this reason. for the doyen—the most senior diplomat in a capital—to enter an audience chamber ahead of his peers. There was a considerable difference between. the more important you took international law to be.46 In discussions of international law. usually starting with themselves. a state is a state as long as it fulfills a few minimal requirements. Non-Europeans simply lacked the required attributes. savages needed constant help and protection. on the other hand.48 As the constitutive view would have it.45 Since the Congress of Vienna in 1815. sometimes they had no proper government and no formal means of defending themselves. Yet their culture. and international law would no longer be law. that is.10  ✻  Erik Ringmar occasions.47 According to the declarative view. Japan. an actor with an identity. excluding outsiders and defining nonEuropeans as uncivilized became crucially important. you were likely to draw the line between the civilized and the uncivilized. countries like Persia. did have Lindemann & Ringmar. a clearly defined territory. the unclothed inhabitants of the Australian bush and the cultivated peoples of East Asia. Like the mentally retarded. Savages had no international status and enjoyed no sovereign rights and could instead only count on the benevolence that all human beings owe each other. Barbarians were countries who had a territory.50 And the declarative and the constitutive views were one when it came to excluding non-Europeans from full membership in international society. indeed aggressively. yet it is only through recognition that she becomes a person in Hobbes’s sense. it has no status as a subject of international law and diplomacy.49 Again there is a close parallel here to individual human beings. statehood depends instead on recognition. however. Yet non-Europeans were clearly not all the same. a distinction is sometimes made between a “declarative” and a “constitutive” conception of statehood. that is.” The two groups were recognized in quite different ways. If entities such as these were included. the more sharply. Since there could be no such thing as a non-European European. the distinction between declarative and constitutive conceptions of statehood was always far less important than the distinction between civilized and uncivilized states. and a government with the ability to govern itself. and to enter into relations with the other states. seating arrangements and rules of precedence and address were designed to assure that all participants were treated with respect and that they were treated equally.

59 A typical British treaty with an African Lindemann & Ringmar. The barbarians were like children who. the great as greater still. Take the case of the “treaties” that the Europeans insisted on concluding with whatever natives they came across. what human beings really are looking for is not preeminence but rather recognition from their peers. The poor and powerless want to be recognized as rich and powerful. we would today seem to be closer to the end of history than ever before. these arrangements were all for their own good.55 The Struggle for Recognition The history of all hitherto existing international society is the history of the struggle for recognition. is the main motivation behind human action. according to Hegel. they were international subjects only in certain respects. everyone is recognizing the sovereignty of everyone else. Hegel famously argued. and since this struggle. As such. even Switzerland.54 They had to make do with partial recognition. we would expect a universal struggle for recognition to result in universal strife. and everyone.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  11 an international status but nothing like full membership in international society. everyone wants to gain recognition for the stories they tell about themselves. Everyone needs an identity after all.57 The international system of Europe now encompasses the entire globe. maybe not. Since some of these claims are difficult to reconcile. wants to be a member of the United Nations. Their actions were constrained by unequal treaties and by military intimidation. Well. After all. provided that their peers are people they themselves can respect. There are no savages and no barbarians. Japan was generally considered to be the most promising candidate. based on a falsification of history. every country enjoys the full rights and responsibilities associated with membership in international society. like all Whiggish histories. W.56 Looking at international politics from a Hegelian perspective. features of world politics. the struggle for recognition will draw to a close. no imbeciles or infants. that is. and they periodically saw their territories invaded and parts of their political systems taken over by foreigners. if only properly educated and disciplined. When everyone is recognizing everyone else. history itself will end.indb 11 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Yet as G. would one day perhaps be able to join the ranks of civilized states. F. the world will finally be at peace. They were formally independent but not fully sovereign. and we all have been turned into civilized Europeans.58 There is a Whiggish smugness to this vision that is profoundly unattractive and. Whatever recognition was granted was not granted on the basis of principles but instead purely as a matter of expediency. Europeans did not bring the blessings of their international system to the rest of the world. institutional. What they brought was a colonial system that made inequality and lack of mutual recognition into permanent. but the struggle for recognition surely provides the motivation for many of the things that states do. Once we all have attained this respectable status. everyone is now a responsible grown-up and not only civilized but also capitalist and next-to democratic. and with some minor exceptions. but as the lawyers insisted.

Moreover. but it was a joke to the Europeans. which eventually assured their sovereignty and equality. That this logic sounds perfectly Hegelian is not a coincidence. by definition. the very fact that a treaty was concluded surely bestowed an international status on the local chief. were denied.65 The joke the Europeans kept to themselves was that China never had a chance of being recognized as their equal. since recognition only was offered on European terms. since it was a barbarian and not a civilized country.61 Yet. Educated in schools that had taught them everything there was to know about “the sovereignty of the British parliament” and “the glory of the French nation.12  ✻  Erik Ringmar “king” stipulated that he hand over his territory and sovereignty “in perpetuity” to the British Crown. Sovereignty.” the first generation of nationalist leaders were quick to apply the same notions to themselves. made perfect equality between Britain and China into a founding principle. The Treaty of Nanjing stipulated the conditions on which this access would take place: mutual recognition was henceforth to be granted on Europe’s terms. they risked their lives. this was a joke to the Chinese. the rights that the treaty granted were the very same rights that the treaty itself revoked. but while sovereignty in Europe meant the right to dispose of one’s own affairs as one saw fit. The international relations of East Asia had for centuries been organized in an alternative. for China it meant that the country had to transform itself according to Europe’s directions. it was not the Europeans who spread the blessings of their international system to the rest of the world. meant that the country had to become more and more like Europe and less and less like itself. and distinctly non-European. The treaty recognized China’s sovereignty. and its relations with surrounding states were conceptualized in hierarchical and explicitly inegalitarian terms. It was instead the way the colonized countries liberated themselves from European control. but this was unacceptable to the Europeans who demanded access to Chinese markets. which concluded the First Opium War. and recognition was therefore something for which they had to fight.62 But if the locals already had or were given a standing in international law. Which identity the country assumed in international affairs was not for the Chinese to decide.63 When the 1842 Nanjing Treaty. paradoxically. just a year after the former slaves on the French island of Saint-Domingue had risen up in rebellion and declared Lindemann & Ringmar. for China. The slaves rose up in rebellion against their masters. Yet the Europeans refused to recognize these new nations as independent states. fashion.64 China did not want to be a part of the European international system.indb 12 4/18/11 12:36 PM . with what right did the Europeans invade them? Or take the case of China.66 And where no identifiable national self existed—and this concerned a majority of the cases—such a self was speedily invented. and only through this struggle did they come to establish themselves as the kinds of subjects which the masters were prepared to recognize as equal to themselves. Here China was the all-dominant power. As these examples remind us.60 Yet this clearly implied that the ruler in question already had a territory and a sovereignty to hand over—something that savages. too. Hegel wrote the famous passage about “Master and Bondsman” in the Phenomenology in 1805.

but it was won on the terms set by the former oppressors. and in some cases. What matters is no longer a fixed territory. failed to establish democratic institutions.” There is good evidence that Hegel was directly inspired by their example. a permanent population. They had failed to develop economically. they remained fully exposed to the logic that in the nineteenth century had transformed China: the only selves the Europeans were prepared to recognize in the end were Europe-like selves—and Europe-like was what all former colonies now desperately tried to become. Europe today combines national decision-making with a considerable degree of Europe-wide centralization. they were formally sovereign but in practice subject to both economic expropriation and military intimidation. with its revenue base and power of patronage. In some cases. the Europeans complained. The struggle for recognition was eventually won to be sure. territories are fully permeable.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  13 independence for the “Republic of Haiti. was a prize well worth fighting over.indb 13 4/18/11 12:36 PM . they incorporated the logic of the European state system into the very core of their identity. too many ethnic groups were crammed into the same state. Much as barbarian states in the nineteenth century. the independent state. there were always limits to their freedom. The same processes have yet to produce the same results elsewhere. dictatorship. and entities other than states have an international standing. Striking as this argument may be. indeed many were “failed states” tout court. The former colonies. and the ability to defend oneself. Sorting out these incongruities resulted in conflicts. In addition. genocide.68 Moreover. As a result. open borders. sovereignty is now shared. their political development. or reduced defense capabilities.72 In Europe. it was the terms on which their liberation was achieved that set them up for these failures. and statehood. Lindemann & Ringmar. the same ethnic group was divided by state borders. It was by occupying other continents that the Europeans provided for their eventual liberation. For the winner.70 And failed states can never be recognized on the same terms as everyone else. Europe has of late started modifying the rules under which recognition is given. it is worth asking whether liberation on these terms really was worth it. the Europeans were nothing as much as the unwitting instruments employed by history—or rather “World History”—in its dialectical movement across time. the staunchest defenders of the rules of the traditional European international system are the old colonies that won independence on their terms. sovereignty and equality are no longer first principles.71 Arguably. In a world in which processes of globalization are quickly deterritorializing. an uncontested government. the European doctrine of self-determination provided the perfect cover for assorted unsavory practices including. and fight the new nationalist leaders did. in other cases. or made relative to the time and place in which it is asserted.67 From a Hegelian perspective. in many cases. had failed to live up to their expectations. often with arms or in strings of coup d’ états. As the former colonies came to be universally recognized. Yet few of them were ever Europe-like enough. functionally divided. There is usually no talking to them about sovereignty-pooling.69 The language of sovereignty and equality was in many ways badly suited to non-European realities. Ironically.

and its apologists struggled to delegitimize the claims of rivaling institutions. These concerns were related. Only now. Giants on Our Shoulders The academic study of international politics has long been dominated by rationalistic approaches. not because we are smarter than professors of previous ages but because we have finally shrugged off those intellectual giants who were standing on Lindemann & Ringmar. But times have once again changed. All states are sovereign and all are equal. We are once again in a mêlée of competing jurisdictions. they were congenitally unable to imagine a world politics not constituted by states and by state interests. there was a multiplicity of overlapping jurisdictions: the aristocracy made claims to independence and so did peasants—most notably in the great uprisings in Germany and France in the sixteenth century. historians. The neat map of the world that assigns each bit of territory to a specific sovereign is less and less relevant. this was not an obvious or inevitable outcome. The question of the identity of the state was disposed of with a few off-the-rack definitions. good to see it go. arguably. all in all. Eventually the state emerged from this mêlée as the undisputed winner.indb 14 4/18/11 12:36 PM .73 States. and by the rules and practices that governed the European international system. Meanwhile the pope and the emperor still nurtured pan-European ambitions. maximize their power and their security and they act and interact with other states that pursue the same goals. The world the professors described was the modern world where identities were given. by an emphasis on the state. the state was identified as a rational. Since it first emerged as a sovereign entity in the late Renaissance. for whom the state represented the culmination of world history—es ist der Gang Gottes in der Welt dass der Staat ist.74 As a result. they will once again be vulnerable. and lawyers. If the terms on which recognition is granted change. We have regained our intellectual flexibility. scholars insisted.14  ✻  Erik Ringmar This makes them look distinctly old-fashioned and. At the time. are we able to turn our back on this paradigm. badly prepared for twenty-first-century realities. In the nineteenth century. Europe-like states has had its time and it is. This is why we finally are able to come back to the topic of identities after a hiatus of some four hundred years. Compare how authors wrote about world politics in the Renaissance when the state was still in the process of being established. but at the time. and scholars could no longer make sense of the concerns that had animated people in the Renaissance. well into the twenty-first century. the state established itself ever more firmly as the subject of international relations. and the predominant problem of social life was how to assure order among self-governing units. The world made up of rational.75 During subsequent centuries. this doctrine came to be codified in the work of philosophers. interest-driven actor on which all other interest-driven actors eventually came to be modeled. predominantly of a Germanic background.

For a constructivist update. especially 303–338. 2.” see Bull 1995. On the role of recognition in international relations. 7. 5. In philosophy. For the “As You Like It. 154–155. 23–41. There are many competing candidates for such vehicles. see Zehfuss 2001. Sheehy 2006. Questions of identities have instead been a preoccupation of “constructivist” scholars. On Elizabethan England. Christian 1987. 153–154. Hegel’s argument was famously analyzed by Kojève 1980. Baker 2002. On nineteenth-century France. On the theatrum mundi metaphor. 1–14. edited by Patrick Thaddeus Jackson (2004). On identity-creation and rational-choice explanations. The struggle for recognition goes on. A sociological perspective on international relations is implicit in the “English School. 181–194.indb 15 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 9. 12. Notes I am grateful to Jeffrey Alexander. On Sweden. see for example Linklater and Suganami 2006. Mitzen 2006.” quote see Shakespeare 2003. Compare the similarities between constructivism in international relations and the “strong program” in cultural sociology. 8. Hobsbawm 1992. Ringmar 2002. Ringmar 2008. For a critical discussion. Ringmar 2008. 90–131. Kantorowicz 1997. 156–164. see Honneth 1996. The Urtext is Hegel [1807] 1979. Haacke 2005. Weber 2005. see Wendt 1999. 4. 2. See in addition Ringmar 1996. and Yana Zuo for comments on a previous version. The hegemony of rational choice theory will pass into history with the passing of the hegemony of the state and the hegemony of the European international system.” Lindemann & Ringmar. and the process of identity realignment is likely to be both protracted and messy. On the ontological status of the state in international relations. discussions on the question of the reality of groups is very extensive. Ringmar 2008. Bartelson 1998. Alexander and Smith 2001. 90–131. 343–368. critically discussed in Fraser and Honneth 2003. see Pizzorno 1986. Other key texts include Bloom 1990. 3–23. 11. The European international system is often referred to as the “Westphalian system. Helgerson 1995. Kantorowicz 1997. Andreas Behnke. Lindemann 2010. Pizzorno 2008. Hall 1999. see Weber 1976. For an update. Thomas Lindemann. 193–245. see for example the contributions to a forum in Review of International Studies 30. This does not mean that questions of identities will go away but on the contrary that they will become evermore prevalent. On France. Ringmar 2008. 6. Axel Honneth. 13. see Wendt 1999. Beaune 1991. 3. 10. see inter alia Wendt 1999. Gierke 1900. Diane Pranzo. For an introduction. Note in particular Wendt 2004. 1. Skinner 1989.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  15 our shoulders. Greenhill 2008. inter alia. Our collective subjectivities will look for other vehicles to which they can attach themselves. For a seminal statement. no. A famous overview is Maitland 1900. 23–49. A useful survey is Berenskoetter 2010. see Berg 1985. Honneth 2011 and Wolf 2011 in this volume. see for example Poole 1996. For a discussion see. Felix Berenskoetter. Melzer and Norberg 1998. Jorg Kustermans. Bially Mattern 2001. Guzzini and Leander 2001. Reinhard Wolf.

especially 146–172. Koskenniemi 2004. 122–125. 217. see Ricoeur 1992. Kojève 1980. 245. said Hume. For a critical perspective. What we are. 25. 29. Mead 1964. 37. 35. 116. 20. the Westphalian treaty itself did not embody most conceptual changes commonly associated with it. and the American South.indb 16 4/18/11 12:36 PM . On the French defeat in World War II. see Sartre 1949. On seventeenth-century Sweden.” see Koskenniemi 1994. cf.” in Hobbes 1982. inter alia. Koskenniemi talks about these jurists as “the men of 1873” in Koskenniemi 2004. Bull 1995. 19.16  ✻  Erik Ringmar As Osiander 2001 makes clear. 22. “72 percent of adult Americans declared that they were proud of their country. 34. 63–64. however. 24. A point first developed in Austin 1874. 33. 51–54. On Elizabethan England. cf. Compare to Jackson 2004. Oppenheim 1912. 107. Compare to Ricoeur 1992 and Pizzorno 1986. 19. 34. 40. Ringmar 2008. 13–20. see Anghie 1999. 24–43. Pizzorno 1986. see Anghie 2007. is “nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions. Ringmar 1995. On identity as narratively constructed.. On the state as an “International Person” in international law. On Carl Schmitt in this context. 87–91.” Hume 1986.” Hume 1986. “In a poll from 1999. On the recognition of narratives. 647–676. 26.” Lieven 2005. 160–161. 309. For a discussion. Ringmar 2008. see Ringmar 2008. 365–372. Like Hume. Anderson 2006. and are in a perpetual flux and movement. 21. which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity. 81–83. 18. Berenskoetter 2007. More generally on the Westphalian system. See. 249–255. Ibid. for example. 46–48. 31. 57–68. 300. Pizzorno 1986. Germany. 27. Alexander 2006. 32. Britain. see Cumin 2005. 17. 10–11. See. Anghie 1999. 38–44. Teschke 2003. this has no bearing on the analytical distinction. 23. see for example. For a critique. Lindemann & Ringmar. 30. and Things Personated. 15. Butler 2007. see Hunt 2008. 92–130. Authors. “Of Persons. 512. the figure was 53 percent. According to the so-called “Friendly Relations Declaration. Schivelbusch 2004 discusses the cases of France. Lauterpacht 1944. 37–46. see Lyons and Mastanduno 1995. 16. Koskenniemi 2004. Cf. 28. Caporaso 2000. 47–51. 21–25. While this may be true as a matter of empirical investigations. In the country with the next highest score. we might as well turn the question around and compare the identity of an individual to “a republic or a commonwealth. Baker 1990.” Lieven reports. see Kedourie 1993. 1. Barker 2007. expresses doubts as to the applicability of this schema to international politics since the motivations of a population are difficult to ascertain. 39. vol. 36. 289. 38. Kelsen 1941. On Italian city-states. this volume. Honneth 1996. see Orgel 1975. Goffman 1959. Honneth 2011. 14. 59–85. Bluntschli 1874. 18–34. 44–46. see Taylor 1994. Lauterpacht 1947.

On the treaties concluded with Japan. 20–30. 64. 117. clearly believes that the spread of the European international system represents an improvement. 55. Koskenniemi 2004. 52–65. Satow 1917. Allan and Keller 2011. 60.” Lorimer 1884b. 49. 605–617. 58. 60–96. and who possibly do not even belong to the progressive races of mankind. Keene 2002. 260–261. in realising their special ideals. of a specific jural relation actually subsisting between or among them. according to Lorimer. On this distinction. Ibid. 385–458. Ibid. 390. 67–82. 42. this volume. The standard work on “democratic peace” is Russett 1993. See. Lorimer 1884b. Lauterpacht 1944. From this point of view. for one. 174. Anghie 2007. 32–38. 216. 70–97. 388. 56. it is interesting to note that Kojève ended his life as an EU official. Anghie 1999. Lorimer 1884a. See also Keal 2003. inter alia. Kelsen 1941. 47. Mattingly 1937. Oppenheim 1912. see Allan and Keller 2006. 50. 44. 74–76.” Krauel 1877. 438. “The right of undeveloped races. Krauel 1877. Foster 1906. Oppenheim 1912. with China. see Keal 2003. is a right not to recognition as what they are not. 62. Admitting Turkey was. see Behnke 2008. seems to be that for which nature has designed them. 391. see Auslin 2006. Article 3: “The political existence of the state is independent of recognition by the other states. See Lilla 2003. Anghie 2007.. 102. 101–102. see Wendt 2003. this volume. 56–83. Lindemann & Ringmar. by two or more separate States. 45.” Avalon Project 1933.indb 17 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 48. Watson. 157. but to guardianship that is. Lorimer 1884a. 165. 46. 48. On treaty-making within the European international system. 51. “A treaty is the definition..” Lorimer 1884b. 82–84. which definition they engage to accept and enforce as positive law. 65. Lorimer 1884a. 52. not a good idea: “In the case of the Turks we have had bitter experience of the consequences of extending the rights of civilisation to barbarians who have proved to be incapable of performing its duties. On this “stage theory” in the philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment. 43. 61. For some reservations regarding such Kantianism. cf. Anghie 1999. 53. Mayers 1901. Anghie 1999. Fairbank 1942. Gong 1984. “The treaties were instead a means by which they would disabuse the Emperor of his preposterous claim to be the legitimate ruler of all the peoples of the world. 57. like the right of undeveloped individuals.” “The subordinate position into which they are rapidly sinking. Mattingly 1988. Watson 2009. Anghie 2007. to guidance in becoming that of which they are capable. Anghie 1999. Satow 1917. 63. see Wang 2003. see Lesaffer 2008. On the teleological march of history in international relations. see also Honneth 2011. See also Krauel 1877. 54. Oppenheim 1912. 59. On peace and recognition.” Lorimer 1884b. cf.The International Politics of Recognition  ✻  17 41. Oppenheim 1912. 108–109.

Boulder: Paradigm. On the role of the educational system in European colonies in South-East Asia. 68. Lectures on Jurisprudence or the Philosophy of Positive Law. inter alia. 1874. has an extensive discussion. and Philip Smith. “Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance between Ritual and Strategy.18  ✻  Erik Ringmar 66. Antony. 2011. 73. Sovereignty and the Making of International Law. especially 142–144. 2001. See also. Linn & Co. 185–216. Jeffrey C. Avalon Project. 37. This resembles the logic of incorporation of the worldview of the oppressors discussed by Fanon 2008 and Nandy 1989. Allan. Anderson. Force 2007.. Buck-Morss 2000. Pierre. 67. 168–174. edited by Jeffrey C. Bernhard Giesen. Keene 2002. Alexander. Keal 2003. London: Verso. Frederick D. Buck-Morss 2009. What is a Just Peace? Oxford: Oxford University Press. esp. For a definition and discussion of causes.” In Handbook of Sociological Theory. 2007. 2006. eds. 409–414. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers Allan. Austin. 258. yale. 71. Creveld 1999. see Thürer 1999. 29–90. see Anderson 2006. Benedict. For a defense of self-determination as a bulwark against imperialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Anghie. 120–144.edu/20th_century/intam03. see Rotberg 2003. Vol.” In Social Performance: Symbolic Action. 135–144. 842–865. Pierre. Alexander. An exploration of alternatives to the state is Brooks 2005. and Alexis Keller. On “failed states” as an excuse for imperialism. Auslin. Lindemann & Ringmar. “Is a Just Peace Possible without Thin and Thick Recognition?” In The International Politics of Recognition. see Mallaby 2002 and notoriously PNAC 2010.indb 18 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and Alexis Keller. see Bialasiewicz et al. Jeffrey C. Two early statements are Harvey 1991. 74. 69. 2006. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. “Finding the Peripheries: Sovereignty and Colonialism in NineteenthCentury International Law. Negotiating with Imperialism: The Unequal Treaties and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy. 1933. and Jason L. Mast. edited by Jonathan H. 135–150. 201–326 and Ruggie 1993.” Harvard International Law Journal 40: 1–80. 70. 2006. see Anghie 2007. 1. ———. For a conservative critique of self-determination. 116–134. New Edition. Michael R. edited by Thomas Lindemann and Erik Ringmar. 75. Hooghe and Marks 2003. John. “Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. 59–125. Imperialism. Turner. 2006. 72. see Kedourie 1993. Cultural Pragmatics. Brenner 1999.asp. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2007. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Hirschman 1976. “The Strong Program in Cultural Theory: Elements of a Structural Hermeneutics. On “failed states” in international law.” http://avalon. For a critical discussion. Hegel [1820] 1991. Bibliography Alexander. 1999. 303–309.law. and Ritual.

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we seem to take for granted that state actors are primarily guided by the aim of insisting that other states respect the communities they represent and of suing for recognition with corresponding measures. that Russia’s government has been going to great lengths to compel Western countries to show more consideration for Russian interests.Chapter 1 Recognition between States On the Moral Substrate of International Relations Axel Honneth From an everyday. for instance.1 At first sight. one of the more important motives behind the recent revival of Hegel’s theory of recognition was the desire to return to a stronger moral-theoretical language in analyzing the comportment of collective agents and social groups. thereby extracting this behavior from the dominant paradigm of purely purposive-rational. After all.indb 25 4/18/11 12:36 PM . non-theoretical perspective. Western European governments used diplomatic relationships and maneuvers to obtain renewed respect from their American ally. Hegel objected to applying the notion of a “struggle for recognition” to international relations. or that during the Bush administration. we readily agree that the behavior of Palestine’s political leaders.2 But even in a work as old as the Philosophy of Right. In everyday discussion. these applications of the category of recognition to international relations certainly do not seem surprising. cannot be understood without taking into account such strivings for recognition. at least in the case of 25 Lindemann & Ringmar. strategic action.

such as a striving for recognition and violations of respect. he sought to describe relations between states in terms of the self-assertion of nation-states within the framework of universally accepted international law. purely empirical and descriptive: Is the dominant paradigm of purposive-rational behavior an adequate model for explaining political tensions. conflicts. therefore. it does strongly suggest that we prefer “soft power” to “military” or “hard power” in international conflicts. disagreements. exploratory efforts to answer these questions. generally do not stand up to scientific models. one that appears difficult to overcome. Even if this shift in our perspective cannot yield any immediate guidelines for action. has a strong bearing on our prescriptions for how states should act in the case of international tensions. While in our more theoretical explanations of state comportment we accept that state activity is to be interpreted exclusively in terms of purposive rationality. In what follows. however.26  ✻  Axel Honneth “civilized nations. or by a desire for recognition. in the first instance. The question this raises is. what we once assumed to be acts fueled by a feeling of being disrespected. national governments essentially aim to assert themselves as nation-states and are thus mostly uninterested in matters of international respect and recognition. seems to lie between our everyday intuitions and the dominant theory. the more it appears we will have to concede that states do not behave independently of the political reactions of their counterparts and therefore have a latent awareness of the fact that their collective identity must be internationally acceptable. Depending on whether we emphasize the aspect of individual national self-assertion or that of the foreign political striving for recognition. the normative horizon of our prescriptions will change accordingly. while the enlightened constitutional states of the West were solely guided by the aims of maximizing welfare and preserving national security. who were unsuccessful in their efforts at honor and glory. in order to explain foreign policy in general and international hostilities in particular. First.indb 26 4/18/11 12:36 PM . He reserved the idea of a striving for recognition and respect for more underdeveloped and unrecognized nations. I will make some tentative. such as the desire for recognition and respect. for the more our explanations of international relations emphasize individual states’ striving for recognition. A significant gap. These intuitions. The answer to these questions will also have opaque normative implications that cannot be left out of the picture. The idea that state actors and governments are exclusively interested in collective self-assertion has so much suggestive power that we quickly abandon our everyday intuitions in favor of the standard scheme of purely material motives.” Instead. and wars? From the perspective of our everyday intuitions. I explain why we should give more attention to the dimension of Lindemann & Ringmar.4 The explanatory framework we choose. Without making any reference to Hegel. therefore. we instead have to ask whether we would need to consider more original [originär] motives. From this perspective. or conflicts.3 That is the image that the dominant theory of international relations has adopted over the last few decades. now represents a merely symbolically concealed act motivated by national interest. our more everyday intuitions also account for quasi-moral motifs. this theory maintains that from the moment of their internationally recognized independence.

we find that the only terms at our disposal are too psychologically or mentally laden. Here we can no longer speak of collective identity. Even where.Recognition between States  ✻  27 recognition in explanations of international relations. but also groups.5 But such a conceptual transfer is much more difficult. I will touch on some of the normative consequences of this suggested paradigmatic shift on how we understand and explain international relations. I. Not only do the tasks of government change their form in accordance with various overall forms of political organization. indignity. there has never been any problem with speaking of a “politics of recognition” when it comes to the struggles of minorities for legal respect and social recognition for their collective identity. but the manner in which they are described also changes according to the theory we employ. The starting point of these struggles consists in shared experiences of exclusion. which moves the members of such a group to band together and fight in solidarity for legal or cultural recognition. the idea of the nation-state has been able to gain a toehold. we view the collective identity of a given community as the higher-level equivalent of personal identity or relation-to-self. slightly helplessly and awkwardly. I will have to restrict myself to some tentative considerations. In this case. We therefore have a relatively clear picture about what is being fought over when individuals. this concerns the purely descriptive issue of the appropriate categorical means for describing international conflict and tensions (I). the state apparatus cannot be viewed as the executive organ of a collective identity because the tasks it carries out——providing for security.indb 27 4/18/11 12:36 PM . or disrespect. As soon as we try to give a name to the dimension of respect involved in state conduct. particularly because the obvious increase of ethnic and cultural subgroups has started to make the illusion of a nationally homogeneous population disappear for good. we do not seem to have any terminological problems. even though we know that such psychological concepts do not appropriately describe the matter at hand. and ensuring economic coordination—obey their own set of rules [eigengesetzlich]. We speak. of a striving for recognition or a need for respect. Again. Because of my lacking familiarity with the issue. The main difficulty we face in applying the category of recognition to international relations is revealed by the obstacles we run into on our search for an appropriate theoretical vocabulary. and the conceptual problems become much broader once we switch from the level of group struggles to relationships between nation-states. engage in a struggle of recognition. Hence. our moral perspective on world politics will be changed significantly (II). for historical reasons. preserving power. which should nevertheless make apparent that by emphasizing the dimension of recognition in international relations. Second. As long as we only transfer the concept of recognition from the interpersonal level to the behavior of social groups or movements. Depending on whether the function of the liberal democratic state is regarded as consisting more in the “biopolitical” Lindemann & Ringmar.

we cannot simply transfer the concept of recognition and claim that wherever collective identities exist. there are always the self-standing functional imperatives of political control [Steuerung] and the preservation of power. which regards itself as a state. an empirical reality. State actors do not have mental attitudes but are authorities charged with carrying out politically determined tasks. it is not the expression of a will. there must also be a struggle for recognition. As long as a state fails to return the recognition extended to it. we will find great differences in the description of the tasks of government. This would not involve examining a fait accompli in order to perhaps draw the conclusion that a state deserves recognition. Between the supposed need of a people to have their own.7 At the same time. Kelsen claims that there must be a certain amount of room for decision. is not normative but instead expresses that state’s cognition of a given state of affairs: “The legal act of recognition is the establishment of a fact.”6 Hans Kelsen maintains that this act of legal recognition is a necessarily reciprocal act because a newly recognized state can only be viewed as a full-fledged member of the international community if it recognizes the states that offer it recognition in turn. This type of recognition. on a theoretical level. a government only officially takes note of. this only means that the recognizing state regards the recognized state as having fulfilled the conditions of statehood.28  ✻  Axel Honneth management of the population or in creating conditions of social justice compatible with the requirements of national security. it is only at this second stage that we can justifiably speak of an act of recognition Lindemann & Ringmar. economic well-being. therefore. actually meets the generally defined prerequisites of a “state. rather than conveying its respect for that state. One of the tasks of a government’s foreign policy thus consists of examining whether a certain community. there is a concept of “recognition” that is applied to international relations as a matter of course.”8 In order to speak of “recognition” between states in the true sense of the term. Therefore. According to Kelsen. Kelsen emphasizes that in acts of recognition between states. According to the statutes of international law. It is cognition rather than recognition. the birth of a state within the international community will remain incomplete because that state will not yet have proven its competence as a member of the legal community of states.indb 28 4/18/11 12:36 PM .” “needs. Now. the state is subject to forces and imperatives that derive from the tasks of preserving the borders. it remains true that the foreign-political function of the state cannot merely be viewed as a compliant agency charged with giving articulation to collective identity. “identity” respected by foreign nation-states.” and “feelings” are thus inappropriate for describing international relations. or cognizes. a politically organized community only comes into legal existence by virtue of being recognized by other internationally “recognized” states. and political security. But even beyond differences pertaining to the form of government or the theoretical system of description. rather. If a state recognizes another political community within the framework of international law. however fragmented. The psychological concepts we use when we speak of “strivings. Rather. however. a decision would have to be made as to whether more intense and benign relations should be taken up.

and economic prosperity must be made dependent upon the consent of the nation’s citizens. the desire for international recognition of everything that makes up a nation’s self-respect is fundamentally directed toward the involvement. The manner in which a government defends the nation’s security. Even if Kelsen primarily focuses on the establishment of diplomatic relations and trade agreements. its power to resist authoritarian tendencies. rulers and political elites usually understand that their authority is wholly dependent on the degree of public consent to their actions. regardless of the cultural. without which a collective identity could not be maintained in an unequivocal and unbroken fashion. The necessity of legitimacy in foreign policy even holds true for non-democratic political systems. if only to demonstrate the government’s operational capacity.11 Rather. political clout.10 We must not make the mistake of immediately equating such desires with nationalism or feelings of supremacy over other peoples. a government expresses its intention to treat another state as an equal member of the international community. Even in authoritarian states or dictatorships. of disrespect and indignity. what we mean when we speak of recognition between states. such as Iran or China. Obviously. and not the exclusion. ethnic. its cultural achievements. are very keen on seeing their country accorded due respect and honor by other countries. Mundane examples for such desires can be found in the often bemusing excitement that can envelop an entire population as soon as its team brings home a victory in an international sports event or in the naive pride with which a country’s citizens attempt to draw the attention of visitors to cultural productions that honor the past of one’s own community.9 The first step we would have to take in order to get a better grasp of the issue consists of emphasizing the sources of legitimacy that bind the conduct of state actors. and so on. This would not refer to the consequence of a state’s cognition of an empirical fact but to a government’s free decision to enter into a positive relationship with another state.Recognition between States  ✻  29 between states. With a political act of recognition. The political representatives of other communities are to “recognize” that upon which a community founds its selfimage—the challenges it has overcome in the past. of other states. Instead. this represents a striving for a form of collective recognition. Kelsen terms these acts of recognition “political” in order to emphasize their specificity. Lindemann & Ringmar. his conceptual proposal provides us with a key to pursuing the previously mentioned institutions on a theoretical level. The latter cannot carry out the task of foreign political self-assertion without considering whether the manner in which they fulfill that task conforms to the presumed expectations of the population.indb 29 4/18/11 12:36 PM . lies on the same level that Kelsen has in mind when he speaks of “political” acts of recognition. We can assume that a state’s citizens. That is neither nationalism nor even constitutional patriotism [Verfassungspatriotismus] because it neither demonizes other peoples nor necessarily expresses a positive opinion about one’s own democratic constitution. or religious differences that might divide them. This is not only because the collective identity of a state-organized community can no longer found itself on historical or ethnic commonalities and not only because the processes of cultural globalization run counter to any such will to supremacy.

the aim of avoiding public embarrassment. desires for recognition. In order to legitimate their own actions. and the etiquette of diplomatic encounters—all that usually prevents a people’s desire for recognition of its collective identity from being directly and openly expressed by its political representatives. These are all parts of the arsenal of symbolic means with which state actors can intentionally communicate messages that go beyond the “official” content of their communiqués. In their transactions with other states. Statements intended to raise awareness for the collective identity of one’s own country or to express respect for the achievements of another country’s population are not normally an explicit part of a given political transaction but are contained in the manner in which these transactions are concluded and presented. Lindemann & Ringmar. Behavior that serves to express a state’s interest in self-assertion is staged so as to implicitly convey a finely calculated game in which respect and disrespect. This involves the use of certain easily understood metaphors. We need to get a clear picture of the symbolic horizon of meaning that necessarily encompasses the entirety of state conduct. and experiences of humiliation find expression. Political measures and actions have a whole series of meanings beyond their expressly formulated content. and even the conscious manipulation of facial expressions and gestures at summits and other political events.12 Presumably. we need to take the next step in our analysis.30  ✻  Axel Honneth It is this kind of collective expectation on the part of a country’s population to which a state’s political agents must remain attached in their foreign-political activities. This recognitional dimension of international relations is thus typically expressed indirectly and symbolically. A striking example is President Obama’s astounding speech at Cairo University in June 2009 before a large number of political and intellectual representatives of the Islamic world. distinguishing a strategic dimension of self-assertion from a normative dimension of recognition is problematic. rather. his entire speech sought to remove the impression of disdain in many Arab countries during the Bush years. The desire to maintain the appearance that one’s own nation is unaffected by other nations’ opinions. Therefore. From greeting the audience in Arabic to his repeated mentions of the cultural achievements of Islam. In order to understand the alternatives open to state actors in this context. and which are communicated through the manner of their implementation. Therefore. they understand that they will have to appropriately display those features of their country that deserve recognition while carrying out their functionally defined tasks. the collective striving for recognition is not just one particular function within the spectrum of a state’s tasks. Of course. there will always be cases in which government representatives believe they are acting in accordance with the political mood of their home country when they explicitly express a certain measure of recognition for the culture of another nation’s population. historically trained rituals.indb 30 4/18/11 12:36 PM . much of what Kelsen terms “political recognition” goes on in the symbolic staging of foreign policy. it colors and underlies the way in which political agents fulfill the tasks assigned to them by the nation’s constitution. But much less common are instances in which a political actor explicitly demands respect for the collective identity of his or her own nation’s population.

all encounters and relationships between states stand under moral pressure generated by a conflict over recognition. All this. rulers or state representatives have a certain amount of leeway in interpreting the smoldering. we will find a number of both positive and negative cases. it is wrong to initially assume a primary. in order to subsequently grant or revoke recognition. diverse. however. and hardly organized sentiments of the population in one direction or another. when political agents interpret and execute the functions accorded to them. Rather. in emphasizing either the conciliatory or the hostile elements of the public mood. When it comes to explaining international relations. They believe instead that in explaining international relations. as well as the needs for moral reparations harbored by an equally porous foreign population. Naturally. state actors define what they regard as necessary for the preservation of the countries they represent in light of their interpretations of the desires for recognition held by the citizenry. Therefore. states always define their interests within a horizon of normative expectations that they presume their citizens to have in the form of diffuse desires for the recognition of their own collective identity or that of another collective. it is unwise to assume a certain bundle of interests that refer exclusively to a state’s desire for self-assertion. they can ignore moral demands emerging from collective identities because they refuse to recognize that even modern.Recognition between States  ✻  31 ­ olitical actors do not initially pursue purely purposive-rational aims. isolated layer of purely strategic intentions and calculations.indb 31 4/18/11 12:36 PM . are rulers compelled to obey certain guidelines in the fulfillment of such collective strivings for recognition. At the negative end of the spectrum. functionally differentiated states depend on the consent of the citizens. the desire to make reparations for unjust deeds—determine the execution of foreign policy to a degree that makes analytical differentiation impossible. Because political representatives must preserve legitimacy by acting as interpreters of the experiences and desires of their own respective citizenries. they must always consider the expectations of their citizens about the conduct of other states. If we search out illustrative examples in the recent past. that is. which cannot be explained Lindemann & Ringmar. Issues of this kind—the need for an appropriate self-image in the eyes of the world. Rather. Only in democratic states. such as prep serving power and maximizing welfare. refuse to accept such a connection between foreign policy and collective strivings for identity in the case of civilized states do not have a clear grasp on [should be of ] the significance of the need to secure legitimacy. like Hegel. in order to then subsequently add a diffuse “need” for recognition. But in no state can political actors simply ignore the population’s demands concerning their collective identity because this would mean risking the loyalty of the population. Authors who. we would find National Socialism’s policy of territorial expansion. relates solely to the descriptive level of an analysis of international relations. the defense against the shame of collective humiliation. State actors cannot formulate such interests without considering the needs for recognition. in which the constitution itself is a principles-based interpretation of the nation-state’s identity. which [added] they can presume on the part of the fragile collective that is their own population. Therefore.

13 At the other positive end of the spectrum. II.indb 32 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the moral spectrum illustrated by these two examples also gives us a clear demonstration of just how many directions the political mobilization of collective sentiments can take. it is almost impossible to examine Nazi foreign policy without reference to the successful attempt to take diffuse feelings among the population and concentrate them on a feeling of national humiliation due to the Treaty of Versailles. both examples are extreme cases of politically mediatized struggles for recognition. the psychological terminology I recommended avoiding above has a place after all—not as an element of our theoretical language. In the first case. national collectives are far Lindemann & Ringmar. The desire to have one’s own collective identity recognized by other peoples can be used to legitimate both an aggressive policy of conquest and a deescalating policy of reconciliation. In the second case. This fusion consists in the disclosure of foreign-political goals from the perspective of the hypothetical community that joins together a population. and which is interpreted as a collective that is striving for recognition. we could cite an example from the very recent past: the new American president’s efforts at reconciliation with the rest of the world. This raises questions that are no longer merely descriptive. whose own statements can be used to draw conclusions about the specific type of collectively desired recognition. In my opinion. clearly illustrate that we cannot divorce a nation’s foreign-political aims from the respective demands of the nation’s collective identity. thereby creating a justification for an aggressive policy of reparations and revenge. These feelings even found their way into the definition of external enemies. derive from a fusion of interests and values brought about by both sides. different as they are. At the same time. And in that reality. Unlike social groups or movements. but that touch on the normative dimension of a theory of international relations. We cannot explain these efforts adequately without seeing in them an attempt to overcome a widespread feeling of isolation and shame among the American population. Both examples. and the forms of relation they maintain with each other. In this case. we cannot further differentiate the type of recognition that plays a constitutive role in the explanation of the dynamics of international relations. Certainly. political rulers formed a narrative of justification on the basis of a diffuse mood among the citizens. The manner in which states react to each other. Therefore. a democratically elected president with impressive rhetorical skills has interpreted the paralyzing unease of the majority in a way that allows him to justify reconciliatory gestures toward currently hostile governments. which allowed the rulers to engage in a campaign of conquest and revenge. but as one of the objects of that language in political reality.32  ✻  Axel Honneth without reference to widespread feelings of collective humiliation among the German population due to the Treaty of Versailles. making use of concepts related to strivings for recognition and historical humiliation. state actors must interpret the population’s moods.

Recognition between States  ✻  33 too amorphous for us to be able to make comparable differentiations. or esteem in the eyes of the other side because their individual members’ motives are too diffuse and their aims are insufficiently integrated.16 Such narratives of justification give us a key to answering the normative questions that arise when it comes to shaping international relations. however.15 In any case. cannot be wholly separated from the first because only an appropriate understanding of the causes of international conflict can enable us to envision solutions for overcoming the prevailing state of affairs.18 The theoretical assumptions I developed in the first section of the essay play a central role at the juncture between empirical facticity and normative considerations. What is decisive is not the type of recognition for which a certain population “actually” strives but how political actors and rulers interpret its respective moods.17 After all. which will always have an influence on the definition of foreign-political objectives. State actors can only disclose and define foreign-political aims by viewing their citizens’ elementary desires for security and prosperity in light of interpretations that constitute Lindemann & Ringmar. This second category of questions. We then no longer ask how to properly understand conflicts between states but which measures would have to be taken in order to make such conflicts less likely and raise the chances for a more peaceful state of international affairs. we must adopt a different perspective on actual conflicts in the world. such differentiations play a very marginal role in the explanation of international relations. Instead. If it is true that states can only define their international relations by including narratives of justification containing a credible and convincing interpretation of the population’s interests in collective self-respect. then “political” relations of recognition at the international level indirectly take on decisive importance as soon as we seek to reduce conflicts between states. It arises when disordered and presumed expectations and moods are formed into a collective narrative that makes a certain type of international stance appear justified in light of past humiliations or desired recognition.indb 33 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the shape of international relations determines the chances for changing these relations so as to reduce martial conflicts and improve prospects for peaceful cooperation. is not an empirical but a hypothetical quantity. This basic normative idea results from the close connection between collective feelings on the one hand and political narratives of justification on the other. The “we” of the population.14 It is almost impossible to tell whether such populations are striving for signs of goodwill. such as those made in the realm of inter-subjective relations. As soon as we turn away from the descriptive problems of a theory of international relations and turn toward the normative problems these relations entail. legal equality. seem inappropriate on the highly aggregated level of entire populations. The “realism” of our normative considerations and utopias will increase to the extent that we have correct hypotheses about the considerations that underlie how state actors and governments plan and calculate their relations with other states. we must content ourselves with the relatively vague assumption that the members of a nation-state generally have a diffuse interest in having their collective self-respect be respected by other states and in receiving recognition for their common culture and history. Differentiations between various modes of recognition.

Because the latter interprets state activity largely according to the model of purposive-rational behavior.34  ✻  Axel Honneth a narrative synthesis of the diffuse expectations of the population. it lacks the conceptual framework for according the Lindemann & Ringmar. perhaps we could say that states indirectly codetermine the foreign-political conduct of other states because the symbolic means with which they convey respect and recognition for other nations constitute an instrument for influencing the formation of public opinion and mood in other countries. by means of credible expressions of respect and recognition. the collective feelings of a population that follows the signals of other states with interest and suspicion will prove to be the decisive measure for the success of foreign-political narratives of justification. All these considerations have taken us a long way toward answering the normative questions at issue. We saw that the entirety of a state’s foreign-political conduct stems from a specific interpretation of interests and values. however. they attempt to convince another citizenry to mistrust their government’s narratives of justification. Therefore. in light of historical events and episodes. These measures drive a wedge between the self-justifications of state actors and the political will-formation of the population. pursuing their state’s interests in an either cooperative or aggressive manner. What is true in the case of aggressive foreign policy can also apply to a policy of willing cooperation and reconciliation. The greater the distance between the diffuse moods among the citizenry and the official justifications for political conduct. At the same time. A narrative interpretation that supports such conduct can only be upheld as long as the feeling of having one’s own collective self-respect be disrespected by other states does not gain the upper hand. feelings of humiliation and degradation will not be able to spread among the fragmented publics in which citizens move. very narrow limits are imposed on these interpretations because a summarizing construction of collective feelings must prove to be a halfway appropriate and convincing interpretation of the citizenry’s actual. they play a very marginal role in the theory. expectations. and the narratives in play will fast lose credibility and thus become incapable of playing its legitimating role. Narratives intended to justify a hostile and aggressive pursuit of foreign-political interests can remain intact only as long as the population has perceptible grounds for feeling that their collective self-respect has been violated or insulted by the conduct of other states. if diffuse. we saw that states also exercise an indirect influence on how other states legitimate their foreign policies because they can influence the formation of public opinion and mood from abroad. This interpretation must coordinate the functional requirements for maximizing security and prosperity with the public’s expectations about other states’ recognition of its own collective identity. The diverse tools used to signal recognition or disrespect constitute a means for casting doubt on other states’ narratives of justification by demonstrating a divergent view of those states’ collective identity. At the same time. For that reason.indb 34 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the more difficulties state actors will have maintaining foreign-political objectives. In both cases. Although the history of international relations is brimming with examples of such behavior. If there is no evidence for such disrespect. state actors or governments must base their conduct on narratives meant to justify.

The more explicitly we demonstrate such recognition. will always consist of using the soft power of respect and esteem. can we ensure that the citizens of another state no longer believe the demonization practiced by political elites and that they can begin to trust that the other side respects them. toward developing peaceful and cooperative relations. and even before the cultivation of diplomatic relations and economic agreements can reduce international tensions.21 We could easily expand this list of examples. an act of recognition that would go over the heads of state authorities. which goes over the heads of government representatives and political agents. The best means a state has at its disposal for counteracting demonization and resentment on the part of other nation-states consists of globally Lindemann & Ringmar. impoverished classes. while demonstrable respect for this principle has reduced the potential for such conflicts.Recognition between States  ✻  35 affective dimension of international relations of recognition its proper place. which drove Serbia’s government into increasing isolation and thereby ultimately strengthened ultra-nationalistic narratives among the Serbian public. we need publicly visible signals that the history and culture of other nations are worth being heard among the cacophony of the world’s peoples.20 The lacking sympathy. this ignorance comes back to haunt the theory in the form of a procedural lack of fantasy regarding the chances for reducing hostile conflict and expanding relations of peaceful cooperation. and perhaps even a total absence of solidarity. The theory instead restricts itself to compromises and agreements under international law. Kosovo). On the normative level. on the part of internationally dominant states for the demeaning situation of the Palestinian population continues to fuel a situation in which the local ruling elites’ fantasies of taking revenge on Israel finds collective support among the lower. We might think of the constant stream of new members joining Islamist terrorist organizations over the last several years in order to get a sense of the effects of a policy that fails to extend recognition to other peoples. Only by means of such recognition. Willi Brandt’s famous “Warschauer Kniefall” was an internationally perceptible gesture that made it nearly impossible for the Polish government to awake formerly prevalent prejudice and resentment about the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Even before legal agreements aimed at promoting peace can do their work.indb 35 4/18/11 12:36 PM . even though the history of international conflict teaches us that collective feelings of recognition or humiliation by other states play a much more significant role. The path for civilizing international relations primarily lies in sustained efforts at conveying respect and esteem for the collective identities of other countries. The history of international relations contains enough examples proving that a violation of this normative principle only raises the danger of international conflict. The first step toward reconciliation between states. which signals to a foreign citizenry that its cultural achievements are in no way inferior and that it can count on others’ sympathy for its sufferings.19 Europe’s (and especially Germany’s) ignoring of the harsh and determined struggle of the Serbs against the Nazis prepared the way for a fatal policy of overly hasty international recognition of individual ex-Yugoslavian states (Croatia. the more visible these demonstrations will be to other peoples and the more we can cast doubt on demonizations serving to justify hostile reactions.

6. 4. 3–13. see Anderson 1983.. 9. 23–27. Honneth 2003. 16.36  ✻  Axel Honneth visible and clear signals of willingness to include other citizenries in the international moral community. it is time that we view international relations in a new light—one that differs from the view of Hegel and the political realists following in his wake. Ibid. For an analysis. Ibid. see Schneider 2006. Wolffsohn and Brechenmacher 2005. 2. 8. See Rawls 1999. 19.22 But before such a decentering of state politics can take place. 1. 107ff. 1994. See Kelsen 1941. I owe this reference to Volker Heins. Therefore. LEAVE SPACE 1. different citizenries must have the experience of recognizing each other’s cultural productions and historical achievements. We need to follow up on efforts to overcome rejectionist attitudes arising from experiences of collective humiliation and to undermine historically grounded and yet long-exploited demonizations by taking steps toward contractual agreements that secure peaceful relations and long-term arrangements on how to coordinate efforts to meet common challenges.” see Forst and Günther 2009. These terms stem from Nye 2004. Ringmar 2011. Edelman 1964. 608. 14. I have taken these examples from Wolf 2008. 17. more stable networks of transnational communities can arise. 609. 20. For the logic of such constructions. 5. 181–194. Haacke 2005. See Cohrs 2006. For a critique of this book. On the concept of “narratives of justification. 7. See Habermas 1988. 52.indb 36 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Hegel 1967. 138–142. 11. 605–617. such as we might find in the process of European integration. Certainly. Notes COMP: UNNUMBERED NOTE TO COME. 13. 5–42. 18. chapter 5. Despite all the idiosyncrasy and hyperbole of Peter Handke’s political statements on Lindemann & Ringmar. 12. both of which make up the conditions of their collective self-respect. such symbols of political recognition are not enough to create a solid basis for transnational cooperation. 10. chapter 8. That is why I have doubts about the proposal made by Erik Ringmar in his essay in the present volume—an essay that is otherwise highly valuable. A political theory that fails to gain conceptual access to these affective roots of transnational confidence-building will also be unable to appropriately conceive the normative conditions for civilizing world politics. Habermas 2004. See Taylor et al. 3. On the basis of that cooperation. See Rawls 2001. 110ff.. see Honneth and Paris 1979. 15. On this perspective within the theory of international relations. see Wolf 2008. Honneth 1995. See Honneth 1995.

F. Despair and the Need for Hope’: An Interview with Eyad El Sarraj. “Historical Consciousness and Post-Traditional Identity: Remarks on the Federal Republic’s Orientation to the West. Haacke.” Forschung Frankfurt 2. Philosophy of Right. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.indb 37 4/18/11 12:36 PM .” The American Journal of International Law 35 (4) October: 605–617. Translated by T. Jürgen. “Redistribution as Recognition: A Response to Nancy Fraser. his critique of Western Europe’s lack of respect for the sufferings of the Serbian population is nevertheless compelling. The Symbolic Uses of Politics. John.M. Forst. 2003. Bach. Kelsen. 2004. Bach 2000. Honneth. London: Verso Books. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. G. “Recognition in International Law: Theoretical Observations. Habermas. and Klaus Günther. 2002.” Zeitschrift für Soziologie. 2011. Eyad El. Edelman. See Brunkhorst 2005. 330–347. London: Verso.” In Redistribution or Recognition? A Political-Philosophical Exchange. I owe this reference to José Brunner. ———. ———. Lindemann & Ringmar. 1988. Britain and the Stabilisation of Europe. Benedict. 1979. Sarraj. Erik. 1919–1932. Joseph S. 1995. 2009. Rawls. edited by Charles Taylor. Nye. 1964. Bibliography Anderson. University of Illinois Press. Hegel. Sonderheft “Weltgesellschaft. “Demokratie in der globalen Rechtsgenossenschaft: Einige Überlegungen zur posstaatlichen Verfassung der Weltgesellschaft. 1967. Axel.” Journal of Palestine Studies 31 (4). 71–76. Axel. W. Jürgen. Murray.” Leviathan 7 (1): 138–142. Boulder: Paradigm. The Unfinished Peace after World War I: America.”. Horst. Brunkhorst. Ringmar. The Law of Peoples.Recognition between States  ✻  37 the wars in the former Yugoslavia. “‘Suicide Bombers: Dignity. 1941. Knox.” In The International Politics of Recognition. 21. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. “Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State. 2001. Patrick. Maurizio.” Review of International Studies 31(1): 181–194. 2005. 2000. “Über die Dynamik normativer Konflikte: Jürgen Habermas’ Philosophie im Lichte eines aktuellen Forschungsprogramms. 1994. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Washington: Public Affairs. Cohrs. 22. and Rainer Paris. “Zur Interaktionsanalyse von Politik. Hans. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag. edited by Thomas Lindemann and Erik Ringmar. edited by Nancy Fraser and Axel Honneth. “The International Politics of Recognition. 1983.” In Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Die Europäisierung nationaler Gesellschaften. Soft Power: The Means To Success In World Politics. London: Polity Press. The Struggle for Recognition: Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Rainer.” Acta Sociologica 31 (1): 3–13. 2005. Honneth. 2006. “The Frankfurt School and International Relations: On the Centrality of Recognition. New Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. See Sarraj 2002.

2008. Taylor.” Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 15 (1): 5–42. 2006. Charles. Princeton: Princeton University Press.38  ✻  Axel Honneth Schneider. Michael. Christoph. Lindemann & Ringmar. Konstanz: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft. “Respekt: Ein unterschätzter Faktor in den Internationalen Beziehungen. 1994. Reinhard. Munich: Olzog. Der Warschauer Kniefall. Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition. Wolffsohn. Denkmalsturz? Brandts Kniefall. and Thomas Brechenmacher. Ereignis und Erzählung. 2005.indb 38 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Wolf. Ritual.

respect and recognition are vital for persons’ everyday well-being at their homes or at their workplaces.Chapter 2 Prickly States? Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples Reinhard Wolf Probably the most characteristic error people make when describing human behavior is to attribute the same kinds of properties to groups that ordinarily apply to individuals. for the sake of my argument. The chief concern of this contribution is not whether or not states or nations really are persons but if they react to recognition and disrespect in ways so similar to individual responses that it makes sense to apply psychological insights to international relations. and their leaders care for recognition in the same way individuals do when interacting in families or other small groups? Do they react as strongly against disrespect as persons exposed to hurtful slights? Conceivably. I shall base my points on a thoroughly pluralistic ontology. In this context.indb 39 4/18/11 12:36 PM . nations. yet play a rather marginal role for professional decision-makers steering the policies of detached nation-states in a culturally heterogeneous international system.1 Do states. I will 39 Lindemann & Ringmar. Even though most leaders and citizens tend to anthropomorphize the state and think and talk of it “as if” it were a person.

I will treat them as composite actors that can be reduced to their basic units. and institutions). domestic groups. and legal personification by both politicians and political scientists. a case can be made that states (or the actors who are authorized to speak for them) demand social recognition from their peers. Even when we disaggregate the nation-state into its constitutive components (persons. correspondingly. Thus. they are well advised to make use of such findings when formulating their own hypotheses. while political scientists should not simply expect collective actors to consistently behave according to patterns that other disciplines have established for individuals. at least among those states which already enjoy widespread legal recognition. persons. depending on national identities. and nations can react to international (dis)respect in ways similar to individuals personally experiencing (dis)respect. Moreover.3 What I want to demonstrate is that. nation-states are actually less “touchy” or at least behave in a more controlled and rational manner than individuals when they are experiencing recognition or disrespect. and that these domestic actors often succeed in making the state conform to their symbolic needs. The conclusion will therefore make the point that states’ reactions to (dis)respect are likely to be more diverse. there are indeed ample reasons for proceeding cautiously with regard to extrapolations from psychology or philosophy. Lindemann & Ringmar. and individuals. and thus clearly warrant more thorough empirical studies.40  ✻  Reinhard Wolf assume that states and nations are not primary actors in their own right. overall. States may sometimes react even more strongly to a given act of disrespect than an individual in an analogous situation.5 States. even in a highly institutionalized environment. groups. cannot be equated with individual actors. compared to interacting individuals.4 As I shall argue. the established nation-state will be taken as the paradigmatic example of an international actor. with due circumspection.2 Rather. political cultures. most of the observations can also be applied to other institutional actors on the international scene. Due to its conspicuous role in world politics. both their national decision-making and their mutual dealings are regulated by norms and procedures that are supposed to institutionalize rationality and to minimize the impact of “the personal factor. groups. Even though states and nations are routinely subjected to linguistic. decision-making structures.” Hence. it seems reasonable to assume that. Yet. there are grounds for expecting more or less touchy states. This chapter starts with a brief overview of relevant psychological findings and general grounds for caution concerning their application to international relations. it will be claimed. elite interests. that is.indb 40 4/18/11 12:36 PM . The section thereafter will try to demonstrate that all these factors could also enhance the demand for recognition and. However. institutions. the upsetting effects of disrespect. they are much more complex actors (to say the least) encountering one another in more complex and diversified social environments.6 This is followed by a discussion of various factors that tend to mitigate the impact of recognition and disrespect among states. and international circumstances. moral.

11 On the other hand. Just like persons.14 Still.9 As a result. which further promotes their pro-social activities. states are less dependent on the respect of their peers.10 Not surprisingly then. and (2) their institutionalized decision-making processes Lindemann & Ringmar. anger. meet performance expectations to a greater extent. states’ (or nations’) international behavior cannot be predicted by making simple extrapolations from findings in social psychology or social philosophy. they are “at best” collective actors consisting of an ensemble of political groups and officials.indb 41 4/18/11 12:36 PM .8 In those studies. Institutionalized voice opportunities. as already pointed out. if they are unitary actors at all. and consequently leads to more risk-prone and more aggressive behavior. states may routinely speak with a single voice to their foreign peers and other actors. disrespect almost automatically arouses anger.13 Experiments have demonstrated that anger leads to negatively biased perceptions. reduces the demand for information. For persons interacting in small groups.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  41 Psychological Findings on Respect and Disrespect If states (or nations) were known to interact just like individual people. were particularly important in this regard. they demonstrate greater compliance with work norms. the subjective feeling of respect was strongly influenced by perceptions of fair and polite treatment. when they think they are accepted as group members. which is well known to constrain information processing and to promote strong reactions against the disrespectful actor. The experience of disrespect regularly stimulates an instantaneous urge to redress the situation and educate the offender through direct retribution. Perhaps even more important. there would be little doubt about the relevance of recognition and disrespect for international relations. To produce an authoritative foreign-policy output.12 Moreover. psychological research has firmly established that respect promotes cooperation while disrespect breeds conflict. there may be two basic reasons why sovereign states and their representatives may care less for social recognition than individuals in their daily interactions: (1) once they have gained international legal recognition. such as the right to get a hearing or to file a complaint.7 When people feel respected by fellow group members for their work and ideas. yet. which people tend to take as an indication of high personal status within their group. a nation’s constituent actors must coordinate their competing preferences through institutionalized debates and negotiations. psychological research has clearly confirmed folk wisdoms about the positive relation between disrespect. and show greater willingness to engage in extra work on behalf of the group. respected employees also identify more strongly with their work group. states interacting on the international scene tend to be far less interdependent than persons dealing with each other at the workplace or within their families. individuals become significantly more interested in the success of their groups. and personal conflict behavior. Hence. shortens decision times. researchers also found evidence indicating that respect can promote cooperation in problematic social situations. Moreover.

17 Moreover. they lack emotions and are equipped with norms and rules that tend to control the impact of personal emotions. the intra-mural communication within a disrespected group sometimes may go a long way in sheltering its members against its environment’s arrogance or other forms of symbolic ill-treatment. we rely to a greater extent on the judgments of our peer group than on the opinions of complete strangers with whom we may have little in common. (2) between nation-states and their citizens.18 Again. Second. such as nations. it is well known that group members tend to put special emphasis on those positive characteristics where the in-group excels. even as individuals. the well-established link between respectful treatment and personal feelings of self-worth is far weaker when we look at interaction between culturally diverse groups or collective actors.15 Reasons for Skepticism: The Case for the Pervasiveness of Stoic States There are quite a number of factors that should reduce a state’s urge to insist on social recognition. Compared to individuals. After all.16 Even disrespectful or humiliating treatment on the part of outsiders tends to hurt less than abuse by group members because it often can be “explained away” with the outsiders’ “bad character” or their lack of better knowledge. and (3) between groups within nation-states—all of which can significantly attenuate the demand for international recognition. Compared to their individual citizens. states consist of an ensemble of different groups and interact in a culturally diverse arena. states may therefore be in a far better position to heed the challenging advice given by Stoic philosophers: do not pay attention to disrespect you do not deserve. This makes for far greater social heterogeneity and also for greater social distance (1) between different nation-states. Nations Do Not Equal Persons Usually. In sum. For one thing. are especially good at this.42  ✻  Reinhard Wolf may privilege material cost-benefit calculations over purely symbolic status considerations and emotional needs. Due to their greater similarities and their closer interaction among themselves. Therefore. nations should stand a far better chance of stabilizing self-serving identity-narratives.indb 42 4/18/11 12:36 PM . very large groups.19 Lindemann & Ringmar. Not surprisingly. As such. These processes can conceivably mitigate the hurtful effects of disrespect. group members can more easily question the validity of out-group views and reassure each other of the worth of their own group. such self-serving evaluations can be more easily stabilized when groups rarely interact with foreign groups that excel in other dimensions and therefore tend to propagate different criteria. compared to ordinary individuals. interacting group members can more easily nurture or create feelings of superiority vis-à-vis competing actors. states are institutions regulating the interaction of groups and individuals.

which tend to bias individuals in favor of revenge and retribution. Hence. On the international level. on the other hand. even chief executives will rarely decide on the spot without prior consultation with a range of experts within their administration. while answering national slights can be left to national leaders. these experts will submit numerous Lindemann & Ringmar. such internal heterogeneity could also undermine mutual affirmation as described above and thus could render foreign disrespect more upsetting for individual citizens. the national discourse lacks a common frame to interpret the meaning of foreign acts and thus may fail to bring about an collective response. Finally. and procedures that are partly designed to prevent rash emotional responses. states arguably are biased in favor of rational decision-making focused on material costs and benefits. this will hardly matter. while better access for economic interest groups tends to marginalize the foreign-policy influence of identity-oriented pressure groups. Whereas the first two mechanisms impede dangerous short cuts.indb 43 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Sometimes these groups will not promote similar variants of the same national narrative but incompatible and competing identity discourses. since such an identity-torn state may be burdened by fierce internal debates that gravely impair its external agency. Both bureaucratic processes and officials’ role conceptions can diminish the effect of angry emotions. rules. To be sure. the disrespect they directly experience always concerns at least one ostensible component of their personal identity. Moreover. when being addressed by others. persons need not identify with their state in its international dealings. After all. personal slights call for personal reactions. Obviously. which tend to neutralize each other in the public domain. If. the insult consists of an official statement directed against one’s nation. Often. he can scarcely avoid feeling offended. Institutionalized decision-making is guided by norms. the latter often discriminates against domestic actors insisting on enhanced international recognition. persons interacting in small groups can hardly avoid identifying with their selves. Most nations are composed of different groups with different ethnic or class identities. They cannot be quietly ducked without damaging a person’s social standing. When a Mexico-born American is being told a disparaging joke about Hispanics. States Do Not Equal Nations: Institutionalization and (Material) Rationality Yet even when national leaders and citizens feel severely slighted by foreign states’ behavior. the greater social distance between citizens and their nation will often constrain citizens’ demand for international recognition. Where this is the case. In modern states. it will hurt at least that part of a person’s social identity. Consequently. however.20 When converting various kinds of domestic demands into official foreign policy. it may not hurt an individual at all. Even when the slight in question was primarily targeted at a certain group that the victim apparently belonged to.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  43 This greater social distance between nations is mirrored by individuals’ greater distance from their nation. the institutional character of the state may attenuate calls for overt retribution. social distance and heterogeneity within nation-states can also mitigate their response to foreign (dis)respect.

the trivial fact that bureaucratization delays decision-making may already be useful in as much as it increases the likelihood that. they may find it easier to “swallow their personal pride” for the good of their country.indb 44 4/18/11 12:36 PM . even before reaching the highest levels of government. While these effects hardly guarantee sound decisions.44  ✻  Reinhard Wolf analytical papers that thoroughly discuss the anticipated (material) costs and benefits of various policy options. If. by stressing the need for transparent argumentation. by lengthening the search for information and deliberation. institutionalized access for interest groups might systematically privilege the consideration of material consequences over demands for national recognition. When dealing with foreign policy issues. This especially applies to modern democratic welfare states whose elected leaders are expected to meet the economic aspirations of their constituents. bureaucratization and legislative control of foreign policy decision-making are likely to promote governmental rationality in several ways. and by ensuring the consideration of contrasting data and assessments. such as anger. it is hardly surprising that parliaments and state agencies have granted special access to powerful economic interest groups that presumably pay more attention to the material implications of foreign policy than to their recognition aspects. they enact specified roles. by the time they actually make a decision. Most of these studies will be the joint product of several officials and governmental agencies. Lastly. Given this dual dependence. This may further circumscribe the potential political effects of personal emotions. they will at least contain the political impact of spontaneous emotions. Political institutions also affect the personal approach of decision-makers to the problem at hand. Thus. a person’s angry mood is known to enhance the likelihood of hostile and risky actions. In the case of more important questions. on the other hand. that is. Psychological research has shown that both increased self-awareness of ongoing personal judgment processes and greater accountability make persons less sensitive to such effects of anger. they largely depend on the investments and exports of private business. by upholding norms of individual and collective circumspection. companies and other private donors often play a crucial role in the financing of political campaigns. Lindemann & Ringmar. they will have been checked and discussed by experts with different areas of expertise. chief executives must even inform parliamentary leaders and ask the legislatures for their political or financial support. state officials do not act in their personal capacity but as representatives of their states or governmental agencies. As a result.23 Besides. As pointed out above. As professionals trained and paid for governmental service. they might take a more relaxed attitude. particularly. individual officials will no longer experience strong personal emotions. they are more inclined to take such gestures personally. for offended officials may come to view slights as directed against their nations or their governments rather than aimed at themselves. interests. their role as national representatives may help them in disregarding such experiences. knowing they will be held accountable if they fail to comply with pertinent norms.22 In other words. To do so. and perspectives.21 Moreover.

(And as the 2005 crisis over the Muhammad cartoons in Danish newspapers demonstrated. While this may be true in many circumstances. such considerations will scarcely affect their foreign policy output. greater cognitive and social distance cannot altogether invalidate the explicit or implicit judgments of outsiders.indb 45 4/18/11 12:36 PM .25 Eventually. Cutting ties with groups hardly provides a solution for such unpleasant experiences. In a globalizing world. Without the correcting force of an ongoing exchange of assessments. For one thing. Greater social distance between nations may indeed render them less vulnerable to foreign indifference or disrespect——but only for a certain while and even then.) Hence. some out-groups’ judgments may always carry great weight. Nations. respect (or disrespect) expressed by out-groups can still be vital—both for the collective self-esteem of the in-group and for the self-esteem of its individual members. are both more rational and more materialistic than persons engaged in close interactions. the following section will show that states sometimes act even less “relaxed. and Citizens Can Be Touchy. yet they may also tempt endangered rulers to aggravate xenophobia and cross-border conflicts. Leaders. current out-groups can quickly become part of a larger (superordinate) in-group.” Reasons for Pessimism: The Case for the Existence of Prickly States Some of the factors discussed previously can also make states more sensitive to foreign recognition. when dealing with their foreign peers. only at the expense of mutual understanding. Finally. due to higher status. one is tempted to jump to the conclusion that some nation-states will hardly care for social recognition—or if they do. And sometimes. National divisions might really compromise consensual self-images most citizens deem worthy of common defense.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  45 Summing up the preceding section. Too While often respect expressed by fellow members of one’s peer group is more cherished than respect between different groups. contact between alien groups can be avoided less and less. even domestic statements related via indirect communication can have grave consequences. Depending on social context and the salience of categories. some governmental institutions conceivably mitigate the impact of anger on foreign policy. temporary isolation could even increase the risk of especially hurtful encounters in the future. groups are inclined to exaggerate their own virtues or merits in relation to those of out-groups. When social distance increases the leeway for Lindemann & Ringmar. but other state institutions may also propagate national myths and norms that will stimulate national emotions that even pragmatic leaders can not afford to ignore. confirmation among in-group members cannot indefinitely substitute for out-group recognition. even disrespect shown by lower-status groups can hurt.24 Besides. It seems that nation-states.

its representatives. ideas. Not a few nationalists have been willing to sacrifice the personal rights that they enjoyed under colonial rule for the independence and international recognition of their nation.35 Also. The longer this state persists.” they form an exclusive club whose members subscribe to special norms of dialogue. Political success not only confirms their belief in their own leadership capabilities but arguably also reinforces their habit of seeking personal satisfaction in this particular way. will often react with outrage if other nationals insult their nation. sometimes people experience respect for their group as more pleasant or up-lifting than recognition of their personal rights and achievements. Third.34 Respect for their group. it can be extremely small. Second. Slights experienced at the hands of their foreign peers may not only hurt Lindemann & Ringmar. individual group members are motivated to defend their standing to the extent that they identify with it. by isolating themselves. which in turn. it also heightens the long-term risk of conflicts. And those who make it to the top must be both especially qualified for playing the status game and especially sensitive to its emotional rewards. they may care a lot if others’ behavior confirms their status within that club.30 Fervent nationalists.27 Depending on the circumstances. being the leaders of their nations. leaders tend to be far more sensitive to status considerations than average citizens. or features calls into question my own feeling of self-worth to the extent that I share and take pride in those values. it should not be overlooked that. and its symbols can thus profoundly affect individuals’ self-esteem and consequently also their behavior in various political contexts.31 Even in the absence of national conscription. Thus. Thus. millions of ordinary citizens have volunteered to put their lives at risk in combat. groups forgo opportunities for communicating their own needs.indb 46 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the greater the risk that renewed encounters will result in particularly upsetting exchanges on relative worth and status. as divergent status markers promote status inconsistency.29 Resentment against attacks on the in-group’s worth is therefore considered a prime factor in the origins and escalation of ethnic conflicts. Finally. As concerns the individual’s social distance to his or her nation. or features. especially not in the long run. temporary isolation is no substitute for genuine recognition.26 Moreover.46  ✻  Reinhard Wolf social creativity.36 First.32 Citizens can also react strongly against personal disrespect that their leaders suffered at the hands of foreign governments. leaders need to be concerned about the domestic effects of international disrespect. Most of them have embarked on a political career not so much for monetary reasons but because they sought an elevated status: they wanted to lead. they often identify even more strongly with their countries than the average citizen.28 Whoever disparages my group’s values. being a member of a given group may figure prominently in an individual’s social identity. or achievements. achievements. When their group is disrespected. breeds fights for dominance.33 On the other hand. both within political elites and the public at large. at times. achievements. Especially within the group of highly industrialized countries or within the “Davos community. political leaders themselves may be even more strongly aroused by foreign (dis)respect than ordinary citizens. they interact more closely and more frequently with foreigners than the rest of their compatriots.

the widespread bias in favor of conflict norms. Many lieutenants who have been willing to defer to a leader commanding international respect will no longer accept the orders of someone who failed to respond to foreign insults. and stabilization of national narratives. however. they have set up peace-time military institutions for national protection. given the fact that such identification usually enhances citizens’ loyalty to the regime currently acting on behalf of the nation. it hardly needs mentioning that national leaders. and have set up cultural agencies for keeping alive the nation’s artistic and folkloristic traditions. State institutions play an important role in the construction. More often. This can be achieved by making use of notorious group tendencies to subscribe to the negative stereotyping of out-groups. however. promotion. which also promote national sentiments by routinely warning against dubious foreign designs and by continuously training large numbers of men and women for the defense of their country.41 Nation-states have founded university departments to study the nation’s (alleged) roots and past achievements.38 This temptation is particularly strong at times when the government’s legitimacy is heavily contested by domestic opposition groups. governments will use the leeway for the domestic interpretation of foreign acts in ways that will aggravate rather than moderate their citizens’ sensitivity to alleged instances of foreign disrespect.42 In addition. for public worship.40 The easiest way to do so is to downplay national differences by exaggerating international ones. it is much easier and safer to construe actual foreign moves as unprovoked “slaps in the face” or as other kinds of arrogant or contemptuous behavior. Rather. To establish the evil nature of foreign nations and to stress the differences separating them from their own nation. and have come up with all kinds of public rituals. Institutions Can Constrain Symbolic Flexibility The institutionalized propagation of national narratives. deep domestic divisions are no guarantee against an outburst of national sentiments. endangered political elites are especially prone to diverting intra-mural conflicts to external targets.37 Moreover.indb 47 4/18/11 12:36 PM . often will be inclined to promote their citizens’ national sentiments. national archives to store its records. even when they personally lack a nationalistic outlook. Usually. which help citizens enacting their identification with the nation. Sometimes the influence of these national agencies and customs are somewhat balanced by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to cosmopolitan causes. They have erected monuments to celebrate national feats. In many cases then. such as flags and anthems. and the leaders’ sense of responsibility can sometimes make nations even less accommodating than individuals who have been subjected to alleged disrespect. schools to disseminate official historical interpretations.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  47 their personal pride but can also fatally compromise their standing vis-à-vis domestic subordinates.39 Hence. regimes sometimes make up events tarnishing the image of those nations. established national symbols. national institutions face little domestic Lindemann & Ringmar.

Thereby. As has been indicated previously. nations and institutionalized. the military in particular. given their lower level of social interaction.indb 48 4/18/11 12:36 PM . even ordinary citizens will be confronted with foreign views and actions that either confirm or challenge their own sense of their countries place Lindemann & Ringmar. In these cases. international actors seem to be less exposed and less vulnerable to disrespect than ordinary persons. but it is also true for established nation-states whose sovereignty is rarely questioned. whether they are willing to pay that price is a decision they can take entirely on their own. an uncompromising stance and ethnocentric rhetoric become the litmus test for national loyalty—a test that leaders must not fail if they want to stay in control. First of all. It has been demonstrated that representatives acting on behalf of some principals are less accommodating than persons acting only for themselves. these activities homogenize the citizens’ positive image of their nation. However. True.46 Thus. many state institutions emphasize the need to uphold the nation’s selfimage against perceived national challenges. sooner or later.44 Even leaders’ role-playing is a double-edged sword. such effects certainly can be marginalized by personal emotions or status considerations. role-conscious leaders may equate such a move with letting down their fellow citizens.48  ✻  Reinhard Wolf competition in their mission to promote citizens’ identification with a specific notion of their country’s history and mission. Yet. Finally. on balance. Therefore. Unlike individuals accepting a diminished personal status. As a result. This is rather obvious for ethnic groups seeking legal recognition for a new state.45 And political role conceptions can also inhibit the search for pragmatic solutions. such leaders’ willingness to search for international understanding will be further compromised by the conflict norms that these institutions.47 Conclusion Even if states are neither persons nor peoples. doing so might diminish their personal prestige. it increases the well-known inclination for in-group self-enhancement at the expense of out-groups. Under these circumstances. leaders who personally feel disrespected may draw their nations into confrontations. So even if accommodation appears to be the reasonable move. Recent examples include the personal rows that German Chancellor Schröder and French President Chirac had with US President Bush. national leaders would not only compromise their own international standing but also the standing of their compatriots whom they have been entrusted to protect. tend to propagate. recognition will often be an issue for collective actors on the international scene. the work of these institutions underscores the difference between nationals and foreigners. when confronted with a strong challenger. even leaders who personally do not subscribe to the official narrative will find it more difficult to ignore foreign acts challenging the nation’s established identity. While it is true that internalized role conceptions can guard officials against rash escalatory moves.43 Second. individuals may sometimes be prepared to give up personal status claims. leaders may envision it as a personal failure that they are not entitled to tolerate. Accordingly.

How leaders engage in such acts of creative framing depends on their outlook and interests. In other cases. In the latter case. for example the Danish Muhammad cartoons. It has also become clear that the significance of international recognition problems is not only less obvious but also more variable. it may utterly fail when domestic society is divided between groups holding on to rather different national narratives. leaders must consider prominent domestic cleavages. the range of typical reactions—technically speaking. for they can exert critical influence on how the broader community comes to see both the status of its own nation and the symbolic implications of foreign acts. Social psychology may indeed have a good track record in explaining and predicting the average human’s response to certain types of behavior. a great number of factors need to be considered. Due to the great complexity of nationstates (and of their foreign policy apparatus). For one thing. they can also stir up national sentiments for strictly instrumental reasons by using society’s nationalist inclinations to boost the regime’s domestic legitimacy. such foreign acts would even go wholly unnoticed without domestic leaders setting them on national agendas. sometimes as important as recognition between closely interacting individuals. In this case. Another major factor influencing the likelihood or intensity of recognition politics concerns the nature of norms shaping domestic political cultures. however. Apparently. Particular attention should be given to the behavior of political leaders and prominent intellectuals. In doing so. (dis)respect between nations and their states can become an important political issue. In some cases. Thus. the specific nature of domestic fault lines greatly affects a state’s inclination to engage in the politics of international recognition.indb 49 4/18/11 12:36 PM . which gives leaders and intellectuals a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s attitude to possible acts of (dis)respect. Playing up alleged foreign slights may work wonders for authoritarian leaders embattled by democratic oppositions or by social movements insisting on economic redistribution. the crucial issue here is discursive framing. the size of the standard deviation—seems to be much broader than in the case of individuals. opinion leaders at least need to describe a particular foreign move and to interpret its meaning for the nation’s identity as the latter is understood in the dominant discourse: Is this act to be seen as a deliberate offense to an important status element of national identity. Apparently. in this context. information processing and decision-making within the state are far more complicated and thus open to numerous additional mechanisms that can either enhance or mitigate the impact of (dis)respectful gestures.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  49 in history or contemporary international affairs. On the other hand. However. stirring up national sentiments could easily backfire because it might only deepen those domestic divisions. it is much more difficult to anticipate the former’s reactions to external stimuli. a Lindemann & Ringmar. or is it just a routine action that says little about foreign views of our nation? Thus. However. Hence. When this happens. or they might seek international status for themselves. they will be motivated to bring the nation along by promoting a public discourse which accords well with their own convictions or prestige ideas. political leaders may actually share strong national sentiments.

Thereby collectivist norms make it much easier to depict foreign behavior as an unjustified violation of national status claims. many of these states share a long common history during which. If it can be argued that even rational bureaucratic states Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 50 4/18/11 12:36 PM . it seems quite likely that they will externalize such an outlook to international relations. 95–99. it seems likely that state demands for respect are influenced by a far greater number of factors than is the demand for interpersonal respect. However. Second. 4. Normally. On NGOs see Heins 2008. such norms create a political climate that promotes negative stereotyping and self-righteous positions in international conflicts. the Western nation-state can be seen as a critical case for the recognition perspective. Ringmar 2011 in this volume. the differences between persons and peoples boils down to three conclusions: First. the following discussion deals only with the most prominent type. by focusing on the modern nation-state. Thus. by and large. If protecting one’s honor is an essential purpose for individuals and domestic groups. 2. state behavior in this field will be more variable and less predictable than personal behavior. Ringmar 1996. That is why research on (dis)respect among states (or between states and other international actors) offers a promising field for scholars inhabiting a small planet whose diverse communities interact ever more closely. domestic honor codes and strong collectivist norms render states pricklier when their demands for recognition are not met by foreign actors—or even when they only appear to be ignored. Third.48 In this case. Notes 1. we need far more empirical research on the conditions shaping the demand for recognition among international actors. 3. norms mandating the resolute defense of group standings within society may also be applied to foreign policy. 147. their place in international society is less contested. Strong collectivist norms make it easier for nationalists to equate dissent with disloyalty and thus discourage both political leaders and intellectuals from advancing more nuanced arguments on the relative merits of insiders and outsiders. Essentially then. Hence. Wendt 2004. Although numerous types of institutional actors engage in cross-border activities.50  ✻  Reinhard Wolf nation‑state in which individualistic and materialist-hedonistic views predominate will be less sensitive to foreign (dis)respect than a nation-state whose society stresses collectivist norms and the honor of family clans or status groups. such actors may be even more eager for international recognition than established states whose sovereign rights are beyond question (see Ringmar in this volume). Johnston 2008. most of my arguments can also readily be applied to separatist movements as well as intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Gould 2003. there are no plausible arguments that would contradict this volume’s premise that not only individuals but also nation-states care for the social recognition of their peers. In sum. they have learned to accept their respective roles and identities. In fact. Wight 2004. Moreover. Consequently.

12. 11. the semantic overlap of the two concepts is so large that they will be used interchangeably in this chapter. Mercer 2008a. it hardly needs mentioning that humans rarely follow this rational line. 2008. For evidence that status seeking and status defense are “hardwired” in humans’ emotional apparatus. Doosje et al. Most social psychologists doing empirical studies on these issues use the concept of “respect” instead of “recognition. 5. 9.indb 51 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Tyler and Blader 2000. For a parallel discussion that takes philosophical debates as a point of departure. As I understand the concept. there is no reasonable justification for angry arguments. their judgment must be wrong. Otherwise. since their pertinent arguments are largely borne out by this empirical research. Aurelius 1964. 65. Epictetus 1961. For the purpose of my argument here. 13. Huddy et al. 112. 7. 2006. For a contemporary international-relations theory based on this assumption. if I am not sure which view is more accurate. including philosophical works and more theoretical studies in psychology would hardly affect my line of reasoning. 15. Tetlock 1998. its social value and importance. it should not get more attention than the time shown by a malfunctioning watch. 14. Van Kleef et al. Stein 2008. chapter 2. I should at least reconsider my own views and ask others to explain their different reasoning. Smith et al. were it to have negative material consequences. I focus on psychological findings based on empirical observation. 136. Lerner and Keltner 2001. 178. it is useless information. chapter 4. Wright 1994. 8. Mercer 2008b. on the other hand. 6. Van Kleef et al. Kelman 1965. 10. Tyler and Blader 2000. especially if it seems wholly unwarranted. Lindemann & Ringmar. Yet.Recognition and Disrespect between Persons and Peoples  ✻  51 seek social recognition just like ordinary persons. 16. that is. 490. For reasons of space. 2008. I obviously ought to correct my own views about myself. the Stoic view on recognition draws attention to a paradox that thoroughly challenges cognitivist interpretations of the struggle for recognition: if others see me in a less favorable light because they apply inappropriate standards or because they lack correct data. chapter 9. Isbell et al. 2003. it should be put right. 214. Smith et al. Turner et al. however. Geva and Skorick 2006. this strong linkage with status perceptions (rather than with an actor’s overall identity) best explains why people react angrily when they feel disrespected. Miller 2001. Tyler and Blader 2000. see Frank 1985. 1996. Therefore. Whichever is the case. inevitably triggers an emotional “gut” response related to human status needs. their judgment is not mistaken.. Ibid. the same analogy should also apply to other types of international actors. If. 1987. 1999. 2000. Finally. Lerner and Keltner 2000. 171. see Lebow 2008. 532–536. However. Haslam et al. 1990. 222. Frank 1999.” This is one of the reasons why my own research is also based on the respect/disrespect dichotomy rather than on recognition and disrespect. 7. Ibid. studies of global governance might also benefit from taking (dis)respect more seriously. to respect an actor is to recognize its status. Abrams et al. see Axel Honneth’s contribution to this volume. This seems to be a strong indication that the experience of disrespect. See Wolf 2011 for an attempt to delineate these concepts and for a more detailed overview of psychological findings concerning the social effects of (dis)respect. Geva and Sirin 2008. 2001. such as NGOs. chapters 12 through 13. Accordingly. In fact. In my view. 171. 1998. As such. De Cremer 2002. 2007.

Giesen 1999. Honneth in this volume. 35. Kelman 2007. Mead (1932) 1964. Rydell et al. See Frank 1985. 63. 2003. 37. Kelman 2008. Lindblom 1977. 2008. 34. 39.” Baumeister and Leary 1995. Mackie et al. 2008. Ringmar in this volume. 23. 175. Stone and Crisp 2007. for the latter activity assigns a higher overall status even to those in-group members who occupy a lower rank within their own group. which easily leads to unpleasant status rivalries. Not surprisingly. 226. 31. 29. Mead (1932) 1964. 190ff. Worchel 2003. Horowitz 1985. many ethnic groups opposed political independence when decolonization would have put them in a state together with another “more advanced” group that enjoyed higher status. On the other hand. National chauvinism appears to be especially useful in this regard because it gives out-groups fewer chances to challenge their negative image. 36. chapter 3. 482. On such “ripple effects” of personal status contests. chapter 26. See also Honneth in this volume. 144–148. internal status competitions can be mitigated by engaging in collective out-group denigration. they are better suited for meeting individuals’ pervasive “need to belong. 488ff. 26.” see Tajfel and Turner 1979. Druckman 1994. 43. Stern 1995. Kelman 1997. As a matter of fact. nations. chapter 5. Allison 1971. Kelman 1997. 30–33. Berlin 1991. 2008. 588. chapter 9. 176. See Frank 1985. 48–55. Therefore. Horowitz 1985. chapter 2.indb 52 4/18/11 12:36 PM . peoples’ status comparisons largely focus on their rank within close communities rather than their rank within society at large. See Anderson 1983. chapters 26. 42. 41. 20. Druckman 1994. 49ff. 28. precisely because of its size and abstract nature. Taylor 1994. 2. chapter 4. 85–89. 2008. 19. 18. the nation often may be ideally suited for enhancing personal self-esteem. 27. Kelman 1965. Apparently. Lindemann & Ringmar. Gelpi 1997. Moreover. chapter 13. 32. To be sure. See Axel Honneth’s contribution to this volume. Gellner 1983. Snyder 2000. 34. chapters 4–5. 30. Platow et al. Interestingly though. 44. 21. It invites direct comparisons between group members. Horowitz 1985. Mackie et al. 270. 38. the preference for recognition from close associates also affects individuals’ status considerations. On “social creativity. Gaertner and Dovidio 2000. Lindemann in this volume. Druckman 1994. 195. Lerner and Keltner 2000. 548. Wright 1994. 24. membership in smaller groups has its drawbacks.52  ✻  Reinhard Wolf 17. Rydell et al. Assmann 2006. 25. 58. 40. being “imagined communities. Van Evera 1994. 46–53. Gould 2003. 181. smaller groups permit more personal and more intense interaction.” leave more room for positive self-idealization than domestic groups whose members may be too well acquainted with each others’ faults. 22. vol. However. See Lindemann in this volume. 75–79. Druckman 1994. see Gould 2003. Bloom 1990. Kelman 1977. Tyler and Blader 2000. 33. Honneth and Ringmar in this volume. Frank 1999.

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the idea of destructive aggression that causes personal or material injury (“violent behavior”).” We must find a way of avoiding the trap of such politically and culturally biased definitions. If we accept Durkheim’s rule. From the perspective of democratic ideals. However. on the contrary.indb 57 4/18/11 12:36 PM . for example. As a result. waged by the French from 1954 to 1962. the first of which is not really relevant here: the idea of a furious and incontrollable action (“violent storm”). This is in part because specifying what constitutes an act of violence is itself a political issue. or rather suspend value judgments that may divert it from an impartial perspective. will help end it. So we have to distance ourselves from the terms used by the actors. and finally the idea of attacking things which deserve respect (“doing violence to a belief”). scientific analysis has to keep its distance. according to which the scientific definition of a concept should maintain reasonable links with the term’s colloquial usage.” and how the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 was seen by the Soviet Union as a “manifestation of proletarian solidarity. was labeled as “opérations de pacification. Compare. how the war in Algeria. such as what types of self-defense are appropriate. who initiated the aggressive interaction. violent behavior is normally condemned. and what factors sparked violence or made it worse or. In popular discourse. this encourages frequent strategies of semantic evasion in which one qualifies or otherwise hides potentially inappropriate actions with which one identifies.Chapter 3 Symbolic and Physical Violence Philippe Braud The manner in which political violence is defined will have a significant impact on the answers to other important questions. The object of our analysis is 57 Lindemann & Ringmar. the word “violence” has three different meanings. these introductory observations are far from insignificant.

the state is humiliated by public displays of disorder. it does not properly consider the emotional dimension that accompanies all forms of violence. like Charles Tilly. or even in large part. acts of disruption. the victims include not only those who are injured. In addition. or battles fought in sports. some implications of this argument will be drawn for the practice and study of international politics. When we say “urban riots. I’ll argue. . but it is intrinsically also a mode of selfaffirmation that entails much emotional suffering. Exceptions include “chivalrous” battles. choice of targets or victims. As a result. and physical destruction. Explicitly or not. In the first place. political violence is commonly perceived as physical violence whose targets or victims. surrounding circumstances. destruction. In conclusion. including those who. seemingly presents a more rigorous definition. of the state’s failure to accomplish its goal of maintaining public order. since physical violence without symbolic and emotional aspects is meaningless. a definition that relies only. Even if it is limited by relatively restrictive conditions. modus operandi or effects. The two are necessarily linked. Why Symbolic Violence Is Violence In the scientific literature. war justifies the right to destroy and to kill. since it is more easily delimited. an armed conflict involves not only the deployment of troops. .58  ✻  Philippe Braud to identify criteria that enable us to understand all forms of political violence without political restrictions. It sets up a specific body of moral precepts. implementation and/or effects have political significance. but anyone who has suffered from the effects of the violence. Furthermore. that is. This chapter will begin by defining symbolic violence and explaining how it is related to physical violence. it is tempting to emphasize only the material dimension of violence—the part that leaves visible marks. at least temporarily. and this constitutes a significant breach with essential societal values.”1 As is evident from the first part of this quote. add political meaning—either in terms of the resources to be employed or the threats to be prevented. physical confrontations are usually accompanied by denunciations and even a demonization of the adversaries in order to describe them as inferior. this definition has been used by a large majority of field researchers. but in Lindemann & Ringmar. For example: urban riots also provide evidence. In this sense.indb 58 4/18/11 12:36 PM . injury whose purpose.” we refer not only to burned cars and injured bystanders but also to the fear and anger of the victims. the use of weapons. attempt to quantitatively compare observable levels of visible violence across time and space. tend to modify the behavior of others in a bargaining situation that has consequences for the social system.2 Despite its obvious advantages. on material criteria leads to serious intellectual problems. Similarly. and since physical violence often is a response to symbolic violence. a majority of researchers have adopted the definition made famous by Nieburg: “ . This approach makes it easier to empirically identify violence and.

religious. So the label establishes the exceptional gravity of certain behaviors and also a special duty on the part of posterity to remember the violence. as well as Stalin. and the emotional effects spread by the event. Consider a historical example: the battle of Stalingrad had emotional effects in so far as Hitler. the impact of material violence depends on the symbolic value of the event. the 1940 defeat of France in less than three weeks immediately dissipated the myth that the largest military force of the inter-war years also would be the strongest. historians of war do not necessarily neglect the importance of such emotional dimensions. is a source of affront to those who are not members of these groups.3 Civilian victims add an affective aspect to every armed conflict. This emotional dimension—which accompanies every form of violence. or the claiming of religious. Xenophobic or racist insults and abuse deliberately try to make the target feel fragile and humiliated. one can observe these effects on formerly colonized people. Similarly. As noted previously. this occurred through the creation of a stratified institutional framework. The statistical operation may be used to mobilize outrage or to dishearten an adversary. During the era of European colonization. including laws that prohibited Lindemann & Ringmar. The timing of a body count—whether in war-time or in peace—will affect its impact. Even calculating the number of victims in a war or a terrorist act is not a purely objective decision. Or consider the labeling of certain acts as “genocide” or “crimes against humanity. In practice. The murder of an ambassador does not resonate in the same way as an attack on the average national of a foreign country. which in turn relies on factors such as the status of the victim. Nationalist arrogance. ideological.Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  59 these cases. The stigmatization of terrorism rests on the fact that terrorists ignore the “rules of war” and harm “innocent civilians”—both notions are of course highly psychologically charged. A burning flag during a public disturbance will have a greater impact than the burning of a simple piece of fabric. such labels have both an emotional charge and juridical consequences (for example. the nature of the targets. the equal standing of the protagonists is a precondition for the existence of their rivalry. regarded the fall of the city as a striking symbol of humiliation and not only as a purely strategic interest. from arbitrary arrests to armed conflicts—is what gives violence its political consequences and ramifications. from assassination attempts to riots. if they study them. a no-limitation period for prosecuting). ethnic. which technologies such as “intelligent bombs” seek to avoid. yet.4 Legally enforced apartheid was based on contempt for some social.” In contemporary society. Today. In practice. or ethical superiority. they often do not include them in the actual definition of violence. historians of war do not necessarily neglect the importance of such emotional dimensions.indb 59 4/18/11 12:36 PM . or national group that established society regarded as inferior and from which it sought to separate itself. A further disadvantage of this restricted point of view is that it disregards the possibility of a kind of violence that is independent of physical or destructive action but causes similar psychological injuries.

present-day NATO—unite unequal states. pure or otherwise. the separation of educational institutions and spaces for living and leisure. since the legitimacy of the employers is not questioned. Even in the most successful case.indb 60 4/18/11 12:36 PM . such intentionality disappears in other situations. or when a foreign occupying power denigrates a society’s religious or civil patrimony. On the contrary.” The presence of a foreign military must be made sense of through subjective perceptions that are socially constructed. and in spite of the material benefits. superpower hegemony may be perceived either as an unendurable dependence or as “fraternal friendship. Even if this psychological form of violence—the emotional impact of which can be equal or superior to that of physical violence—is often intentional. as well as rapid urbanization have always resulted in social upheavals. the violence of these processes becomes obvious when beliefs that underpin the cohesion of a social group are discredited.60  ✻  Philippe Braud mixed marriage between individuals of different religions or races. The probability that employees and employers perceive each other as victims of violence increases in a society dominated by the discourse of class struggle. More persistent today is social apartheid.5 The same applies. As an illustration of the first case. The nature of this relationship depends not only on the employer’s management style or his ability to acknowledge those under his authority. it may still lead a form of psychological suffering. Lindemann & Ringmar. as well as discrimination when it comes to political rights. of the perpetrators. the clash between tradition and modernity will be perceived either as an opportunity or as an intrinsically violent process. In fact. Policies of poverty relief often confine the recipients to a dependent and inferior status. Depending on whether people have eagerly adapted themselves to the new conditions or regarded the changes as doing irreparable damage to a cherished way of life. from employer to employee) conceal violent potential as long as this inequality is not recognized by the dominated as entirely legitimate. Depending on the ways in which the relationships are deciphered. but also on the ideological framework through which hierarchy and dependence are deciphered. consider attempts to assist the poor. social relations of inequality (from master to servant. accelerated industrialization. However. its sacred space. and it will occur even in cases where no perpetrators are identifiable. mutatis mutandis. The same conclusion applies to rapid changes in traditional ways of life. especially when military alliances—the former Warsaw pact. to international relations. or the implicit banning of particular lifestyles. or time-honored customs. More broadly. either within one country or internationally. Discoveries of gold and oil. Whether such a presence is perceived as political violence or not is never only the mere reflection of a material fact. this probability is much weaker in a society where paternalistic relations are accepted by all parties. Psychological violence is often the result of structural constraints and will for that reason happen regardless of the intentions. Transgressions of these norms are punished by cultural stigmatization. from superior to inferior. both attitudes often co-exist in the same society—sometimes in an individual mind—giving rise to conflicts or to split personalities.

but inevitably very costly.Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  61 The Westernization of the world—accelerating throughout the past century—mass migration. choisie autant que subie. be it justified or not. both definitions overlook the victim’s point of view. We detect violence whenever an attack causes injury to a person or his property.6 Symbolic violence is thus an inseparable component of any physical violence on the one hand and on the other.”7 He sees symbolic violence in the way knowledge is defined and imposed in school. an experience of confusion. Accordingly.8 However. The criterion of any violence. and the painful feeling of vulnerability. In all these situations. in the criteria of aesthetic judgments determining good taste or appropriate language. torn between accepting or rejecting the alien values. superficial or intense. an autonomous. It matters little for neither Bourdieu nor Galtung whether the person accepts the situation. eagerly or indifferently. In this way. and even differences in birthrates between different groups in multicultural societies have contributed to making people disoriented regarding their identities and produced new sources of social and political instability. besides. in codes of civility and manners of being or doing by which social elites recognize each other. This injury is never exclusively material. at the same time. say.” since it too emphasizes situational effects rather than intentional actions. the dominated are obliged to bow to the pressure of norms presented as socially neutral. According to them. physical suffering is absent in the case of attacks on a person’s property. whether this experience is short-lived or enduring. or to his way of life or his beliefs. Pierre Bourdieu asserts that the “principal effect” of symbolic violence is to reinforce a feeling of inferiority among the dominated. in the case of the relatives and followers of a politician who is suddenly murdered. posture. Forced to imperfectly assimilate to the norms of an alien environment. and it is absent too. though in reality these norms express the interests and aspirations of the ruling class. But how can symbolic violence be defined? Pierre Bourdieu understands it as “une violence douce. méconnue comme telle. This is a conclusion of great importance. the dominated either internalize their inferiority or they adopt a rebellious. Neither can a Lindemann & Ringmar. People who seek to maintain their traditional ways of life experience Western cultural and political supremacy as an unmistakable form of violence. They too suffer but in quite a different way. Today it is especially conspicuous in the Muslim world. is the suffering experienced by a victim. to the affinity networks made up of relatives or members of the same social group. mere physical suffering does not constitute a sufficient definition. symbolic violence has affinities with Johan Galtung’s conception of “structural violence.indb 61 4/18/11 12:36 PM . only genuine sociologists know when violence is being exercised! This definition nevertheless leads to an interesting conclusion. underestimated form of violence. Suffering physical brutalities or material damage is always. albeit arrived at from a different point of view. humiliation. the author highlights a crucial element of any analysis of symbolic action—the damage done to one’s selfesteem. Thus defined. Following the arrival of the Europeans. North and South. the “clash of civilizations” was particularly violent in the Americas. invisible. or whether he or she suffers.

In this way. not accompanied by coercion. The opposite is more often true: the assassination of a celebrity. brute force exercised in accordance with the rules of a game. It is the very reality of this experience that sets the dynamic of emotions in motion: outrage and desire for revenge.9 Why do we call it “symbolic violence”? It is certainly not because this violence is secondary or minor compared with physical injury or material damage. Strictly speaking. to remove the feeling of vulnerability and weakness through exhibitions of power. the objective fact of a physical and/or psychological injury is unlikely to be sufficient. and others are unintentional results of individual action. and in particular of political violence. for the victim to be identified as such in political life. “first peoples” in Canada. the aim is to restore an image tarnished by impressions of weakness. whether they have means of retaliating or whether they remain in a state of irreversible inferiority. the symbolic violence suffered makes us want to wash away the insult.indb 62 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Yet. however. when the victim is not perceived as innocent. and it inflicts injuries on a person’s identity. Instead any definition of violence. This accounts for the propensity to disproportional retaliation. feelings of compassionate solidarity. victimhood must be attributed to specific groups by influential organizations before it can result in political action. all symbolic violence entails humiliation. For example: after the Second World War. some forms of violence can hardly be attributed to identifiable actors.10 How victims react to symbolic violence depends on their position of power. the attempt to legitimize one’s claims. While the perpetrator may be non-existent and the act ambiguous. fragility. For a long time. has to focus on the victim. they were unlikely to recall even their own experiences of suffering under Allied bombardment. As we said. and the United States struggled in vain to be recognized as victims of European expansion. One cannot reduce violence to a single material. material or purely symbolic. This violence is symbolic in the sense that the damage operates at the level of self-representations. Lindemann & Ringmar. In both cases. no definition should rely merely on an actor’s aggressiveness. Sometimes such social recognition of victims is instantaneous: political assassinations or unprovoked aggressions against unarmed countries make it impossible to deny that the targets indeed are victims. hurts many people beyond the physical suffering of the victim.62  ✻  Philippe Braud definition of violence rest solely on the material nature of the act. First. and it lowers self-esteem. for instance. In fact. the event as experienced by the victim is the common element of all forms of violence—be it minor or major. does not create casualties. Germans were unlikely to be regarded as victims. Often the identification of victims is a drawn-out process and the verdict is not always unanimous. the emotional impact will be missing. have a violent potential under some circumstances. For the same reason. and powerlessness. Moreover. the urgent need to reconstruct one’s self. crucially. In other cases. menacing gestures. Australia. On the other hand. Compare the reaction of the United States to the September 11 attacks or Israel to raids by Palestinian armed groups. the process may get stuck or fail completely. such as in sports. In the former case. destructive dimension since. the victim has to be socially recognized.

This is more likely the more intense the symbolic charge. Whether or not symbolic violence is related to physical and material damage. some people remain passive. however. it is judged by the same criterion: the reality of psychological injuries lowering or. 1. On the political stage. directly derived from a profound sense of inferiority. It is a symptom of symbolic violence and its most relevant criterion. During an armed conflict. Occasionally it infiltrates silently and covertly into social and political relations. Likewise. Symbolic Violence and International Violence The reintegration of symbolic violence into the concept of political violence has several consequences. can lessen the damage to the self-image. we are able to incorporate Bourdieu’s conclusion that feelings of inferiority are nothing more than the consequence of the exercise of symbolic action. torture or deportation to camps with inhuman living conditions wounds the victims’ dignity. this feeling is not reduced to a simple side effect but is instead the very essence of symbolic violence. When subjected to symbolic violence. This occurs both inside states and the international community. The first one is perfectly perceived by classical analyses of political violence: there is but an approximate proportionality between the intensity of the violence felt by a victim and the objective reality of the proven injury.11 Symbolic violence can be of low or high intensity. and equality before the law has turned out to be an illusion. over-compensate by imitating the dominant practices of the establishment. and only if. more active. claims of attacks on one’s dignity and reputation are often exaggerated in order to advance one’s standing. Among other people subjected to it. to demand reparations. as state protection has abandoned him. particularly in an international context. An arbitrary arrest lowers a person to the status of a second-rate citizen. It can show itself openly or remain buried.Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  63 In the second scenario. In this way. anguished and bruised. Symbolic violence is a form of political violence if. even if these appear to be outwardly innocuous. even destroying the self-esteem of an individual or a collective. the collective reactions they provoke have an influence on the course of political life. In my view. the damage to one’s self-esteem is so severe it may become irreparable. symbolic violence may cause a rejection of dominant values and rules and the results will be destabilizing. Neither are threatening the current political order but contribute instead to reinforcing it. noticeably in courts. Only a restoration of justice. capitulation in front of a stronger adversary results in a profound feeling of humiliation. however. facilitates the rule of the establishment.indb 63 4/18/11 12:36 PM . in the worst cases. or to represent a belligerent move as an act of “legitimate Lindemann & Ringmar. where the victims have no means of retaliating. but their resignation or apathy. disguised behind the appearance of purely material violence. they are likely to suffer permanent injury to their identities. Others.

For example: if economic development is understood as intrinsically good. but that is not good enough for a researcher who aims to remain neutral and objective. and their suffering is perceived as embarrassing. If their fate arouses little more than indifference. As these examples indicate. even illegitimate. This conclusion may perhaps be politically justified. in any case. nationalist governments have often resorted to this ensemble of arguments in their territorial or commercial conflicts with neighbors. For a long time. injured self-esteem—real or imagined—often pushed a country to war. the Fashoda episode drove the United Kingdom and France to the verge of an open conflict. and the purely symbolic violence suffered in today’s world by fundamentalist believers of all religious faiths can. symbolic violence is minimized. In 1870.64  ✻  Philippe Braud right to self-defense. secularization led to anti-clericalism and political tension. in cases of groups who are deprived of political resources adequate for making their complaints heard. especially among the most secular strata of the population. any assessment of suffering on the part of victims of violence depends on the system of values through which a situation is judged.14 In developing countries. In nineteenth-century Europe. be regarded as the product of legitimate action. from a certain point of view. we are in a better position to understand how people react to attacks on self-esteem. which today is universally condemned. Lindemann & Ringmar.15 This way of ignoring the feelings of the victims can perhaps be understood as an indirect consequence of the common conception that violence necessarily is associated with evil. and if the spread of Western values of democracy and liberty throughout the world is an essentially positive process. or even denied. In the sixteenth century. During the era of Romantic patriotism. The point here is not to equate political violence with stigmatized behavior— the definition of which. few moralists were worried regarding a slave trade.12 Similarly.13 On the other hand. those who are suffering from the consequences of these processes can hardly be considered real victims. insufficient attention is paid to people displaced by the construction of gigantic dams or oil and mining prospecting. Yet this does not mean that no violence is exercised. By acknowledging this fact. nomadic peoples forced to settle in one place or traditional farmers removed from their land by agro-industries or by urbanization drew little interest. would always be contested. The point is rather to understand the specific reality that ensues given certain premises.indb 64 4/18/11 12:36 PM . their isolated acts of resistance are easily labeled as common organized crime. the tone of the Ems Dispatch made up by Bismarck was enough to trigger the desire of the French to go to war against the Germans. The violence perpetrated on these “backward” people is ignored. Or take the case of religious believers in advanced societies whose lives are destabilized as a result of secularization.” In the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today Muslim despair is widely misunderstood in Western countries. The military violence to which al-Qaeda’s combatants are subject.

Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  65
2. Another consequence of the reintegration of symbolic violence into the concept
of political violence is the need to rethink the true origin of military conflicts
and armed resistance, as well as the factors to be taken into account for a fair
and lasting solution to the problem of violence16. This raises significant political
stakes. When a conflict breaks out, the question of “Who started it?” requires
the identification of an aggressor, and it gives an internationally recognized
right of self-defense to the victim. And yet it is easy to misjudge the role played
by symbolic violence in the period preceding the call to arms. For an example,
consider the case of people whose firmly held religious beliefs are made fun
of—say in the form of caricatures of the Prophet Mohamed—or cases, such
as in the Niger Delta, where multinational companies exploiting the country’s
mineral wealth without any perceived benefits to the local population are made
targets of armed attacks. In order to understand the whole dynamic of the
conflicts throughout the Middle East, the Caucasus, or Sub-Saharan Africa,
as well as the apparently endless confrontations between certain neighboring
states, one should not forget to study the exercise of symbolic violence prior to
physical violence.
The failure to take into consideration what happened before physical violence
broke out constitutes an obstacle in the search for lasting peaceful solutions.
To neglect references to the events that preceded the open conflict constitutes
an additional example of violence inflicted on the victim. When a conflict is
ignited, mutual misunderstandings will perpetuate the conflict. Take the case
of violence aimed at new settlers. On the one hand, people dispossessed of their
land who have suffered injustices that are deeply engraved in their historical
memory, consider the presence of these newcomers as unacceptable. On the
other hand, the new residents who have become targets of attacks—Israel—
or social apartheid—Russians in the Baltic states—find the violence of their
neighbors to be cruel and inhuman. Each group rejects the suffering of the
other as quickly as the abyss of fear and hatred grows. In addition, labels applied
to the adversary—“terrorists” or “Zionists,” “fascists” or “occupiers”—create
further antagonisms, adding new wounds to already fragile identities.
To take into account the suffering of the other, regardless of the political cost
of doing so, is an indispensable element in any lasting solution to an intractable
conflict.17 Real peace requires a real recognition of all the suffering perceived
by the adversary. However, such recognition does not imply an automatic acceptance of the aim of the adversary or a justification for the methods it uses
in its struggle. What is required is a rejection of the idea that the violence
perpetrated by the adversary necessarily is “irrational.” Apart from a few truly
pathological crimes, irrationality is rare, and explicative factors can be found
even in the case of the most odious attack.
Surely suicide bombings can only be explained by a sort of personal and
collective despair caused, in turn, by injuries to an identity that are ill-perceived
by the outside world. The fact that an increasing percentage of Palestinians

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66  ✻  Philippe Braud
understands or even supports such actions is not intelligible as a response to
the purely material violence displayed by Israel to assure its security. There is
clearly another level of analysis to be explored in order to interpret this manifest
discrepancy between actions and reactions. And we need intellectual tools that
are able to conceptualize it.
3. Symbolic violence does not only generate aggressive reactions in its victims, but
it also increases the probability of aggressive attacks from the dominant group.
Symbolic violence, we said, undermines identities, and undermined people are
more easily made into targets of physical violence. This is particularly the case
if a group’s status is widely perceived as inferior. This means that the violence
committed against it draws fewer compassionate responses from the outside
world. As a result, the group’s capacity for retaliation is reduced, and harsh measures can be put in place with less hesitation. This is why racism, anti-Semitism,
and all fears of otherness are potentially murderous. If such heterophobia comes
to constitute an accepted discourse in a society, it creates a favorable climate
for aggressive acts. Isolated individuals or extremist organizations, identifying
themselves with the dominant group, may feel authorized to commit brutalities
either against members of the stigmatized community—“to put them back in
their place”—or against the symbols of their identity. In Europe, even today,
migrants and Gypsies and synagogues and mosques constitute such targets.
Although the first perpetrators of such outrages no doubt have a propensity for
violence whose origin is far from political, the choice of their targets is given
by the socially accepted discourse of contempt. If such prejudices turn into
official ideologies, the state apparatus can be mobilized against the stigmatized
communities, enlarging the circle of potential perpetrators while increasing
the number of bystanders who feel they can legitimately avert their eyes from
the violence being committed.
During a civil war, each side tends to vilify the enemy as “monstrous.” If such
rhetoric becomes dominant, the temptation grows to ignore regular juridical and
humanitarian practices and the consideration appropriate for a human being.
As a result, there is an increase in police abuse, imprisonment without trial,
harsh interrogations, unexplained deaths, and disappearances. In the course
of military operations, methods will be used which increasingly resemble war
crimes: indiscriminate military attacks, aggressive treatment of prisoners of war,
violence against civilians, and systematic rape. Even if the perpetrators are not
officially encouraged in these actions, they are easily absolved of their crimes by
a public opinion that does not properly understand the harsh condemnations
of the outside world, nor the possible legal consequences.
When peace breaks out, however, the conduct widely allowed during the
conflict will be re-evaluated. Apologies and regrets, if not actual compensation, are a precondition for a true and lasting reconciliation. At the end of a
civil war, a country is often divided between those who want amnesia and/or
amnesty, and those who want the perpetrators to answer for the crimes. To

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Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  67
the extent that legal processes are carried out, they do not only have the aim
of compensating the victims, but also of providing society as a whole with
cathartic experience.
4. Without the concept of symbolic violence, it is difficult to understand the
mechanisms behind perpetual violence. Emotional dynamics cause serious
distortions of rational judgment. This first happens prior to the decision to
resort to force and then again while the violence is in progress. Armed conflicts, in the main, do not originate in simple confrontations of interests. If
this were the case, cold rational calculations would lead actors to avoid many
wars because they often enough prove to be prohibitively costly, in human and
material terms, even for the winner. Moreover, is it really possible to clearly
distinguish interests and passions? As Montesquieu already argued, followed
by Adam Smith, even the quest for financial profit can be considered as a “soft
passion.”18 To fight in defense of economic interests also involves a certain idea
of identity. On the international stage, this means to claim a rank and a status.
For this reason, if a country’s preoccupation with protecting the security and
economic stability of its citizens plays a major role in causing armed conflicts,
these factors come to operate in an emotional context, perfectly understood
by the actors. There are four main emotions at play here, all closely related to
symbolic violence.
First there is fear.19 A normal reaction to danger for all vulnerable individuals and
groups, fear is a natural emotion, and it weighs heavily in the calculations of all
political actors: fear of humiliation, fear of a failure, fear not to respond adequately
to the expectations of public opinion, fear of being overwhelmed by challenges. Yet
fear is at the same time a particularly volatile emotion. It inspires uncontrollable
and disproportionate conduct: paralyzing astonishment as well as frenzied energy.
Fear itself is commonly feared, since it often results in dishonorable acts such as
withdrawal or escape, or a subservient acceptance of the will of the enemy. To admit
to fear when confronting an adversary is to reduce oneself to an inferior position, and
this, in turn, is to lose face. In order to cover up such an outcome, decision-makers
and opinion-makers may react by means of aggressive rhetoric. Such rhetoric can itself
put a country on the path of war, a step that may prove irreversible to the extent that
it provokes symmetric reactions in the adversary camp or makes domestic opinion
believe in the idea, or the illusion, of triumph.
A second emotion, closely related to symbolic violence, we could perhaps refer
to as predatory ardor. This emotion often arises both among the ruling circles and
the general population of a country if the balance of power is all too clearly in their
favor. Armed conflicts are encouraged by everything that stirs this temptation. If a
war seems to promise substantial advantages at a reduced cost, the only problem that
confronts power-hungry politicians is how to come up with the legitimate motivations.
For this reason, wars were often declared in the name of religion or national
pride, and today they are often declared in the name of “national liberation” or the

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68  ✻  Philippe Braud
f­ urthering of democracy or human rights. However, behind these honorable motivations, loudly proclaimed by the actors, the passion for triumph and the appetite
for material benefit soon show themselves. In the end, the self-confident victors,
in violation of their stated war aims, display a considerable reluctance to cede the
territories they have conquered or to restrain themselves when it comes to setting
the conditions of the peace. Those among them who better anticipate the uncertain
future and adopt a more conciliatory line will run into hawks who heavily criticize
them for their concessions.
Third, one cannot underestimate the role of resentment.20 Nietzsche correctly
regarded resentment as a hidden confession of weakness or sense of inferiority, which
in return entails an all-consuming desire for revenge. Caused by a previous experience of symbolic violence and/or memories of past cruelties, this feeling strongly
feeds the propensity for taking a hard line in conflict situations.21 Resentment may
be the main motivation for individuals to join organizations that favor violent words
or violent acts. As for decision-makers, regardless of their own thoughts, they have
to address the constraints imposed on them by the feelings of resentment among
ordinary people. Such feelings are common when a population has experienced
oppression or humiliation at the hands of representatives of alternative cultural or
political systems. In democracies, when public opinion is sufficiently agitated, it may
force the actions of a government that, everything else equal, would like to keep its
cool. Although the material benefits expected from a conquest or a war never accrue
equally to all members of a society, all can feel the sense of triumph that accompanies
the successful exercise of power over an enemy, not least since this gives relief from
a lingering sense of inferiority.
Last, the emotion of losing and saving face is a well-known explanation for the
conduct of individuals in their personal and social lives.22 The same mechanism
exists in interstate relations where considerations of prestige are greatly increased.
The complex codified language and etiquette of international diplomacy can largely
be explained by a concern for avoiding a terminology and behavior, which can be
perceived as symbolically violent by the adversary. Officials humiliated on the international stage are politically weakened inside their own country, and their future is
compromised. Military defeats almost always provoke at least forced resignations or,
in more extreme cases, coup d’états or regime change.
The loss of face and the quest to regain it makes citizens swing from feelings of
anger to depression and to desire for revenge. By contrast, military successes reinforce
the authority of the government, protecting them from criticism of their domestic
policy. Indeed, in binding individuals together in a sense of pride in their community,
this emotion explains the mystery of allegiance to a community or a nation.
The consideration of symbolic violence, be it intentional or unintentional, associated with physical violence or not, seems indispensable for a better understanding
of the historic, sequential chain of events at the root of internal troubles as well as
international conflicts. The notion of symbolic violence forces us to undertake a more
balanced re-examination of the actions and responsibilities pertaining to various

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Brussels: Bruylant. Allan and Keller 2006. 19. 20. 16. German Chancellor Bismarck deliberately hardened the words of a dispatch announcing that the king of Prussia had rejected some claims of France so that the French emperor felt strongly humiliated and went to war. 11. In June 1870. ed. 6. 22. Gareth Griffiths. 12. 9.indb 69 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 1977.Symbolic and Physical Violence  ✻  69 a­ ctors. 219. 10. For Galtung. 3. “structural violence” occurs when “human beings are being influenced so that their actual somatic and mental realizations are below their potential realizations. Pierre. 33–47. see O’Leary 2007. Adde: Sofsky 1996. The Post Colonial Studies Reader 2nd ed. A better understanding of the global dimensions of violence and war presents without doubt a move forward toward a durable peace. 13. What is a Just Peace? Oxford: Oxford University Press. Imre Kertesz (Nazi Camps) and Gustav Herling (Gulag). with Thomas Lindemann and Erik Ringmar. and Helen Tiffin. Lindemann & Ringmar. See the deportees’ stories from writers like Jean Amery. 8. which was what Bismarck secretly wished. 21. Shirer 1969. and Alexis Keller. See the model of Nurturing Parent Family versus Strict Father Family as framing political opinions in Lakoff 1996. Le Ressentiment. Ansart 2002. 13. Scott 1985. Bibliography Allan. See Howard 1999. 7. 168. 2. 5. The classical text here is Hirschman’s The Passions and the Interests. eds. Sebald 1999. Ashcroft. Notes Translated by Sador Usmanov. 1. See Goffman 1967. 2002. His work implicitly refers to the concept of symbolic violence. Again. 14. Primo Levi. Burg and Shoup 1999. 17.” Galtung 1969. Bourdieu 1980. 2000. 15. 2006. Nieburg 1969.” See Huntington 1996. Robin 2004. Allan and Keller 2006. This is a strong component and even a deciding factor of the famous “clash of civilizations. 18. Levering 1995. eds. Tilly 2003. Bill. Pierre. London: Routledge. Ashcroft and Alii 2000. 4. Brown 1977. Braud 2003. Ansart. Thomas 1997. On Northern Ireland.

George. Charles. Violences politiques. Helen. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. edited by D. New York: Simon and Schuster. Shirer. “Violence politique et mal-être identitaire. Levering. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Braud. London: Routledge. Political Violence: The Behavioral Process. Tilly. Philippe. 2004. Johan. Luftkrieg und Literatur. Sofsky.” In Negotiations. The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention. 2003.70  ✻  Philippe Braud Bourdieu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Huntington. Le Sens pratique. Martin’s. London: Sage. 1985. 1969. Nieburg. Druckman. Burg. Galtung. 1999. Post Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.indb 70 4/18/11 12:36 PM . New York: Simon and Schuster. Paris: Seuil. Wolfgang. Erving. New York: St. Social-Psychological Perspectives. New Haven: Yale University Press. James. William. Michael. 1980. Interaction Ritual. 1995. O’Leary. 1969. 1969. and Paul Shoup. Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag. David. Gareth Griffiths. Fear: The History of a Political Idea. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Brown. G. The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440–1870. Scott. 1996. ———.” Journal of Peace Research 6. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940. E. Bert. Thomas. Samuel. Brendan. W. Lindemann & Ringmar. Moral Politics: What Conservatives Know that Liberals Don’t. Corey. Armonk: M. Sebald. The Politics of Collective Violence. Sharpe. H. 1977. NJ: Athlone. 1996. 1870–1871. The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp.” Raisons politiques: Questions de violence. “Face Saving and Face Restoration in Negotiations. 1997. The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France. “Violence. Robin. Howard. 33–47. 1999. New York: Anchor Books. Lakoff. 1996. Steven. 2000. New York: Simon and Schuster. 2004. L. and Bill Ashcroft. Peace and Peace Research. 1999. London. 2003. The Politics of Antagonism: Understanding Northern Ireland. The Race to Fashoda: London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Tiffin. Pierre. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. 1967. Paris: Les Éditions de Minuit. Goffman. Hugh.

Such a peace can be exemplified by the Roman annihilation of its enemy Carthage on the other shore of the Mediterranean. through imposition or destruction peace can come about in various ways. when a strong party imposes its will on a weaker one. the preceding struggle has ended with the dominance of the powerful.indb 71 4/18/11 12:36 PM . A tautological thought. peace needs to be desired by all parties to a conflict. the violent conflict ends and peace reigns. Asserting a wish for peace is vital but insufficient. Although the fundamental disagreement may not have abated. It is this second. albeit not an uncommon historical fact. more demanding kind of peace that we discuss in this chapter by presenting a concept as well as a method of reaching a peace that includes justice or elements of it. Justice. and Recognition Can one have peace without recognition? Obviously. yes: peace may be obtained through imposition. the conflict itself vanishes. But is such a peace real. In international relations. one of a “peace of minds”? Clearly not. achieving peace without either side claiming full victory. The real challenge is compromise. Peace may also result through the utter destruction of the Other.Chapter 4 Is a Just Peace Possible without Thin and Thick Recognition? Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller Introduction: Peace. Thus. It does not necessarily trigger negotiations nor bring about a settlement. For this morally preferable situation. With the disappearance of a party to a conflict. 71 Lindemann & Ringmar.

in case all are fulfilled. as we call it. an extensive literature has been devoted to identifying what justice means in an international context. Countless books have examined the relationship between war and justice from a legal.” “armed peace.” “perpetual peace.” “democratic peace. we argue that the search for a Just Peace modifies the perceptions of the party that is being recognized.” and “universal peace. redefine them. and rule—are not only the necessary and sufficient conditions for calling a given peace a just one. “Rule” is a generic term for all the rules and institutions developed in the public peace formula that fully and explicitly recognizes the other party.” but very little has been written in both political science and international law on what is a just peace. is not sufficient for three fundamental reasons. or the more recent. As a consequence.” And they have insisted on the importance of cultural differences. political.” “positive peace.”3 They have looked at the extent to which such calls influence the outcome of peace negotiations. while necessary for a Just Peace. no. our Just Peace approach therefore defines a process of mutual recognition that goes beyond the initial selfdefinitions of the parties to it. Mutual empathy—which does not necessarily entail sympathy—is crucial here. scholars have primarily focused on the idea of Just War. these four principles or conventions—thin recognition. this task also modifies some important features of the original party.1 This means a process by which each party needs to understand the Other’s fundamental features of its identity. such recognition does not include the fundamental defining features of identity. Among theories of international relations today. Surprisingly. a given war can be deemed a just one. We have shelves full of excellent studies referring to “negative peace. “thick” recognition is needed from all politically relevant parties to a conflict. or moral perspective. First of all. For many years. there has been very little research on the concept of “just peace” and its history.72  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller Can one have such a just peace without recognition? The simple answer is. But what do we mean by recognition? What kind of recognition is mandated? In our contribution. thus clearly signaling its quest for peace to the other parties in a conflict. In other words. body of scholarship on the idea that a new kind of world order is developing. Unlike the doctrine of Just War where all conditions are necessary and. a Just Peace requires two other conditions we posit as indispensable: renouncement and rule. renouncement. we argue that “thin” recognition. They have compared case studies to extrapolate the conditions required for a “just peace. including their own. They are also part of a process of exploration wherein the parties explore each other’s identities and. thick recognition. emphasizing how the individual Lindemann & Ringmar. obviously. in addition. An inter-subjective consensus of what each side profoundly needs to remain “self” and thus satisfied should be developed in a Just Peace process. Second. nor does it address the crucial issue of the necessary political support within a party that is essential for finding a peaceful solution.indb 72 4/18/11 12:36 PM . but already sizeable.2 Some theorists and practitioners have applied methods of research on conflict resolution that focus on the negotiating process and the way in which it is affected by the “call for justice. “Renouncement” refers to the requirement of a significant concession made by each party. in this task. Third.

and theoretical conceptions of law and politics. along with the scholastic and classical traditions upon which Lindemann & Ringmar.7 The purpose of this contribution is therefore to present our concept of Just Peace while extending the discussion on questions of recognition.5 Recently.Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  73 or collective attitudes of conflict parties and psychological factors can shape relations between negotiators.4 International lawyers have also participated in the debate over the link between peace and justice by studying the idea of “unequal treaties.8 In that perspective. Nevertheless.” This notion has its origins in the law of contracts and is an outgrowth of the natural-law concept of a fair price. paving the way for the theory and practice of compensatory inequality. they have paid far too little attention to what precisely a “just peace” could mean. Adopting Christine Bell’s position. In Skinner’s words.”11 The powerful appeal of Hobbes’s scientifically rigorous method gave rise to a new wave of international legal theorizing that gradually subordinated and overshadowed Grotius.10 He rejected the notion of dialogue inherent in humanists’ moral and political philosophy (audi alteram partem). which held that criteria for such a dialogue were applied on a circumstantial or contextual basis rather than being essential or universal. Peace and Justice in History In Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes. In other words. and colonialism. peace agreements must be understood not only as legal documents but also as documents that distinctively frustrate traditional disciplinary. like international relations theorists. Hobbes first initiated “the shift from a dialogical to a monological style of moral and political reasoning. opting for a scientific and monological footing by setting up a hypothetic-deductive method. new attention has been paid to the issue by critical legal scholarship providing us with fresh understandings of the relationship between international law.indb 73 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Quentin Skinner unequivocally demonstrates how Hobbes pitched his political and legal theory to undermine the humanist culture of the Renaissance.” or even into “public” or “private” law.and substance-related documents where process and substance cannot be separated but must be understood as operating in complex unity.6 These works insist on the discrepancy between formal equality and substantial political and social inequality. Hobbes sought to overcome the “uncertainty” propagated through humanist philosophy. that address militarily violent conflict with a view to ending it. they are simultaneously process.”9 In that perspective. It was debated in the long drafting processes of the law of treaties and of the state succession in respect of treaties. European history. methodological. peace agreements do not fit neatly into categories like the “political” or the “legal. we define peace agreements as “documents produced after discussion with some or all of the conflict’s protagonists.” the “international” or the “domestic. They have not investigated enough the various conceptions of peace upon which many agreements—especially between Europeans and non-European peoples from 1600 to 1850—were based.

Extreme relativism is Lindemann & Ringmar. they drew the boundaries between those who belonged to this society and those who did not. In the eighteenth century. Praise of the diversity of modes of association was connected with the awareness that in the complexity of the world. not one of them defined the right of peace in terms of recognition or fairness. The blanket rejection of despotism that pervades his work could not have been built out of relativism. They came up with a “liberal” theory of natural rights that could be used to justify the imposition of European ideas of political society and community on non-European cultures. And fundamental to this community was the idea that its members were not obliged to treat non-members according to the norms that applied to relations between themselves. or was regarded as having. Vattel. the shapes of political goods and evils are never pure or stable. In the search for “universal peace”—which is very different from a Just Peace—no effort was made to integrate non-European peoples and non-European visions of history and peace. he did not recognize the importance of diversity through the eyes of a skeptic or relativist. his views on the analysis of the sources of law and on customary law illustrate that point very well. They used a language that marginalized the structure and “political” systems of colonized peoples. The Spirit of the Laws (1748) is in fact a fundamental attempt to describe universalism and relativism rather than a decision to adopt one or the other.” They did value difference.13 Other attitudes toward diversity and customs were discarded in favor of one centralized legal conception of peace agreements. Montesquieu clearly shows that the idea of diversity was a central feature of his social and political thought. In his early writings. and Kant all forged their systems of international relations on a uniform—scientific—vision of law.indb 74 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Locke. which ruled out any dialogue with non-European people. the history of the formative period of international law is important in that it outlines the gradual emergence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of a discourse about law that either had pretentions to.” Pufendorf.74  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller he so heavily depended. not only for its own sake but also because to do otherwise would be to privilege one understanding of what it is to be human over others. Those who did formed a moral community bound by mutually agreed rules of conduct. European. Montesquieu was fascinated by the diversity of laws and ethics across nations and intrigued by the wealth of beliefs and customs throughout time and space. Indeed. despite their rejection of the Hobbesian conception of the “state of nature. Notwithstanding efforts on the part of Pufendorf and Kant. universal application. some theorists such as Montesquieu and Rousseau pleaded for the necessity to adopt what James Tully calls the “principle of recognition. He did not merely defend each person’s right to be judged according to his or her own laws. He invoked a conception of diversity that recognized the important pedagogical and moral value of the acceptance of various forms of life. based on a homogeneous view of a state or a nation. The debate was restricted to treaties as expressed in normative. as opposed to a relativist or skeptical stance.12 Thus. especially in his Lettres Persanes (1721). This view did not go unchallenged. and legal terms. However. By codifying the terms for membership in this post-Westphalian society of states.

he argued. It is therefore fair to say that they did reject assimilation unless it was the free choice of the individual or people being assimilated. The fact that humans are “cultural agents. they possess and exercise. Montesquieu and Rousseau believed that human beings are fundamental cultural creatures. moeurs. simply by virtue of being human. etc. He called for an informed attitude.Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  75 a mere illusion. that is. Indeed. which requires jingoistic prejudice and ethnocentric preconceptions to be cast aside.). whom they profoundly influenced. His international thought is clearly a forceful plea for equality and fairness between nations. 1755) and in l’Emile (1762). national character. a range of rational. Burke. but it is impossible to go back to a universal philosophy that ignores cultural plurality and the individual’s quest for equality. he did not just call for equality between men (implying compassion toward indigenous peoples) but also between peoples. Liberals see these demands as a threat to the constitutional order. He pinpointed the necessity to understand what is specific about each people and.” according to them. race. the ways in which they might differ from us.” but solely on their own terms. histories. they did not write of culture in the plural (this was a development that would occur in European writings of the nineteenth century. the liberal state should not seek to recognize distinctive cultural or group rights but instead focus on providing effective individual civil rights such as freedom of expression. According to them. It was clear for them that a lasting peace and a just reconciliation between indigenous people and settler societies required “thick” recognition. practices. and imaginative capacities that create and transform diverse practices and institutions over time. emotive. Consequently. association. underlies the diverse moeurs. religion. and Kant. and some of these usually defy the cultural neutrality that is one of the foundations of the liberalism. by extension. they were perfectly aware of the categories under which human diversity was theorized (climate. with no ulterior motives. In recent years. liberals do so in keeping with what John Rawls termed “reasonable pluralism. Of course.17 Lindemann & Ringmar. Rousseau also understood the importance of “thick recognition” for his social theory. and cultures that are quite distinct from their own? Mainly because cultures make demands that are identity-defining. too often. They argued for a mutual agreement about the conditions for sharing territory and land. Before Diderot. there have been genuine attempts from within the liberal tradition to recognize other cultures and accommodate distinctive cultural or group rights. Herder.14 However. Montesquieu or Rousseau should not be seen as modern-day advocates of multiculturalism. Nevertheless. movement. Rousseau made that point clear in chapter 8 of his Essay on the Origin of Languages.indb 75 4/18/11 12:36 PM . In the two Discourses (1750. in their view. and institutions of different people.16 Why is it difficult for liberal political theory to understand the question of mutual recognition between different parties with identities. Rousseau underlined the importance—and the ways—of “knowing” other people. and negotiations in a respectful manner on a nation-to-nation basis. according to their own world-view. when cultures would begin to signify—only certain—peoples).15 Recognition is only acceptable within their own conceptual universe since it is. and the like. mutual consent. a universal one. beliefs.

the Other is only accepted as a full-fledged negotiating partner while the negotiation may not succeed. a culture.”18 It has evolved as a form of political organization that expects its citizens to subscribe to an identical way of defining themselves and is consequently threatened by identities that can set up rival kinds of loyalty. liberalism has been identified with an abstract individualism that ignores its own gendered content and have criticized the homogenizing ideals of equality that require us to be or become the same. In particular. while being accepted in principle. let us now probe deeper into the two fundamental kinds of recognition. we are arguing in favor of a line of reasoning that is geared to the existence of multiple institutions. This being said. and the presence of plural identities in the way parties see themselves. Bhikhu Parekh. Simply. and usually their own common language. Thin Recognition With thin recognition. starting with the more limited one. they accept each other as collectives of human beings. systematically put aside other theories. thin recognition. parties. This thin recognition proceeds simply on the acceptance of the Other. It is this acceptance of the Other as such which is a necessary—but not sufficient—condition of a Just Peace. which gave more place to differences.19 In sum. The existence of many identities is a central feature of the world and cannot be ignored in exploring the demands for recognition. the differences it needs to remain “self. peoples. Numerous authors have underlined the tension between cultural difference and liberalism. in their quest for an imaginary unity. Feminist authors have also underscored how liberal theories have.76  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller These arguments have been subject to extensive criticism. in particular. feminists argue. Fundamentally. states. At this level of a thin or minimalist recognition. Only a formal theory of just peace can give justice to this human diversity. Each party has to be able to understand the other’s fundamental identity features. legal traditions.indb 76 4/18/11 12:36 PM . history shows that Western—and above all liberal—political theory has a fundamental problem with the convention of thick recognition. observes that the liberal state is “a deeply homogenizing institution. a history. This makes it impossible to resolve the problems of a Just Peace by one all–encompassing original position (as under universalism) or even by two sets of overarching original positions—one within each “nation” and another among the representatives of all nations. which is central to our perspective and which it cannot always accommodate.” The recognition of these differences typically requires reaching out of a universal scheme equally applicable to all parties. is not recognized as such and remains in the background. Lindemann & Ringmar. for example. as autonomous “entities” that have a particular identity. The most crucial point is that the parties recognize each other as key for resolving the conflict. the “thickness” of the other agent. In other words. or other such collectives recognize each other as agents. of its having the right to exist and continuing to exist as an autonomous agent.

21 The insights gained with these perspectives are invaluable. Interestingly. Concepts such as “common knowledge. albeit with different preferences.indb 77 4/18/11 12:36 PM . it does not imply the knowledge of the other party’s identity. However. in order to keep the analysis manageable. simply the recognition that he has a separate one and that one can enter into potentially fruitful interchange with him.Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  77 In this sense. our perspective is analogous to Kant’s minimalist “cosmopolitan right. This condition is central because it allows each party to identify essential and inevitable “red lines” that cannot be crossed without challenging the very existence of the other party. The notion of identity is therefore crucial. All we require for a Just Peace is a minimal understanding of the internal support a proposed just solution would have for each significant or relevant group or sensitivity within each actor. the joint cognitive elements of a situation and its involved social actors. they are not inherently a zero-sum game. contemporary work in game theory has given extensive thought to the mutual understanding of the Other. and also what they know about themselves has become a central feature of game theoretical modeling. It is invaluable in probing very deeply into the rationality of decision-making in interdependent social situations where each decision has consequences depending on decisions by others. unlike territory and resources. First. or the consent of the major groups supporting an authoritarian system or any other significant domestic political force or sensitivity which may block a Just Peace formula. To make our claims clear: here. which is hard to model analytically.” that is. Indeed.” a “right of resort. not a thick one. they come at a price of a thin recognition. support may stem from the agreement of the legitimate leaders in a representative democracy. about the other players. We now turn to this concept. Nor are we requiring the kind of societal consensus necessary in some societies whereby differences are solved by long palavers. Despite their undeniable rigidities. we are not asking for an overall consensus between parties. and where each individual has in some sense the power of vetoing the collective decision. What actors know about the situation. such as trade. Thick Recognition Requiring thick recognition means that each party needs to understand the Other in terms of the essential elements composing its identity. Recognition needs to be thick in the sense of capturing the richness of the Other— this includes the Other’s contradictions and multifaceted richness.” allowing each human being “to attempt to enter into relations” with others. identities are potentially changeable (and in fact negotiable) for two reasons. According to the identity of an actor. However. The modeling of the rational choices of actors in such situations requires a theory of who these actors are. have become central. these others are highly stylized and homogenized. though they Lindemann & Ringmar.” “the right of a stranger not to be treated with hostility when he arrives on someone else’s territory. the Other is seen as homogeneous with oneself.20 However.

However. it is a human experience that requires a visible and obvious rapprochement on the human level and that requires visible sacrifices from both parties. In Kosovo. Most often. we believe that those representing a party need to fully grasp the core identity and potential for change of their own party in order to be able to devise a solution that will be. sometimes only with time. And here is the second reason they are changeable: they can be redefined because they are to a large extent constructed out of real experiences. Aside from the division of territory. they have to be defined anew or redefined.22 The discovery that accommodation of the Other’s identity need not destroy the core of the group’s own identity makes these changes possible. positions. and power. it is in fact not the case that one’s identity can be expressed only if the other’s identity is totally denied. religious freedom. and advantages need to be sacrificed. recognized and accepted by their own people. however. Canada’s conflict is embodied in the issue of language.indb 78 4/18/11 12:36 PM . we now discuss two further conditions pertaining to a Just Peace. that is. Some symbols. most social scientific approaches start from the premise that actors are knowledgeable of themselves and concentrate on how the nature of the Other is defined. it is not sufficient to find a win-win formula. Rather. to find a common ground between identities. That issue may be the unity of the state. Surprisingly. and this kind of learning is usually taking place during the negotiation process. a subjective feeling amongst negotiators. it is essential to genially understand the core identity of the Other. a sentiment of justice Lindemann & Ringmar. the rationality of the Other is posited in order to be able to rationally enter into social intercourse with her. the defining factor is the union with Great Britain. or the role of a language. If the two—or more—identities are to become compatible. and these experiences can be presented and ordered in different ways. negotiations are often marked by one overriding factor—a symbolic. religion divides hearts and minds. constitutional reform. Toward a Just Peace The third necessary convention for our Just Peace concept is renouncement in the sense of concessions and compromises being necessary to build a peace that will be accepted as just. Therefore. Just Peace cannot only be in the minds of peoples. Just Peace cannot be had on the cheap with mutual benefits only. In Northern Ireland. but an essential ingredient lies in sacrifices. Having discussed thin and thick recognition.23 But it is not sufficient to comprehend the Other: it is just as important to understand oneself. initially non-negotiable issue around which the conflict is structured. In other words. Rule constitutes our fourth and final condition. costs that each party needs to make with respect to the other. Thick recognition implies full acceptance of the humanity of the Other—including the contradictory elements of human experience and their societal dimensions. sovereignty.78  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller are perceived and debated as such in intense conflicts.

” Nandy’s notion of a “dialogue of visions. It needs to be publicized. the process of reaching a Just Peace. However. that is. norms. and modified. fleshed out. it needs to be shown in the open. notably Todorov’s idea of “non-violent communication. which allows them in turn to reach a Just Peace.” and Linklater’s application of Jürgen Habermas’s “discourse ethics” to international relations. it is necessary that the agreement be fully communicated to the relevant publics.25 The populations themselves may be involved in this process.24 They are concerned with the process of “othering” by means of which a self understands the relationship between itself and some other and is an understanding with practical implications. We define rule in the generic sense of common principles.” This term is to be seen in the widest sense. a reciprocal invitation to visit the leaders’ private home.indb 79 4/18/11 12:36 PM .Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  79 or peace between them. is it really impossible to settle on a legal language shared and accepted by all? Therein lies the challenge posed by relativism (impossibility to choose between legal traditions) and perspectivism (impossibility to claim that one holds the truth inside a school of thought). helping to cement the agreement. such as shaking hands. thus entering the public sphere not only of each party but also of all outside observers and third parties. This dialogue permits—but does not necessarily entail—the development of “rule. It requires a common language to be set forth. Differently put. it is possible to achieve a dialogue between cultures and the degree of mutual understanding needed to sustain international society. we have not explained in detail how we arrive at this common language. in the public sphere. and accepted behaviors. We believe that Ludwig Wittgenstein’s approach to the concept of understanding provides us with the key element of how parties reach the common language.” the arena where each party’s cultural conventions on recognition and renouncement are reinvented. legitimate rules of acceptable behavior. Wittgenstein compares language to an ancient city: “Our language may be seen as Lindemann & Ringmar. So far. having a common meal. it allows the features of the just solution to be objectified by a “text. and so forth. All three offer richly rewarding insights into cross-cultural understanding. By crafting and then drafting a common acceptable convention using the terminology of both negotiating traditions. after the highly “subjective” thick recognition and renouncement. the rule between parties to a Just Peace is grounded in law. and defining the rights and duties of each in securing a Just Peace that is seen by both as a lasting one. although their political elites play the major role. This is done by the negotiators who develop narratives encompassing the essential features of each party’s mind-set and expectations. making their concessions clear to all. Typically. and Andrew Linklater provide us with useful insights to solve this dilemma and think about a way to create channels between rival traditions. respecting the particular identities of each. they argue. Tzvetan Todorov. including the essential symbolic features. however. which is seen as a way of shaping the first three conventions. and inter-subjective yardsticks allowing all—both parties and outside observers or guarantors—to approve of the solution found. It requires explicit rules of settlement. Through a conversational process that does not assume Western superiority. For a Just Peace to be durable. In one of the most famous passages of his Philosophical Investigations. Ashis Nandy.

accommodating the specific identities involved. Therefore. A specific Just Peace formula will not necessarily be. For it is what we learn when the word is incorporated into our language.28 In sum.” following John Austin’s terminology. of old and new houses. In fact. In that sense. we have developed a formal concept. United States Chief Justice John Marshall used thin and thick recognition as the cornerstone of his argument.” It not only allows us to “do things with words. 1763. the State of Georgia (1832). We argue that the existence of many collective identities is a central feature of the world and cannot be ignored in exploring the demands for recognition. it does have a multiplicity of possible paths. It is rather the practical activity of being able to use it in various circumstances. in which the British Crown set out its views on relations between North America and the Amerindian nations. but it also permits us to go beyond the usual opposition between liberalism and culturalism.indb 80 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Differently put: only a content-free concept is able to accommodate conflicting identities within a procedural approach of mutual recognition. Wittgenstein’s philosophy furnishes an alternative way of building an inter-cultural dialogue by enabling the interlocutors to modify their languages and their “pictures of the world. just as there is no such comprehensive view of a city. Marshall not only insisted on the fact that it unmistakably recognized indigenous peoples as autonomous nations. it is impossible to articulate a comprehensive rule that stipulates the essential conditions for the correct application of words in every instance. and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses.80  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares. a perpetual one. and of houses with additions from various periods. “a meaning of a word is a kind of employment of it. Conclusion In Worcester vs. only a formal theory of Just Peace can give justice to this human diversity: each peace is a particular one. such as our Just Peace concept. Wittgenstein explains that. Just Peace needs to be maintained. and therefore adapted to changing societal circumstances. Like a city.29 Our four conditions thus both define a Just Peace and point toward the necessary features of a process leading to it. by neither specifying some general rules of justice nor the content of the peace but focusing only on some very general forms that the process of a Just Peace needs to proceed through.” This dialogical way of apprehending others thus provides us with a process that does not entail comprehending what they say within one side’s own language. has grown up in a variety of forms through practices overlapping in many ways the endless diversity of human activities. as in a Kantian perspective. He did not portray them using traditional Eurocentric Lindemann & Ringmar. in order to survive.30 Referring in 1832 to the Royal Proclamation of October 7. Consequently.”26 This analogy is used to make us understand that language. like a city.”27 He thus shows that understanding a general term is not the theoretical activity of interpreting and applying a general theory in distinct cases. his theory gives us a solid base to anchor our concept “rule.

7.” and our definition of a “thick” one. Too often. See for instance Fisher and Brown 1988. We borrow Clifford Geertz’s 1973 terminology to distinguish between what we call a classical liberal or minimal “thin recognition. brokering (and maintaining) peace and advancing justice are assumed to be in tension with each other. If we want to address the theoretical challenge posed by multiculturalism to modern world politics. History does provide us with some Just Peace agreements including thin and thick recognition—although. we do not follow Michael Walzer’s moral conceptual distinction between “thin” and “thick” morality. Geertz (1973. The same criticism could not be made. these are relatively rare. See Lesaffer 2004. The Edict of Nantes of 1598 negotiated by Henri IV and the commissioners to settle the Huguenot issue in France and to integrate Protestants as full-fledged French citizens. Anghie 2007. for cultural Lindemann & Ringmar. Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey 1988. a liberal thin recognition was insufficient for reaching a legitimate and durable peace. 6. as expected. 2. See in particular Rawls 1999. Instead. or it is thought that seeking one will automatically be to the detriment of the other. This reminds us that recognition in a multilateral context is a thin concept not necessarily permitting full or thick recognition paying due respect to each peace partner’s identity. Walter 2001. 1. 3.Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  81 Enlightenment discourse. and the constitutional negotiations in South Africa between 1990 and 1994 could all be seen as examples of “just” agreements in that they satisfy all four of our Just Peace conditions. then continuing work on Just Peace is essential. among others. 6) himself adopted his “thick description” from Gilbert Ryle. the Treaty of San Francisco (1951) between Japan and the United States. at least without serious qualifications. On contemporary thinking about justice and international society. Notes We thank the two editors and an anonymous reviewer for their helpful comments. Peace and justice are both critical imperatives in post-conflict (and often postauthoritarian) contexts. see various approaches in Mapel and Nardin 1999. the Great Peace of Montreal of 1701 in which forty Amerindian nations met with representatives of France to end persistent bloody conflicts. Stern and Druckman 2000. In each of these cases. xi. 4. 5.indb 81 4/18/11 12:36 PM . In doing so. he underlined the attitude of British negotiators who adapted their approach to the Amerindian culture and refused to dismiss its peoples as “inferior” on the evolutionary scale. Thin and thick recognition are an important part of this accommodation process whereby negotiators seek to agree to a fair and lasting peace. See. He observed that the British Crown had incorporated the idea of thick recognition into the treaties signed with Amerindians and concluded that the US government was bound to respect that undertaking. See in particular Simpson 2004. a Wittgensteinian philosopher. See Walzer 1994. Cohen 1991.

Skinner 1996. 1995. John L. Tully 1995. 28. What is a Just Peace? Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tuck 1999. 1999. Parts of this chapter are based on this earlier work. states tell stories about themselves and demand approval of the individuality of their narrated self-conceptions. Imperialism. Wittgenstein 2001. 4–5. which pleads going beyond a Hegelian constitutive recognition. 2006. Marshall 1987. 11. 21. Austin 1962. 30. 27. See Phillips 1991. 16. Kymlicka 1989. 16. For a presentation of theses debates. 105–106. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Parekh 2000. 2007.82  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller and legal historians. 29. “International Relations Theory and Game Theory: Baroque Modeling Choices and Empirical Robustness.” International Political Science Review 20 (1): 1999. For an excellent analysis of the vision of peace defended by indigenous peoples. Bock and James 1992. Kant 1991. 26. Linklater 1998. 20. Rawls 1999. 9. See Kelman 1997. Bibliography Allan. 226–258. Nandy 1992. Sovereignty and the Making of International Law. Austin. Christine. Todorov 1984. 1962. 85–86. Pierre. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 15. 17. 2008. see Tully 2004. See Allan and Dupont 1999. Pagden 1995. 435–445 especially. Bell. 25. 7. 13. 23. Pocock 2005. On the Law of Peace: Peace Agreements and the Lex Pacificatoria. Pierre. 10. See also Behnke’s contribution to this volume. Honneth contends that political actors and rulers are key in the interpretation of their population’s “moods” given the fact that nation-states are themselves collectives far too complex to allow for simple recognition formulas. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 18. Wittgenstein 1972. 19. Jennings 1985. 15. 10–11. and Tully 1995 have provided detailed historical accounts of this dynamics. 855–862. chapter 3 especially. We have tried to explore and further develop the concept of Just Peace in Allan and Keller 2006. 8. 338. 22. See also White 1991. 24. Ibid. see Kukathas 1992. 12. Allan. Todorov 1984. 10. Ibid. and Cédric Dupont. For a development of these claims. and Alexis Keller. eds. Antony. 14. As Ringmar argues in his introduction to this book. Bell 2008. Lindemann & Ringmar. Anghie.indb 82 4/18/11 12:36 PM . How to do Things with Words. See Keal 2003. see Williams 1999. In his contribution to this volume. 53.

and Scott Brown. 1999. “Are There Any Cultural Rights?” Political Theory 20 (1). Raymond. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania State Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Skinner.Is a Just Peace Possible Without Thin and Thick Recognition?  ✻  83 Bock. Lords of All the World. Randolph. 1995. Gudykunst. 1992.” In The Writings of John Marshall. Washington: United States Institute for Peace. New York: Harper. Littleton: F. Clifford. Todorov. International Society: Diverse Ethical Perspectives. European Conquest and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch. eds. 1985. The Interpretation of Cultures. Geertz. Roger. New York: Cambridge University Press. eds. 1997. Lindemann & Ringmar. Gerry. Getting Together: Building a Relationship That Gets to YES. David R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Phillips. eds. Kelman. The Discovery of Islands: Essay in British History. Francis. and Susan James. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1995. Unequal Sovereigns in the International Legal Order.S. Pocock. and Daniel Druckman. Stern. 1987. 2005. the State of Georgia. 1991. John. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Washington: National Academy Press. Late Chief Justice of the United States. Fisher. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ed. 435–45. International Conflict Resolution after the Cold War. The Law of Peoples. 2000. Tzvetan. Keal. Cohen. London: Routledge. 1998. Nandy.. ———. 1991. Beyond Equality and Difference. New Haven: Yale University Press. Rothman Press. Quentin. 2004. Simpson. Oxford: Oxford University Press. William B. Marshall. John G. and Terry Nardin. Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes. Reiss. Chandran. Pagden. Negotiating Across Cultures: Communication Obstacles in International Diplomacy.C. London: Macmillan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.” In Kant: Political Writings. Bikhu. Immanuel.” Negotiation Journal 13. Andrew. Culture and Interpersonal Communication. Kukathas. 1992.. 1996. The History and Culture of Iroquois Diplomacy: An Interdisciplinary Guide to the Treatises of the Six Nations and Their League. 2004. Linklater.S. 1991. 1988. 1984. Engendering Democracy. 1988. Great Powers and Outlaw States. ed. Liberalism. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. 1999. The Transformation of Political Community: Ethical Foundations of the Post-Westphalian Community. “Negotiating National Identity and Self-Determination in Ethnic Conflicts: The Choice Between Pluralism and Ethnic Cleansing. Multicultural Citizenship. and Stella Ting-Toomey.indb 83 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Traditions. The Conquest of America: The Question of Other. Kant. Upon the Federal Constitution. Parekh. Community and Culture. 1992. Gisela. Rawls. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Herbert C. Jennings. 1832). New York: Basic Books. 1989.. Mapel.B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lesaffer. Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory. Newbury Park: Sage. Anthony. Will. Peace Treaties and International Law in European History: From the Late Middle Ages to World War One. 6 Peter 515 (U. Cambridge: Polity. 2000. 1973. Kymlicka. Oxford: Oxford University Press. A. “Worcester vs. 2003. Paul. Ashis. Paul C. edited by Hans S. John. Anne. Tyranny and Utopias: Essays in the Politics of Awareness.

Williams. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. Walter. 1972. 2004. The Middle Ground: Indians. Wittgenstein. James. and Republics in the Great Lakes Region. E. Linking Arms Together: American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace. New York: Harper. Anscombe. London: Routledge. Lindemann & Ringmar. Richard. Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars. Strange Multiplicity: Constitutionalism in an Age of Diversity. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Robert A. Philosophical Investigations. 1995. Empires. 1995. 2001. Ludwig. Michael. Barbara F. Walzer.84  ✻  Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller Tuck. 1999. The Rights of War and Peace: Political Thought and International Order from Grotius to Kant. “Approaches to Recognition. ———. 1600–1800. Richard. Oxford: Blackwell. E. and Dialogue. M. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Power. 1991. M. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1994. Tully. 1999. 1650–1815. Oxford: Oxford University Press.indb 84 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad. Translated by Denis Paul and G. Translated by G. On Certainty. ———. 2001.” Political Theory 32: 855–862. Anscombe. White.

indb 85 4/18/11 12:36 PM .Part II Empirical Applications Lindemann & Ringmar.

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 86 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

Realists root their paradigm in Hobbes’s observation—generally taken out of context—that people are motivated to find ways out of the state of nature. it has the potential to 87 Lindemann & Ringmar. liberalism. He wrote about man’s alienation from his labor and how socialism would restore workers’ self-esteem by reordering their relationship to what they produced. Recognition. Liberalism assumes that people and states seek wealth and use reason instrumentally to design strategies and institutions conducive to this goal. and reason—each seeking its own ends. although the young Marx was equally concerned with the spirit. spirit. Marx was a close reader of the Greeks and appreciated their richer understanding of human motives and related understanding that human happiness required more than the satisfaction of appetites. Three paradigms of international relations—realism. Realism differs from liberalism in arguing that concern for security must come first in an anarchical world. as Machiavelli and Rousseau recognized. The spirit has not been made the basis for any paradigm of politics or international relations.1 Marxism is also anchored in appetite. and Marxism—are rooted in appetite. not only to preserve their lives but to protect their property and create an environment in which they can satisfy other appetites.indb 87 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and Foreign Policy Germany and World War II Richard Ned Lebow Plato and Aristotle posit three fundamental drives—appetite. although.Chapter 5 Spirit.

that people.88  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow serve as the foundation for one. and its willingness to keep fighting long after officers of every rank realized the hopelessness. Yugoslavia. self-esteem is a sense of self-worth that makes people feel good about themselves. which allows me to analyze great power politics in terms of the spirit. of the German army. whose definitions ultimately derive from Hegel and are commonly applied by international relations (IR) scholars to understand the situation of subordinate communities. I draw my understanding from Plato and Aristotle because they theorize a universal human drive. Hitler among them. if not the evil character. happier about life. and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia—were welcomed enthusiastically by most Germans and Austrians. gained popular support by promising to restore Germany’s position in Europe and with it. I provide a brief overview of the characteristics and tensions of spirit-based worlds and their implications for foreign policy. but what support they did have derived in large part from the same motives. I attempt to remedy this conceptual oversight in A Cultural Theory of International Relations. Greece. fundamental drive and principal cause of war. Simply put.4 The importance of honor to the officer corps secured Hitler the quiescence. and Hobbes described “vanity”—his term for the spirit—as a powerful.2 With Homer’s Iliad as my guide. if not the active support. the Weimar Republic never achieved legitimacy.3 Many of his foreign policy and defense initiatives—withdrawal from the League of Nations. Anschluss with Austria. Compelled to sign the treaty by the Allies. His wars against Poland. if not the world. Economic shocks further weakened the Republic. I construct an ideal-type honor society and use it as a template to understand the role of the spirit in real worlds. Western Europe. It is achieved by Lindemann & Ringmar. individually and collectively. Revealingly.indb 88 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the self-esteem of the German people. Aristotle’s understanding of anger also encourages a focus on powerful actors rather than oppressed groups. In this chapter. Right-wing opponents. Hitler’s own motives for going to war were pathological because they went far beyond restoration of status quo ante bellum to the conquest of Europe. My understanding of the spirit and the concept of recognition differ from that of other contributors to the volume. and the Soviet Union were decidedly less popular. rearmament of Germany. common to Plato and Aristotle. its most-hated feature was not the loss of territory. The Spirit A spirit-based paradigm starts from the premise. and more confident about their ability to confront its challenges. of their cause. reparations. seek self-esteem. There was deep resentment toward the Allies and the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. I use my framework to analyze Germany’s reaction to defeat in World War I and how the resulting desire for regaining self-esteem was focused on the German state and facilitated Hitler’s rise to power. ancient and modern. or restrictions on the German military that this Treaty imposed but the articles that required Germany to accept responsibility for the war and hand over the kaiser and other individuals for trial as war criminals.

Self-esteem is a universal drive. They can. organizations and states do not have psyches and cannot be treated as persons.5 Mature people are restrained by reason and recognize the wisdom of the ancient maxim. People must be taught how to express and satisfy the spirit through activities deemed appropriate by the society. All societies must restrain. It engenders self-control and sacrifice from which the community as a whole prospers. who are much like us. like all emotions for the Greeks. and classical Greek literature more generally. identity was defined by the sum of the social roles people performed. nevertheless. although it is manifested differently by different societies.Spirit. a modern Western concept associated with behavior in accord with our values. the anger aroused when the spirit is challenged or frustrated. We can behave in ways that provoke the disapproval of others but still feel good about ourselves if that behavior reflects our values and beliefs and confers internal honor. respond to the needs of the spirit in the same way they do to the appetites of their citizens. In warrior societies. Arguably the most important function of nationalism in the modern world is to provide vicarious satisfaction for the spirit. For the Greeks. For Plato and Aristotle. We only feel good about ourselves when Lindemann & Ringmar. They build self-esteem by membership in high-status groups and high status within those groups. as did Odysseus. so esteem (how we are regarded by others) and self-esteem (how we regard ourselves) were understood to be more or less synonymous because the latter depended on the former.6 The spirit is mediated by society. is motivated by pain and pleasure. To escape this pain. People support collective enterprises in the expectation of material and emotional rewards. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  89 excelling in activities valued by one’s peer group or society and gaining the respect of actors whose opinions matter. or deflect outward. esteem and self-esteem are distinct words and categories and are no longer synonymous.7 Societies have strong incentives to nurture and channel the spirit. that revenge is a dish best served cold. is mediated by the intellect. any restraint on its self-assertion arouses anger. and who have good qualities and positions that we do not have but might. The spirit is a purely human drive. we feel good about ourselves.indb 89 4/18/11 12:36 PM . We feel pain when we observe people. which I have described as a universal human need on a par with appetite. We must nevertheless be careful about making hard and fast distinctions between Greeks and moderns because there is some evidence that internal honor was not entirely foreign to Athenians. but also recognition that self requires society because self-esteem is impossible in its absence. Self-esteem requires some sense of self. self-esteem or self-worth is an affect and. the spirit is channeled into bravery and selflessness from which the society also profits. The spirit is fiercely protective of one’s autonomy and honor. For modern Westerners. like many behaviors. we act in ways that make it possible for us to possess these goods and feel good when we obtain them. There are a bundle of concepts associated with the spirit that must be defined with some care. It wants to avenge all affronts to its honor and seeks immediate satisfaction. By winning their approbation. The first of these is self-esteem. emulation. According to Plato. For Aristotle. We distinguish external honor from internal honor. They need appropriate role models to emulate.

internally and socially. Each status has privileges but also an associated rule package. It carries with it a set of responsibilities. when actors’ self-esteem is considerably lower or higher than their external esteem. The king or chief is expected to be the bravest warrior and lead his forces into battle.10 Modernity created a vocabulary that recognizes tensions between inner selves and social roles but encourages us to cultivate and express our “inner selves” and original ways of being. as in the case of kings. or expected judgments. and describes the outer face that one presents to the community.8 Our word for person derives from persona. From Rousseau on. and having sexual relations with forbidden persons or at the wrong times or places. whether present. Both forms of esteem are stipulatively social.9 In the modern world. individual identity and self-esteem have become increasingly important. of others. identity was social. Hierarchy is a rank-ordering of status. withholding payment from someone deserving of it. and in honor societies. Honor is inseparable from hierarchy. Tension and conflict can arise. By the fifth century. which seem likely to involve us in discredit. Esteem and self-esteem can also be described as respect and self-respect. if subordinate.12 Aristotle is clear that we shrink from knowledge of our behavior. Service and sacrifice—the means by which Lindemann & Ringmar.13 We must exercise due caution with the binaries of social and individual identities and esteem and self-esteem because Greek tragedy (for example. To summarize. honor came to be associated with political rights and offices. The higher the status. an emotion that arises in response to the judgments. and in traditional honor societies. Esteem and self-esteem map on to different conceptions of identity. Enlightenment and Romantic ideologies emphasized the uniqueness and autonomy of the inner self. Sophocles’s Ajax and Euripides’s Medea) reveals that self-esteem existed to some degree in fifth-century Athens. making a profit in a disgraceful way.indb 90 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Other high-ranking individuals must assume high-risk. Status can be ascribed. as we are primarily concerned with how we appear in the eyes of those who matter most to us. past or future. the two are expected to coincide. not the acts themselves. roles. which must be fulfilled properly if honor is to be retained.” Examples he provides include throwing away one’s shield in battle. the spirit is best conceived of as an innate human drive with self-esteem its goal and honor and standing the means by which it is achieved. In the ancient world. the greater the honor and privileges and the more demanding the role and its rules. a status for the Greeks that describes the outward recognition we gain from others in response to our excellence. People did not lack a concept of self. honor determines the nature of the statuses and who fills them. Self-esteem is closely connected to honor (tim˛). Honor is a gift.90  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow we recognize that we are esteemed for the right reasons by other actors whom we respect and admire. It was a means of selecting people for office and of restraining them in their exercise of power. and it’s bestowed upon actors by other actors. the Latin word for mask. Aristotle describes shame as a “pain or disturbance in regard to bad things.11 Self-esteem is a subjective sense of one’s honor and standing and can reflect or differ from the esteem accorded by others. The opposite of esteem is shame. or achieved. but that self was relationally defined and was the sum of socially assigned roles.

while those who attain honor by virtue of their accomplishments come to occupy appropriate offices. Competition for honor is transformed into competition for standing. Hobbes compares it to glory and observes that. Honor is a mechanism for restraining the powerful and preventing the kind of crass. Protecting and providing for others is a key responsibility of those with high status and office. is a relational concept. Even in ideal spirit worlds. Obligations. even brutal exploitation common to hierarchies in modern. at least in the intent of those who drafted the United Nations Charter. no man hath it. “if all men have it. came with rank as did various economic incentives. In the Iliad. an actor’s standing in a hierarchy is equivalent to its degree of honor. each actor contributes to the society and the maintenance of its order to the best of its abilities and receives support depending on its needs. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  91 honor is won and maintained—have the potential to legitimize hierarchy. arouse anger that can only be appeased by punishing the offender and thereby “putting him in his place. Those toward the apex of the status hierarchy earn honor by living up to the responsibilities associated with their rank or office. was to coordinate the collective efforts of the community to maintain the peace. including labor and military service. In return for honoring and serving those higher up the social ladder. Honor can maintain hierarchy because challenges to an actor’s status. These orderings can keep conflict in check when they are known. Priam and Hector gain great honor because of their behavior on and off the battlefield but lose their lives and city.”15 The value placed on honor in spirit-based worlds. The Song dynasty carried this system to its logical extreme. In an ideal-type spirit world.14 Great powers have had similar responsibilities in the modern era. even more than wealth.” Honor worlds have the potential to degenerate into hierarchies based on power and become vehicles for exploitation when actors at the apex fail to carry out their responsibilities or exercise self-restraint in pursuit of their own interests. Standing refers to the position an actor occupies in a hierarchy. respected. integrating all males in the kingdom into a system of social status signified by seventeen. The Security Council is an outgrowth of this tradition. there is almost always some discrepancy between honor and standing because those who gain honor do not necessarily win the competitions that usually confer honor. or failure to respect the privileges it confers. ranks. Honor and standing can diverge for less admirable reasons. and effectively define the Lindemann & Ringmar. Once actors violate the rules and get away with it.indb 91 4/18/11 12:36 PM . those beneath them expect to be looked after in various ways. especially in international relations. If the rules governing honor are consistently violated. Its purpose. and then twenty. Honor worlds are extremely competitive because standing. tempt actors to take short-cuts to attain it. Standing and honor are related concepts. which have been described by practitioners and theorists alike.Spirit. honor becomes a meaningless concept. Such hierarchies justify themselves with reference to the principle of fairness. there is a repetitive pattern. As we shall see. The quest for honor generates a proliferation of statuses or ranks. and the intensity of the competition for it. interest-based worlds. others do the same to avoid being disadvantaged. which is more unconstrained and possibly more violent.

and the indices used to measure it are all subject to challenge. who are expected to seek honor. They intensify conflict when they are ambiguous or incapable of establishing precedence.92  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow relative status of actors. and often most difficult. Societies that have responded to them positively Lindemann & Ringmar. External honor must be conferred by others and can only be gained through deeds regarded as honorable. at least initially. no rules. honor and status were achieved by holding various ceremonies. Honor societies tend to be highly stratified and can be likened to step pyramids. Honor only exists when recognized. Hamas and other groups that have sponsored suicide bombing have publicized the names of successful bombers. the principal distinction is between aristocrats. the principal gifts. This presupposes common values and traditions. As Homer knew. and no procedures for awarding and celebrating honor. there can be no consensus. Wealth is generally a necessary but insufficient condition for gaining honor. sponsor the ceremonies. The exclusiveness of many honor societies can become a major source of tension when individuals. the rules governing its attainment. Among the egalitarian Sioux. even institutions. classes. and encouraged young people to lionize them. For honor to be won and celebrated there must be a consensus about what it is. and the distinctions and obligations it confers. In the absence of common values.17 Recognition into the elite circle where one can compete for honor is the first. who cannot. Historically. honor worlds become more difficult to create and sustain. challenges of this kind have been resisted. As society becomes thinner. This is most likely to happen when there are multiple ways (ascribed and achieved) of gaining honor and office. birth and wealth are never fully synonymous.16 Such activity strengthens the sub-culture and may even give it wider appeal or support. This divide is often reinforced by distinctions in wealth. or obtain the education and social kills necessary to compete. fame not only requires heroic deeds but bards to sing about those deeds and people willing to listen and be impressed by them.indb 92 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Many. As in ancient Greece. and commoners. or as gifts from others because of the high regard in which brave warriors were held. honor can often be won within robust sub-cultures. or the low-born. honor societies are divided into two groups: those who are allowed to compete for honor and those who are not. afford the leisure. step in honor worlds. In many traditional honor societies. creating another source of social tension. how it is won and lost. as it generally is at the regional and international levels. This kind of dispute has particularly threatening consequences in international relations because there are no authorities capable of adjudicating among competing claims. paid stipends to their families. What is honorable. all of which involved providing feasts and gifts to those who attended. Even in thin societies. Actors frequently disagree about who deserves a particular status or office. the competition for honor and standing instantiates and strengthens the values of the society. could only be attained through successful military expeditions against enemy tribes. When society is robust. but by no means all. which allow many of the high-born to buy the military equipment. Horses and robes. The Greek word for fame (kleos) derives from the verb “to hear” (kluein). or political units demand and are refused entry into the circle in which it becomes possible to gain honor.

They will look for some way of asserting their claims and seeking revenge. who feel the most humiliation.indb 93 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Germany My account of Nazi Germany builds on my earlier analysis of German imperialism and the origins of World War I. which is now understood to offer an affirmative account of a just social order that can transcend the inequalities of master-slave relationships. lessening. and in some cases. gradually moved away from. Subordinate states lack this power and their leaders and populations learn to live with their lower status and more limited autonomy. leaders—and often peoples—of powerful states are likely to feel anger of the Aristotelian kind when they are denied entry into the system or recognition as a great power or are treated in a manner demeaning to their understanding of their status. Hegel made the struggle for recognition (Kampf um Anerkennung) a central concept of his Philosophy of Right. Slaves and subordinates cannot allow themselves to feel anger. Charles Taylor applied Hegel’s concept to the demands for recognition of minorities and other marginalized groups. all or in part. I use the term recognition to mean acceptance into the circle where it is possible to compete for honor.22 In the realm of international relations. and that we are profoundly affected by how we are recognized and mis-recognized by others.20 Fernando Cornil argues that subaltern states enjoy the trappings of sovereignty but often internalize the negative images of them held by the major powers. not weak ones. He argues that human recognition is a distinctive but largely neglected human good. more recently.21 I acknowledge the relationship between status and esteem but make a different argument. In chapter 6 of A Cultural Theory of International Relations. or belittlement.23 I believe we can profit from reintroducing the Greek dichotomy between those who were included in and excluded from the circle in which it was possible to achieve honor and Aristotle’s definition of anger.Spirit. Here. their warrior base. In terms of at least foreign policy. This can issue from an equal but provokes even more anger when it comes from an actor who lacks the standing to challenge or insult us.18 In a seminal essay published in 1992. Anger is a luxury that can only be felt by those in a position to seek revenge. it is powerful states.19 The political psychology of recognition has since been extended to international relations. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  93 have matured. Lindemann & Ringmar. where subordinate states are assumed to have low self-images and low self-esteem. Throughout A Cultural Theory of International Relations. Recognition carries with it the possibility of fulfillment of the spirit and differs from the use the term has come to assume in moral philosophy. Axel Honneth stresses the importance of avoiding master-slave relationships among states and. It is also senseless to feel anger toward those who cannot become aware of our anger. the relationship between recognition and morality at individual and social levels of interaction. Great powers will feel enraged if challenged by such states. I draw on Aristotle’s understanding of anger as a response to an olig˛ria: a slight. Both conceptualizations help to illuminate important social and political phenomena that would otherwise not be noticed or flagged as important.

The German middle class and intellectuals were predisposed to look to the state for unity. the economic crises of the early 1920s and 1930s and their consequences for the middle and working classes. Self-esteem was a key. and struggle in a showdown with the nation’s internal and external enemies. and ultimately lost support to both. The Nazi emphasis on the Volksgemeinschaft held out the promise of a higher purpose to be achieved through unity. On November 9. controversial. Catholics. What is relevant for my argument is that the majority of Germans perceived the Versailles settlement as punitive and humiliating and that this belief made it correspondingly more difficult for the Weimar Republic to build legitimacy.25 Historians also point to deeper causes. Allied advances on the Western front and German war-weariness led to mutinies and worker uprisings. paving the way for extra-parliamentary government and Hitler’s dictatorship. The German Empire came to an abrupt end in 1918 and was replaced by a republic that drew support from socialists. among them the schism between German and Western political thought. I offer an account that highlights the role of the spirit in understanding these events and to advance the claim that concern for self-esteem was not only an underlying cause of this conflagration but a necessary condition. They include the success of the right in hanging the hated Treaty of Versailles around its neck. alienation of the intellectuals. Hitler was particularly adept at playing on the desires of the middle class for self-esteem.26 German idealism encouraged deep respect. sacrifice. if not reverence. if frustrated.28 Hitler’s defiance of the Western powers and the Treaty of Versailles was widely popular with the middle classes. and some members of the middle class. Rather. a role that a querulous. purpose. socialist leader Philip Lindemann & Ringmar. and threatened republic could not possibly fulfill. In November 1918. who were his largest supporters at the polls. as well as political backing for it. a flawed constitution and bad leadership. for the state and the subordination of the individual to it. the partial feudalization of the German middle class. and the deflection outward of its strivings for self-esteem. This need became more acute after the humiliation of defeat in World War I and the imposition of what Germans widely regarded as the punitive Treaty of Versailles. weak. It was opposed by nationalists on the right and communists on the left. the growth of independent. British and American revisionists would support this German charge. and guidance. and the sense of a special German mission to which it gave rise in opposition to the more commercial and democratic values of France and Britain. while later revisionists would argue against the punitive nature of the treaty. and comparatively easier for its right-wing opponents to win support in the name of nationalism.27 I do not pretend to offer a comprehensive explanation for Hitler’s rise to power and Germany’s role in bringing about World War II. middle class fears of socialism. anti-Republican paramilitary forces.indb 94 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Historians have offered many reasons for the Weimar Republic’s failure.24 The commitment of the Junker aristocracy to preserve its power and way of life and the vicarious association of the middle class with the state provided reinforcing incentives for an aggressive foreign policy. ambition for the semi-feudalized German bourgeoisie.94  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow I emphasized the survival of pre-modern values among a powerful aristocracy.

Article 231. By all accounts. imposed on Bolshevik Russia by Germany in March 1918. or the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. northern Schleswig to Denmark. The draft treaty was in fact mild in comparison to either the September Program of 1914. It offers evidence of the kind of harsh terms Germany would have imposed on the Western powers if its 1918 offensive had succeeded in breaking Allied resistance. Hultschin to Czechoslovakia and parts of West Prussia. The German military deluded itself into believing that it would receive Allied backing for a drang nach Osten (march to the east) to St.32 Article 228 allowed Allies to indict and try people “for acts against the laws and customs of war. and Kaiser Wilhelm fled to Holland the next day.” Lindemann & Ringmar. Petersburg to overthrow the Bolshevik regime. Danzig. meeting in Paris. The Rhineland was to be demilitarized permanently. prepared by the German government in the expectation of victory over Belgium and France. which came into effect on November 11.” Almost across the political spectrum. The victorious Allied leaders.Spirit. the so-called “war guilt clause. It was a largely symbolic issue as the kaiser had taken refuge in Holland. and Posen and Upper Silesia to Poland. The latter forced Russia to cede or give independence to all of its western territories (Finland.000 men. Germans of all classes were stunned by the peace terms. despite strong sentiments for unification in both countries. Germany was forbidden from incorporating Austria. and Ukraine).30 The German reaction to the draft treaty is revealing in two respects. the Baltic provinces. the last imperial chancellor. the bulk of which was to go to Belgium and France to compensate them for damages caused by the war and four years of German occupation. having convinced themselves that Woodrow Wilson would compel a reluctant Britain and France to offer a generous peace based on the American president’s Fourteen Points. It had to accept responsibility for starting the war and assume the burden of reparations in an amount to be determined. The Allies gave the Germans fifteen days to submit objections and questions in French or English. The German army was reduced to 100. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  95 Scheidemann proclaimed a republic on the steps of the Reichstag. and Germany was required to give up all of its colonies and the land it had taken from Russia under the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. and Memel were put under the control of the League of Nations. Belarus.indb 95 4/18/11 12:36 PM . East Prussia was separated from West Prussia by a corridor of territory given to Poland to guarantee it access to the Baltic Sea. The first is the state of shock and denial that it provoked. summoned a German delegation to Versailles in May 1919 to receive a draft treaty. Germans opposed this demand as a matter of national pride. a deadline that was later extended by a week. hand over Eupen and Malmédy to Belgium.31 It is equally revealing that Germans gave evidence of being more upset by those articles of the treaty they considered offensive to their honor than by those inimical to their security or well-being. without any concern for the possible substance of the allegations. had opened negotiations with the Allies in October for an armistice. and severe restrictions were placed on its navy and air force.29 The treaty required Germany to return Alsace-Lorraine to France. The Saar. Prince Max of Baden. Germans on the whole failed to make this comparison and saw themselves as undeserving victims. Poland.

which made it more difficult to relinquish territory to them. The treaty controversy effectively foreclosed exposure and criticism of the ills of the former monarchical political system under the Republic. discussion of the ‘war-guilt lie’ which helped kindle German nationalism once again. word reached Paris that the German navy had scuttled its battle fleet in Scapa Flow. Americans.”33 With respect to territory. it “paved the way for the passionate. making the Republic vulnerable to charges by the right-wing nationalists that its socialist leaders were responsible for Germany’s humiliation.35 With respect to both reparations and territory. Even moderates rejected its terms and spoke about revenge. The German government had no choice but to accept the treaty. was willing to affirm the treaty on the sensible grounds that Germany had no choice but to make peace.indb 96 4/18/11 12:36 PM . an Independent Social Democrat.36 Hans Delbrück wrote in the Preußische Jahrbücher that “The day and hour will come when we will demand everything back.”37 Only one deputy. and British were furious and refused to consider any further revisions. and all parties save the independent socialists (USPD) condemned it.96  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow demanded reparations for allied and associated governments “as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies. The Allied reply played to Allied public opinion and excoriated the Germans for their wartime actions.” The German delegation summoned four experts with international reputations to draft a response. often demagogic. The draft treaty had awarded the territory outright to Poland. Harald von Riekhoff reasons that Germans respected France as an equal or superior power and thus more readily acquiesced in that loss than in the loss of territory. Marshal Ferdinand Foch drew up very public plans for an invasion of Germany. The German government sent representatives back to hold out the prospect of signing the treaty without its two most objectionable provisions concerning war guilt and war criminals. The same day. The document they submitted insisted that the question of war guilt could only be determined by a careful comparative analysis of the archives of all the warring powers. French prime minister Georges Clemenceau agreed to some changes.39 It deprived pro-Republican forces of what in other circumstances would have been Lindemann & Ringmar.34 This phenomenon offers more evidence for Aristotle’s understanding of anger as an emotion primarily aroused by slights from those we consider beneath us. the most important of which was a plebiscite to decide the political future of Upper Silesia. public opinion accommodated itself readily to the loss of Alsace-Lorraine but was least reconciled to ceding territory to Poland.38 The treaty became a central issue of Weimar politics. not appetite or fear. The Burgfrieden—the truce among parties at the outset of the First World War—had made criticism of pre-war diplomacy all but impossible during the war. They looked down on the Poles as their inferiors and had no respect for anything associated with them. while British prime minister David Lloyd George pleaded with the French to accept some revision of the treaty in the hope of reaching an accommodation. Prime Minister Scheidemann told the Reichstag that the treaty was unacceptable. the spirit. The French. appears to have dictated the German response. In the judgment of Wolfgang Mommsen.

the victim of Gustav Stresemann’s death and the stock market crash. and destroyed incriminating memoranda. The army and right-wing forces successfully propagated the fiction that the German army had not been defeated but stabbed in the back by socialists on the home front.”43 Pro-Republican parties—Social Democrats (SPD). edited. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  97 a powerful political tool. In a cover up that would continue into the 1960s. and the Zentrum— won over 70 percent of the vote in the first post-war national election in January 1919.Spirit. The grand coalition that attempted to govern lasted less than six months.”42 With a few exceptions.000 Germans.48 The determinists sensitize us to all the serious impediments that stood in the way of the success of the Republic. there was very little inclination on the part of the conservatives to cooperate with the socialists.46 Wolfgang Mommsen maintains that the collapse of Weimar was inevitable but the rise of Hitler to power was not. Erich Eyck makes a credible case that the synergism between the economic downturn and bad leadership brought Hitler to power. an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Republic. and cables and paid scholars and journalists at home and abroad to refute what it called “the war-guilt lie. and in the last years of Lindemann & Ringmar.41 The foreign ministry conspired with conservatives to propagate the fiction that Germany bore no responsibility for the war. coalesced into extra-legal armies and fought to suppress socialism in Berlin and further east and intimidate voters in plebiscites. 999 still know nothing of [our] war guilt. their base consisted of workers whose support waxed and waned as a function of the economic situation. In an early and still highly regarded history of the Weimar Republic. Hermann Hesse lamented to Thomas Mann that “of 1. Led by intellectuals. but unlikely to have carried out draconian measures against Jews.47 Henry Turner uses counterfactuals to make the case that Hitler’s survival during the First World War and a later automobile accident were both remarkable and that without Hitler. Weimar’s failure would likely have led to a conservative. authoritarian regime with revanchist goals in the east but no stomach for another continental war. The communists on the left opposed a constitutional bourgeois order. Frei Korps also participated in the Kapp Putsch of March 1920. the German historical profession was a willing participant in this “patriotic” self-censorship and self-delusion. even today. Democrats.45 Other historians emphasize the contingency of Nazi Germany.44 The inauspicious beginning of the Weimar Republic did not bode well for its survival. and some scholars see its demise as inevitable. and the pro-Republican parties did not have enough seats to cobble together a left-center coalition. The forces arrayed against the Republic were on both ends of the political continuum.indb 97 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and those who emphasize contingency alert us to the need to separate the fate of the Republic from the question of what kind of regime might have succeeded it. composed of former veterans. It would have been anti-Semitic. while shackling them with treaty terms arising from a war for which they were not responsible.49 By 1928.50 The nationalistconservative opposition was divided among several parties. especially in Silesia from 1920 to 1921. an entire department within the Wilhelmstraße cleansed. forged.40 Frei Korps. letters. hid. In 1930.

he made extreme demands. and in Germany more generally since the creation of the Reich in 1871. On instructions from Moscow. Hitler pandered to their shared illusion that they could “box him in” and exploit him for their own ends.51 Hindenburg could have used his emergency power to support a pro-Republican government but preferred to rule through a conservative fronde that excluded the socialists from power. Völkisch sentiment was also strong within the middle class and initially found expression as straightforward xenophobia but increasingly morphed into racial anti-Semitism under the influence of the Nazi Party.indb 98 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the Nazis won 38. as well. Analyses of party rolls and election data indicate that Hitler appealed not only to the lower middle class (Kleinbürgertum) but other middle class groups. was incapable of putting a break on this dynamic. resistance and compliance. but was willing to pull back when opposed and to push ahead when his opponents appeared weak or vacillated. He set in motion a chain of events that had an outcome very different from what he imagined.58 Success of National Socialism. which “vacillated between East and West.54 Imperialistic nationalism focused on territorial revisionism. Government had to be conducted by emergency decree. cooperation and revision. He rallied the middle class on the basis of his nationalism.56 Conservative authoritarianism was well established in Prussia under the Hohenzollers. a nationalist and romantic variant of socialism.59 Lindemann & Ringmar. It continued under the Republic and sustained a predisposition.53 According to Karl Dietrich Bracher. Above all else. industrialists. the nationalist. he displayed great flexibility.52 So did the Communists. making anti-Republican forces a majority in the Reichstag.”55 Revisionist demands were intense between 1918 and 1923 and again after the depression began in 1929. He did the same in his foreign policy. and supporters of a völkisch. but its combination with a romantic variant of socialism was relatively novel. race-based ideology. they made a fatal error in refusing to support the grand coalition. to support a strong leader. and President Hindenburg. at home and abroad. where he communicated willingness to negotiate while making threats. was very much the history of the fatal underestimation of Hitler by the army. opposition to socialists and Jews. conservative politicians.2 percent of the overall national vote. conservative authoritarianism. Hitler cleverly sold himself as the personification of all four orientations. and moderate parties on the right. and engaging in faits accomplis.98  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow the Republic. They welcomed the Nazi regime in the expectation that it would quickly fail and pave the way for a worker’s revolution. which shifted power to President Paul von Hindenburg and paved the way for the appointment of Hitler after the failure of the short-lived von Papen and Schleicher regimes. formerly directed toward the person of the Kaiser. and Weimar’s foreign policy. In July 1932. Zentrum. and promises of full employment. preparing for war. anti-Republican front was composed of people and groups representing four orientations: imperialistic nationalism. composed of the socialists. the National Socialists (Nazis) became by far the strongest of these parties. He won over conservative business and political elites by conveying the impression that he would serve as their pliant tool once in power.57 Nationalism had been actively encouraged under the empire. bankers.

and all without war. which contained in its 448 articles the most base violations ever accorded to nations and human beings. there was none of the enthusiasm for war that had been so visible in 1914.65 The twin humiliations of defeat and Versailles had been largely overcome. author of the most comprehensive study of Hitler’s speeches. hopes.”66 Hitler’s appeal extended well beyond those who thought of themselves as Nazis and included people who were critical of his domestic policies and ideology.67 Despite support for Hitler. the Nazis still received considerably less than half of the vote but more votes than any party had in the Weimar era. in particular by exploiting the deep-rooted resentments which the name ‘Versailles’ conjured up. and above party politics. incorruptible. Once the depression set in. and restore German rights. concludes that he “always enjoyed a particular talent. The spirit is easily angered by real or imagined slights and readily responds to opposition with hostility.63 Hitler’s foreign policy successes greatly increased his support. non-economic explanations for this baffling behavior. and the educated elite. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  99 Once in power. When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. Fully 95. and established protectorates over Bohemia and Moravia. there was very little support for war. The Hitler cult made some inroads among workers.6 percent of the vote. which vaunted the superiority of the Aryans over other races.64 His popularity soared because he “liberated” the Saar and Rhineland. Ian Kershaw. This process drives the action in Sophocles’s Ajax. and aggression of increasing numbers of ordinary Germans. and Fromm—turned to Freud to look for non-rational.69 Hitler’s racism. selfless.61 In 1928.” He wisely refrained from talking about his wider imperialist aims. Marcuse.68 Hitler’s rhetorical strategy and the basis of his support indicate the extent to which the spirit was central to his rise to power and subsequent popularity. brought Austria into the Reich and Memel and the Sudetenland as well.indb 99 4/18/11 12:36 PM .60 It stressed Hitler’s ability to transcend class divisions. restore growth and stability. Economic improvements and stability. some of which—Horkheimer. He was portrayed as personally unattached. the Nazis garnered a mere 2. where Lindemann & Ringmar. revitalize the economy.Spirit.” which encouraged his idolization among the middle classes. territory. I have given back to the Reich the provinces stolen from us in 1919. valued in their own right. As Hitler put it in a well-publicized speech of April 28. as they could not be achieved without a second world war. and dignity. 1939: “I have further attempted to tear up page for page that Treaty. this figure rose to 18. Catholics.1.1 percent of Germans supported his withdrawal of Germany from the League of Nations.62 The Nazis received enough working class support to shock and baffle the Marxists associated with the Institute for Social Research (the Frankfurt School). In the March 1933 elections held two months after Hitler took office. Most Germans desperately wanted to believe that peace could be maintained. were also portrayed as a means of restoring German dignity and self-esteem. for appealing to the populist national emotions. was also intended to enhance his listeners’ self-image and self-esteem. although the groups least receptive to his propaganda were the organized sections of the working class. Hitler and Goebbels propagated the “Führer myth. approaching demagogic genius.

74 Adam Ferguson stressed the importance of civil society as a means of opposing illegitimate state authority. Ajax seeks revenge against Odysseus. the decline of man as a zoon politikon. It heralds a turning away from the state.73 Montesquieu was the first to make the connection between the spirit of liberty and personal independence on the one hand and the emergence of civil society (l’ état civile) on the other. Paranoia of this kind is often associated with heroic actors and is particularly prevalent in societies with low self-esteem. and an upgrading of the appetite in response to the perceived social benefits of individual greed. the concept of civil society has been expanded to include a general strengthening of the rule of law and the development of voluntary associations not connected with commercial relations.72 The widespread success of conspiratorial theories under the empire and in Weimar is further evidence of the degree to which German politics were driven by the spirit. Rather than undermining order. and a system of contract law enforcement. Marx considered civil society another means by which the bourgeoisie could tighten its hold over society.indb 100 4/18/11 12:36 PM . he thought it had the potential to create a new form of public mores (mœurs) that could endow social relations with more consistency. These conspiracies also flourished in the Weimar period.71 The socialists and Jews—“November criminals”—were made responsible for defeat and the hated Treaty of Versailles. For a long time.78 Montesquieu and Tocqueville sought to adapt the spirit to modern society in the hope that it could act as an effective check on central authority and inspire politicians and civil servants to Lindemann & Ringmar.77 Civil society encourages citizens to find satisfaction in the commercial and private sphere and to indulge their appetites as they see fit. the Atridae clan. a commodity market. For all these reasons.75 Hegel redefined civil society (die bürgerliche Gesellschaft) to refer to an equality-based system of social relations among associations of people that was independent of the state and the family. Recognition and International Relations A key feature of the modern world is civil society. civil society was anathema to many conservative supporters of the ancien régime and regarded by radicals as at best a necessary evil.” 70 Publicists and anti-Semites charged England and France with plotting Germany’s encirclement and Jews and socialists of boring away from within. Convinced that he deserves it but that it was denied him by virtue of the hostility of others. the concept of societas civilis referred to the condition of living within a legal order that possessed sufficient force to guarantee its subjects security and good government.76 In our time. and the Greek army.100  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow the armor of the dead Achilles is awarded to Odysseus. Such paranoia was evident in the German Empire. His civil society is characterized by free labor. augmented by the new charge of a dolchstoss (stab in the back) made by Hindenburg to a parliamentary committee in 1919. which he thought to have first emerged in Europe in the seventeenth century. where Fritz Stern notes that visions of politics were “blurred by clouds of evil fantasy.

A critical development in this regard has been the increasing openness of many of these arenas to people of all class. Key to any transformation is discourses that define what actors consider to be legitimate and illegitimate. Their claims for status are based on honor and rest on the hope that international society has become more like domestic societies in that multiple hierarchies are possible and thick enough to allow honor to replace standing as the basis of influence. diplomatic service. mathematics. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  101 put aside their private interests in pursuit of projects that benefited the community as a whole. and the members of the European Union. was a significant barrier to those with talent but the wrong religious affiliations or genealogical antecedents. the United States. In Europe prior to the French Revolution. religious. and as remote an ideal a peaceful world appears. science. and it is based on military power. China. but even the most traditional elite hierarchies (that is. Condoleezza Rice. As conflictual and violent the current world is. Viewed in this light. France. like Canada. many of which. sports.indb 101 4/18/11 12:36 PM .79 Civil society not only legitimized the appetite as a drive. Recognition. law. the Soviet Union. while others led to renown in specialized or geographically restricted communities (for example. the creative and performing arts). A more serious challenge is now underway. spelunking. These challenges failed. and Tiger Woods are cases in point. and most of the powers in question subsequently sought and achieved standing on traditional military grounds. and racial backgrounds. offering opportunities for members of groups that have historically been at the bottom of the social ladder to rise to the top of these intensely competitive hierarchies. Such prejudice has not altogether disappeared in Western societies. there is nevertheless a more realistic Lindemann & Ringmar. it facilitated its partial blending with the spirit to the extent that wealth became not only a marker of standing but also a means of attaining it. in the form of admission into this elite. community service). claim standing on the basis of the multilateral nature of the foreign policies and how their wealth is used to benefit their citizens and those of less-developed countries. In contrast to societies in the developed world. Madeleine Albright. Beginning in the nineteenth century. Some of these routes led to national. spearheaded by a diverse group of countries. military. which in turn affect how states define their interests and ultimately their identities. even international fame (that is.Spirit. Changes in the criteria for standing encourage shifts in foreign policy behavior. Civil society provided new domains and opportunities for achieving honor and standing. making it at least theoretically possible for everyone to achieve self-esteem. The transformation of the international system is by no means preordained. only aristocrats were allowed to compete for standing and honor. there is still a single hierarchy of standing. This diversity gave rise to multiple hierarchies in which individuals of varying talents and interests could compete for honor and standing. and formerly aristocratic sports like tennis and golf ) began to open up. Colin Powell. but it is a distinct possibility. Henry Kissinger. Japan. revolutionary powers (that is. and Iran) have challenged the legitimacy of this hierarchy and claimed standing on ideological grounds. the international system is something of an atavism that still reflects the values of warrior societies.

41–76. Levitt 2006.000 to $3. Durkheim 1984. 9. Plessner 1959. Durkheim 2001. 19. 18. Konstan 2006. Troy—or Iraq—may ultimately become the tomb of heroes and heroism as understood by Homer and deeply embedded in Western culture ever since. 12. 1378b10–11. 10. Rich 1973. 8. See “The Versailles Treaty. Kershaw 1987. 191–198. chapter 7. reports that Hitler’s high point in support came after the fall of France and before his failure to conquer Britain or force it to sue for peace. Krieger 1957. Stern 1974. Hegel 1979. 29. 3. 37–55. MacMillan 2001. Weinberg 1970. Aristotle 2004. 2. 5. 13. Kershaw 1983.102  ✻  Richard Ned Lebow possibility than ever before of transforming the character of international relations to make it more closely resemble the more ordered and complex world of domestic societies. 213–218. 11. Hobbes 1991. Finley 1978.1.” Lindemann & Ringmar. 126. It is important not to lose sight of this possibility and for international relations theory to show us how such a world could come about. Honneth 1996. 17. 7. 16. 358.. Bb. 15. 14. Plato 1991. Ibid. preface. Hobbes 1996. 21. see Shotter 1989. report monthly stipends of $5. Ringer 1969.” pure in its inwardness and uncorrupted by modernity’s divisiveness. Fraser and Honneth 2003. Aycoberry 1981. 22. 26. 1379b10–12. 1384a22–28.indb 102 4/18/11 12:36 PM .000 to $5. 138024–29. 1. 178–196. Mosse 1964. Fest 1974. 219–22.000 to widows or families of those who have given their lives. 1970. 30. 23. Notes 1. Hobbes 1996. 25. 59–60. 168–178. Hassrick 1964. Mommsen 1996. Cc. 404. 24. Bracher. Dahrendorf 1967. Yates 2006. Lebow 2008. Taylor 1994. Aristotle 2004. 205–240.500 to prisoners of Israel and $2. Honneth 1997. 28. 112. on the German middle class. 6. Aristotle 2004. 1388a29–b30. 1383b15–1884a21. Durkheim 1984. 134. 296–309. on the anger provoked by slights from our inferiors. Hegel 1979. described the “authentic” romantic as a “beautiful soul. 387a31–33. For the development of the concept of the relational self. Lebow 2008. 27. 4. Eakin 1999. 151–68. 16–34. Plato 1989. 440c–441c. 25–74. Cornil 2000. 3–10. 133–51. 460–463. 20. 1–2. Aristotle 2004.

139–147. Hamerow 1966. 53. Geiss 1966. 314–317. 383. Bullock 1962. 115–149. Broszat 1987. 2. 77–118.Spirit. 221–243. Eyck 1967. 000. 47. Broszat 1987. 11–17. on the foreign office in the 1960s. 287–303. 37. chapters 1–4. Bracher 1970.indb 103 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Nipperdey 1968. Allen 1984. 55. 316–317. 159–179. 54. I. Mommsen 1996. 472. Mommsen 1996. 51. 14. Bracher 1970. I. 52. 1983. Schoenbaum 1966. 529–585. 1–51. 122. 94–115. Mommsen 1996. Schwabe 2006. 150–154. 21. Broszat 1987. Lentin 2006. 60. 10. 71. 1387a31–33. 50. 67. I. 41. Stöver 1996. Kershaw 1987. 363. Frei “People’s Community and War. 91. 47. 42. 105–106. Stern 1992. Dorpalen 1964. Recognition and Foreign Policy  ✻  103 31. 1–51. Dorpalen 1964. Kershaw 1987. 45. 369–370. 5–44. 301–446. Mommsen 1996. 239–263. Kershaw 1987. 68. chapters 3 and 4. 39. Kershaw 1987. 463–474. 37–68. 318–356. 43. 5. 32. 357–432. Mommsen 1996. Kershaw 1987. Heinemann 1983. Kershaw. Quoted in Herwig 1987. Broszat 1987. 449–487. Jay 1973. 87–110. Mommsen 1996. 56. Eyck 1967. Eyck 1967. 1379b10–12. 350–488. 358. 48. Kershaw 1987. Krüger 1994. Broszat 1987. Mommsen 1996. Mommsen 2006. Mommsen 1996. “Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Lindemann & Ringmar. Rohl 1973. 89–128. 59. xxxviii. Broszat 1987. Herwig 1987. I. I. Krieger 1957. 48. Aristotle 2004. Walzel 2007. 71–110. 46. Riekhoff 1971. Kershaw 1987. 34. Mommsen 1996. 494–495. Mommsen 1996. 15–16. 49. Stevenson 2006. 61. 69–90. on the political consequences of the Great Depression. viii. Broszat 1987. Bracher 1970. 63. 53. Puhle 1972. Schoenbaum 1966. Schwabe 2006. 70. Dorpalen 1964. on Hitler and labor. 62. Schoenbaum 1966. Mommsen 1996. 80–81. 51–52. 57. 456. 75–91. 64. 45. 456. Turner 1989. 119–158. 433–489.” 69. Childers 1983. Childers 1983. Eyck 1967. Mosse 1975. 120–139. 113–114. 58. 65. Quoted in Kershaw 1987. 494–495. 34. 66. 169–214. 35. MacMillan 2001. 21–36. Weinberg 1970. 36. 47. on Hitler’s successes. Kershaw 1983. 44. Mommsen 1996. 38. 357–432. 89–128. 535–537. Ibid. Weinberg 1970. 33. 256. 203–52.” see 1918 Documents. 535–537. Eyck 1967. 302–303. 40. 535–46. Mommsen 1996.

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Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 108 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

In tracing the historical trajectory of a state’s relative power in the system of leading states. massive uncertainty and an increasing sense of threat challenge policy-making. status. This existential interval is the critical point on the state power cycle. and security have been proven wrong. and security are no longer valid.1 History records those existential moments when governments suddenly discover that their long-standing expectations about future role. There is a time at which the nation-state suddenly becomes cognizant that a discontinuity with the past has occurred. for each moment in time. status.Chapter 6 World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory Recognition. the power cycle captures those critical moments when the structural tides of history suddenly pull the state on to a new.” and the “Trauma of Expectations Foregone” Charles F. the state’s clearly defined past and the likely trajectory of its yet-to-be-determined 109 Lindemann & Ringmar. that its prior assumptions about role. “Adjustment Delusions. uncertain course. This is the existential interval in which a government is vulnerable to entanglement in the most major wars.indb 109 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Doran There is a time at which the tides of history change. With the familiar foreign policy anchors in question. that its long anticipated place among countries has been irrevocably altered. The power cycle maps.

Everything hinges on those projections. it is the coordinate concept that amends realism. role is coequal with power in matters of statecraft. and it is deeply normative. role. role involves informally legitimized responsibilities and perquisites associated with the state’s “diplomatic place” in the system. It involves the practical reality of international political discourse.” The German experience provides unambiguous evidence that. More than status or place. and security. and the “incongruities” that followed European efforts to balance a state “so powerful and yet so restless. It then explores some puzzles associated with interpretation of the war and how recognition Lindemann & Ringmar.4 power cycle theory incorporates the concept of recognition as essential to the establishment and maintenance of foreign policy role. for the relative power and role so highly prized and contested are necessarily systemic. A role is legitimized when other actors “recognize” the role and declare it politically acceptable. Four chapters delve into the historical record to show “what statesmen saw” and “how they reacted” to the trauma of critical change between 1905 and 1914. jealously guard. In explaining the origins of World War I. foreign policy role indexes the state’s foreign policy behavior over time. and decides whether a state will be attributed role and status. which governments barter. it is distinct from power and in fact acts as a guide to the exercise of state power. It demonstrates the paradigm shift in understanding obtained in moving beyond a “balance of power” perspective to a “dynamic structural” perspective. whether it is sought after for counsel or is disregarded.110  ✻  Charles F. The projected trend embedded at each point in the cycle is the state’s expectation regarding its future power. which determines whether a state rises or declines. It reflects whether a state is a comparative leader or a follower. the balance of power operates against the need to adjust diplomatic role through political recognition. the “devastating illusions” that accompanied changes in European power cycles after 1885. From the power cycle perspective. This chapter first exposes the adjustment delusions that prevented recognition of Germany and helped precipitate WWI. abruptly proving those long-reinforced projections wrong.indb 110 4/18/11 12:36 PM .2 Germany’s crisis was a systemic crisis. While role is sensitive to incremental changes in power. and sometimes contest. whether it is a provider or a net beneficiary of security. whether it joins coalitions or remains comparatively isolated.3 An encompassing notion. amidst massive structural change. an aid-giver or a recipient. In arguing the details of power cycle theory. quite in contrast to both traditional and recent literature (focusing in turn on “war guilt” and German strategy). The system provides the norm. Imagine the sudden shock when the long prior trend of relative power change suddenly undergoes a complete shift. the book explains how “conflicting messages and disturbing surprises of relative versus absolute power growth” made Germany’s sudden turn into decline all the more traumatic and threatening. Doran future—revealing at each step how contemporaneous decision-makers perceive its likely future security and foreign policy standing. Recognition acknowledges that these role differences exist and that they count in world politics. as the quoted paragraph from my book Systems in Crisis reveals regarding the dilemma faced by Germany in the years prior to World War I.

This incongruity in its identity was a tragic legacy of the historical dynamic leading to World War I. Recognition was what Germany sought on the part of other governments and what these governments failed to give.” from the Latin recognitio. Germany’s institutional development was hollow. Germany struggled to find its identity in the context of increased role participation.indb 111 4/18/11 12:36 PM . enjoys a long tradition of usage both in domestic and international law as legal permission to be heard. mostly by Prussian power. I. The kaiser’s exaggerated rhetoric undoubtedly further fueled the flames of rivalry.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  111 assists in unraveling them. Germany’s weak sense of identity did not permit a reciprocal recognition of the legitimate concerns and claims of others. According to power cycle theory. the dynamic of foreign policy role captures the tragic interplay of realism and constructivism in the German sense of political identity. What was lacking in the German sense of its identity was an ability to coordinate diplomacy. Failing to be accorded a legitimate foreign policy role corresponding to its enhanced capabilities. if political recognition had been more aptly employed in the long prior interval of German rise. status. But for states that experience an ongoing identity crisis. This chapter thus speaks directly to the links between role. it explains the idea of dynamic international political equilibrium developed within power cycle theory. In Lindemann & Ringmar. As a result of long being denied appropriate recognition. The war might have been averted if other actions had been taken and. a mythic past and a Darwinian power impetus for a more moderate and lasting foreign policy role. Finally. As a “created” state. overwhelming more rational foundations of foreign policy conduct and state interests and thus seriously qualifying the realist foreign policy paradigm and its application. Its identity became increasingly composed of blut und eisen with no sensitivity to the prudent management of power relationships.5 Most states are not as convulsed in an identity crisis as was Germany for the century after 1850. Fed by a diet of social Darwinism. The two faces of recognition—the need to find acceptance of one’s own claims in the policy of others and willingness to abide the diplomatic claims of others in one’s own foreign policy—thus never matured or became fixed in the German sense of statecraft. Recognition in Power Cycle Theory: Concept and Application How does recognition become an issue in the factors accounting for the origin of WWI? The word “recognition. namely. but the failure of recognition channeled its identity in a pernicious direction. and symbolism in international relations. that the war was not inevitable. this preoccupation can drive foreign policy. identity.6 Machtpolitik captured the European imagination at the turn of the century and encouraged expression of identity through power and conquest. the chapter speculates about a counterfactual. Germany would substitute fantasy for international political reality. showing how recognition helps overcome some of the shortcomings of balance-of-power logic that led directly to the war outcome. and its late bow to democracy incomplete and ineffective. in particular. Concluding with a conjecture.

Doran domestic politics. and in particular. supported by balance-of-power thinking. But. transforming the leading industry and ultimately the entire economic.indb 112 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Japan. and Austria-Hungary relative to the central system (including Russia. Thus ever-widening power-role gaps opened up for Germany and its competitors not just because of Germany’s own surging growth but because of critical changes on the relative power trajectories of older members of the system with which Germany competed for role recognition. and hence geopolitical. map of Europe.8 In reaction to this intransigent role-deprivation. that such role adjustments to German rise were unnecessary. to be acknowledged by the other leading states as a juridical equal.7 In the context of the late nineteenth century. But the lag of German role was unusual because particular structural changes affecting its competitors (whose own absolute growth rates increased in the 1880s) reinforced their belief. recognition conveys the urgent desire of Germany to be taken seriously by the international community. the power of France. Role Deprivation. In the context of general international relations. That a corresponding increase in the German foreign policy role would lag behind its surging economic and military power was not unusual for a rising state. Wilhelmian Germany. Traditionally. as I will explain. Britain. Discovery of the Bessemer process and open-hearth steel furnaces enabled Germany to exploit its huge deposits of high-phosphoric ore. Germany’s superb science and engineering bolstered its industrial development more broadly. other states had to “move over” to accommodate a role for the newcomer. for a diplomatic “place in the sun” to recognize its status as a member of the “inner circle” of major powers. to gain acceptance of the notion that the German foreign policy role should enjoy incremental increase parallel to its rising power. their own improvement in rate of absolute growth led each to experience the “hopes and illusions” that their decline was abating. it was the formal acknowledgement of a claim. for acknowledgment of its economic and cultural achievements.112  ✻  Charles F. and the Shock of Structural Trend Shifts Germany in the nineteenth century rose faster and further on its cycle of relative power than any other state because of its ever strengthening technological and industrial base. governments do this with reluctance. as German chancellor Bethmann Hollweg wrote in his Memoiren: “A nation as large and capable as the German one cannot be restricted from free and peaceful development. For the German foreign policy role to increase. and eventually the United States) was in decline.”9 Lindemann & Ringmar. for example. To be sure. of the sovereign to be received by the people at a coronation. its meteoric rise meant an equivalent decline distributed among other European states. recognition contains more the meaning of acceptance or acknowledgment of having something worth hearing—of being entitled to consideration or to attention. This unusual structural situation exacerbated the lag in Germany’s role attainment and fed Germany’s hunger for political recognition. In relative terms.

World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  113 Thus not only did Germany have to contemplate the normal reluctance of states to make room for a newcomer. historically among Germany’s greatest rivals. and other countries had attained the benefits as first-comers) but also diplomatically regarding governance of the central system.13 Figure 1: Systemic Bounds on Relative Growth Lindemann & Ringmar. made-in-Europe gap in a highly nationalistic era. but also because they do not contemplate the possibility of “status competition” and “status dissonance” within such a hegemonic setting. The three states in severe relative decline. or by the associated status dissonance. not only because those hegemonic theories have no intrinsic conception of foreign policy role. The German power-role gap was an externally imposed. Belgium. refused to adjust any of their foreign policy role or diplomatic perquisites. this situation of power-role disparity is particularly problematic. Only from the power cycle perspective of critical structural change (the “shifting tides of history”) and power-role equilibrium can one fully understand how important “recognition” is to statecraft—and how its denial created a “severely disequilibrated system in crisis” that ended in world war.10 What most embittered Germany’s leaders was that Germany was expected to take a second-seat not only in the colonies (where Britain. No amount of “top-heavy distribution of capabilities” can alter the tension caused by these gaps.indb 113 4/18/11 12:36 PM . because every power cycle is impacted.12 The power cycle interpretation differs profoundly: power-role gaps that include status dissonance surface at each of the critical points and implicate all of the states in the system.11 For those who hold the hegemonic (unipolar) view that a single dominant state establishes rules of the system and maintains order through military preponderance. France.

indb 114 4/18/11 12:36 PM .Figure 2: Conflicting Messages Figure 3: Expectations Foregone: Resolving WWI “Puzzles of History” Figure 4: Power-Role Lag 114 Lindemann & Ringmar.

and of power and role. and data for the years 1815–1993.) Source: Conceptualized by Doran (1965. 1993). 1500–1993. In the hour of its greatest achievement in terms of absolute power growth. creating a particular Lindemann & Ringmar. Germany was driven on to unexpected paths by the “bounds of the system” (limited systemic shares.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  115 Figure 5: Dynamics of Changing Systems Structure 1500–1993 Legend: Each curve represents the state’s evolving Percent Share of Power in the Central System. the High Stakes of Role Deprivation Power cycle theory transforms understanding of the structural changes that fractured statecraft prior to World War I. Power cycle theory explains the dynamic of state rise and decline (changing systems structure) and how that dynamic affects government decisions about foreign policy conduct. The decline of the Venetian Empire in the 16th century is no depicted. undermining the thesis that Germany would have been “master of Europe” if it had not gone to war. The “principles of the power cycle” (Figure 1) explain how differential absolute growth sets the cycles in motion. The Trauma of Shifting Tides. updated 1981. Germany and all of Europe experienced the “trauma of expectations foregone” of a powerful state that remained severely role-deprived and recognition-denied (Figure 4). The accompanying figures represent schematically the dynamics that precipitated tragedy.indb 115 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 1989. which maps the structural trends of history as schematically represented in Figure 5. depicted in Figure 1). which made adjustment to structural change so difficult—first during the period of Germany’s uninterrupted rise in power and expectations for future role recognition and subsequently during the critical interval of 1914 when. The individual power cycles evolve as part of a “single dynamic” of state and system. (This representation stresses the “historical trends” in changing relative power and is not to be taken as a precise metric of the actual levels attained. based on estimations for the period 1500 to 1815. Power cycle theory exposes the conflicting messages (Figure 2) and disturbing surprises (Figure 3) in the evolution of the European power cycles between 1885 and 1914. suddenly pulled on to the path of relative decline.

they form expectations regarding the state’s future security and foreign policy role. “role deficit” for others). birth throes of a major power (the state’s rise on its cycle begins) 2. high intensity. This single dynamic encodes the perspective and concerns of statecraft in the trends. When decision-makers contemplate future change on a state power cycle.15 This “dilemma of peaceful change” is exacerbated by the natural inertia of role change. resulting in massive warfare. Each critical point on a power cycle creates a crisis of foreign policy expectations: 1. Doran nonlinear pattern of change (critical points where the prior trend is inverted) on each state’s relative power trajectory. increasing the sense of threat. As relative power declines. Systems transformation results when several leading states experience such high-stakes change on their power cycles in a rather short interval (as in 1885 to 1914). and surprises of critical changes on the state Lindemann & Ringmar. Adjustment must ultimately occur. one final critical point (such as Germany’s sudden turn into relative decline) makes the ever-growing strains between power and role internal to each state (such as Germany’s huge role deficit and Austria-Hungary’s overextension in the Balkans) ricochet throughout the system as states are forced to confront the power-role gaps amidst the trauma and uncertainty of the latest structural shift. making wars of large magnitude. and great duration much more likely than in normal periods of statecraft. where accelerating decline begins to decelerate) 5. where the rising state is pulled into decline) 4.116  ✻  Charles F. of the component state cycles. During the five systems transformations since Westphalia. and shifting trends. other governments refuse to adjust. hopes and illusions of the second wind (second inflection point. or the state postpones role gratification believing it can enhance its role more easily and on better terms with even higher power. shocks. Failure to adjust to structural change leads to ever-widening power-role gaps (“role surplus” for some. trauma of constrained ascendancy (first inflection point.indb 116 4/18/11 12:36 PM . marking the shift from ever-increasing to ever-decreasing rise) 3. trauma of expectations foregone (upper turning point. each of the major players saw its foreign policy and security outlook severely altered and at risk. allies demand security and elites want to retain role and prestige.14 Governments push and shove in these intervals of enormous uncertainty. Yet this inertia in adjustment can be perversely encouraged by the conflicting messages. As a state’s relative power increases. Such failure of role to adjust to power change creates a structural disequilibrium that goes to the heart of the capacity to act in foreign policy. throes of demise as a major power (low-point or exit from the system) Each critical point corresponds in the state’s experience to a time when the “tides of history” have shifted the trend of structural change in the international system. causing overextension for states that refuse to adapt. As critical changes cumulate. where the rules of the game are in flux and the stakes so high. But competition for power share creates powerful undercurrents that contour structural change via critical shifts in the trend on state power cycles.

The balance of power is inadequate as a solution to this “dilemma of peaceful change” because it considers only power.17 and power transition18 theories). power cycle theory proposes a dynamic equilibrium that matches strategies of opposition and balance or alternatively. in an interval of extreme structural change. Austria-Hungary. ignoring completely the high-stakes issues of role and recognition. Indeed. the game can no longer be played. recognition and status) that matches the capacity of states to carry out these functions. and Britain held foreign policy roles far in excess of their declining relative power. the shifting tides that restructured the system created the new power relations that will prevail in the new system. power cycle theory argues that war is not necessary for transformation from one international system to another. Causation goes from structural transformation. of adaptation and role recognition. to the war that ensued. but each also passed through a second inflection point on its power cycles marking a suddenly improved (lessened) rate of decline in relative Lindemann & Ringmar. to failure of systemic adjustment. It thus provides the foundation within power cycle theory for a dynamic equilibrium that must precede and complement the balancing process. to the trajectories of power change of potentially expansionist states (see part III of this chapter). the notion of recognition was distorted by the tragic application of the balance of power to offset the long-term rise of German power in lieu of role adjustment.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  117 power cycles. This invidious relationship between critical trend shifts and powerrole disequilibrium both encourages the use of balance-of-power logic and makes inevitable its tragic failure. especially in abnormal intervals of history where structural change is abrupt and massive.indb 117 4/18/11 12:36 PM . In contrast to other structural interpretations (hegemonic stability. For recognition to be helpful in international relations. that they need only apply the balance of power to offset Germany’s growing power? And why was that strategy flawed and doomed to failure? Power cycle theory argues that the organic rise and decline of states so twists and distorts the “chessboard” of balanceof-power logic that. For a system to endure. its use attempts to offset declining power and to halt rising power—resisting rather than adapting to the long-term structural changes. To ensure stability amidst structural change. it must establish a distribution of roles and responsibilities (hence. France. But in the decades preceding WWI. The theory conjectures that World War I could have been prevented.16 long cycle. The implication is clear: massive warfare can be avoided by a judicious adjustment of foreign policy roles and diplomatic recognition during the period of consistent rise (and decline) on the state power cycles—minimizing power-role disequilibrium——before the onset of critical change alters prior expectations and creates a crisis of failed adjustment. it must be based on a conception of statecraft that sees reality for what it is. Its use leads to a severely disequilibriated system that ultimately “erupts” to eliminate the ever-growing structural strains between power and role. Adjustment Delusions Prior to WWI Why did the critical structural change on each declining state’s power cycle lead them to believe they need not accommodate German rise with enhanced role.

The illusion from its improved circumstances is that it can restore its weakened capability by a new assertiveness. or why the war occurred when it Lindemann & Ringmar. Austria-Hungary. While its continuing relative decline indicates its weakened capability to carry out its existing foreign policy roles (and its vulnerability to challenge by stronger rivals). Recognition. The Timing of World War If Germany’s power-role gap and its hunger for political recognition help explain why WWI occurred. Germany bought into the Austro-Hungarian illusion wholeheartedly. Russia was an enthusiastic accomplice. Lacking was sound reasoning about how statecraft ought to respond to structural change. Doran power.indb 118 4/18/11 12:36 PM . It discards any motivation to mitigate its role surplus—to allow any transfer of status. by digging in its heels more resolutely. perquisites of diplomacy. when in fact Austria-Hungary was on the edge of collapse. The second-wind gave Austria-Hungary the illusion of being able to manage its internal empire and cope with the tumult of the Balkans alone. Power Cycle Theory. II. the “hopes and illusions of the second wind” creates a particularly egregious problem for statecraft. and Puzzles of  WWI The problem of recognition. viewed from the power cycle perspective. But the structural change that France. for it pulls the state into opposing directions. When these illusions combined with those Germany harbored—that it would continue to rise and that it could correct its role and status gap by the use of force—the prelude to WWI is not surprising.118  ✻  Charles F. For a state with a role surplus. The state thus acts ever more toughly in communication and negotiation in hopes that its relative decline will reverse. while Russia sought to puncture it. For recognition to be helpful in world affairs. The second inflection point signifies “the hopes and illusions of the second wind” analogous to a long-distance runner far behind in a race who suddenly experiences a surge and the illusion of possible victory. its sudden experience of improved circumstances (lessened rate of decline) makes it confident that it need not make concessions to other states in the system and. it must be founded on realism and a correct understanding of the dynamic of structural change. the dynamics of the power cycle incorporating the anxiety for political recognition explains the timing of WWI. Illusions of the second wind caused France and Britain to believe they did not need to engage Germany but could continue to try to isolate and encircle it. Each of the principal actors contributed to this fantasy. can be even more assertive in foreign policy matters. This hubris was especially trying with respect to Serbia. helps resolve several puzzles regarding World War I. and Britain “recognized” after the demise of Bismarck was founded on the illusion of the second-wind. indeed. or offers of engagement to its competitor for role attainment and recognition.

It contemplated the trauma of expectations forgone. The tides of history had shifted against it. So large were these increments that some historians believed Germany was capable of dominating the entire European system politically. to achieve ever-greater place in the system. the more they felt the constraints on relative growth.”19 These and other quotations from foreign office and the general staff reinforce the same message of German fear in security terms of its recently discovered declining relative power base. Chief of Staff von Moltke recognized this military and political dilemma. quite abruptly in 1914. This journey has also rectified many of my misconceptions about Russia reported by our superficial journalism. Caught between ever-rising absolute power and stagnating relative power.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  119 did. Then. as contemporaneous German government officials were shocked to discover. According to Riezler. The richness of natural resources and brute human strength are factors which we do not fear but which should not be overlooked. Germany was pressing against the “bounds of the system” and could not increase its relative power further. Germany found itself being pulled onto a declining trajectory. The more they tried to increase their place in the system. that German leaders had little doubt about its imminent relative decline even though its absolute power continued to skyrocket. Did Germany Know Its Power Had Peaked? How much did contemporaneous Germans recognize about their situation and their fate? Enough historical evidence has now accumulated. From the moment Germany confronted passage through the upper turning point on its power cycle. it became distraught about its foreign policy future. The problem was not its absolute power. the German foreign policy elite was traumatized. reaching a plateau it could not transcend despite its surging absolute growth. Sometime between 1905 and 1912. The future belongs to Russia which grows continually and imposes an ever worse nightmare upon us. 1914: “The Russian power is rapidly growing . . Awareness of this reality set off alarm bells in Berlin. Germany had grown into an extraordinarily prosperous and powerful nation in a few decades. but by 1914.20 Germany confronted the reality that Russia’s latent power base was much greater than Germany’s. was full of beautiful and great impressions. an advisor to Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. albeit too brief.indb 119 4/18/11 12:36 PM . which increased in larger and larger increments. its leaders realized that something had gone wrong with the German effort to excel. completely destroying Germany’s expectations regarding future security and a larger foreign policy role. at a sufficient level of seniority in government. In the critical interval at the German peak. In 1912. The timing of WWI was triggered by Germany’s passage through the upper turning point on its power cycle. the German chancellor reports from his Russian journey to a friend: My journey from Russia. Yet. the Chancellor said on July 20. . German relative power was no longer increasing. German power peaked. the massive political Lindemann & Ringmar.

and Gleichberechtigung.21 Unable to explain the European reaction to its rising power. but only as a defensive contingency plan.120  ✻  Charles F. and equality as a major power would never be attained. Uncertain about their status among nations. Other governments did not necessarily perceive this power-role gap. Germany thought that it was encircled militarily and that the British fleet would attack at its most vulnerable point in the Baltic Sea. and the danger they felt regarding these objectives—the growing fear that their prestige. Lindemann & Ringmar. Germany sought objectives in international politics that had been unleashed inside the German Principalities by the French Revolution.” The word Gefahr means “danger”—the danger Germans felt regarding their security in the face of both encirclement and Russia’s rise. a fear Steinberg dubbed the Copenhagen Complex. In their obsession with security. they had every reason to believe they would face malice and aggression when in decline. equality of rights. recognition. Anerkennung. The British navy did have exactly such a plan. much less acknowledge that it was problematic. indeed more forbidding. But Germans also feared a surprise British naval attack.indb 120 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Anerkennung. As Rudolf Stadelmann argued in 1948. They wanted “Geltung. Gleichberechtigung—and Gefahr Looking at the German objectives in 1914. the German Gefahr is seen to be neither incomprehensible nor self-delusional. German government officials could not think clearly about their future. but that took on a larger and more earnest connotation when applied to the international system by an ever more powerful Germany. Gleichberechtigung”—are “prestige. Denied recognition of their place in the past. Lack of recognition on the upside of the power curve convinced the Germans that the downside would be even less welcoming. “What a strange and incomprehensible self-delusion lay in this word Gefahr!”22 Of what or of whom was Germany fearful? Why did it believe its security and foreign policy role were endangered if it was the most powerful state in Europe? What would it take to erase this sense of danger that so permeated the German consciousness? When one contemplates the conflicting messages of Germany’s huge level of absolute power and undiminished economic dynamism on the one hand.” but Europe was not about to recognize any of these emotionally charged characterizations. and its counterintuitive peak in relative power growth on the other. Germany felt that it was being denied these objectives even though they had been “earned” by its growth in relative power. Geltung. Doran uncertainty was equaled only by fears about future realities. the Germans could not distinguish a contingency plan from an offensive military doctrine. and even though the over-extended declining powers were no longer capable of maintaining the roles of the past. Loosely translated from the German. the greatly desired objectives—“Geltung. The notion of Gefahr has also puzzled historians. Anerkennung. they doubted that other governments would treat them fairly. recognition. American historian Jonathan Steinberg was puzzled as to what the Germans wanted.

a war to prevent its own decline as well as preserve its security. But it did not do so for the “preventive war” motivation conceived in recent scholarship. Lindemann & Ringmar. how could Germany expect France not to honor its alliance with Russia. Given the kind of war the German military leadership thought it faced. once convinced that war was inevitable. it certainly sought to defeat Russia and prevent its own capitulation. Germany’s worst fears would be realized—fighting a two-front war. it fudged the diplomatic transmission to Russia regarding Serbia to try to place the blame for starting the war on Russia. Each state threatened to use force against the others to forestall aggression against itself. economically. already certain of its own inevitable relative decline and desperate to escape what it thought was encirclement and the supposedly aggressive intent of its opponents. when Germany finally decided that war was inevitable. But there are many problems with the “preventive war” notion applied to any of the belligerents in 1914. Germany worried that the next war could not be ended easily. From the days of the elder von Moltke. Where is evidence that Germany thought it could so defeat Russia as to end permanently the prospect of political domination by Russia? The most its military leaders could promise in their wildest optimism was a decade or so to regroup. would not be as short as in mid-nineteenth century.” and thus would require Germany to strike first to prevail against superior numbers. each government. especially if Germany came close to defeating Russia? If France entered the war.indb 121 4/18/11 12:36 PM . each government proceeded as though it was waging a preventive war. There is also abundant evidence that Germany feared Russia in just these terms and worried that eventually Russia would come to dominate Germany politically. would involve the “cult of the offensive.23 But how plausible is the argument? From one perspective. Thus. naturally sought to prevent its opponents from winning and becoming dominant. and militarily. Given the historical context of Machpolitik. might Germany have instigated WWI as a “preventive war” to forestall its decline and Russia’s rise? Some contemporary scholars find this explanation appealing. Such a “cult of the offensive” appears more a best means of defense against aggression than aggressive intent to dominate. its costs and duration.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  121 Was WWI a “Preventive War”? Machtpolitik is a brutal application of force to politics that all the major powers practiced at the end of the nineteenth century. How could it carry out a “preventive war” against Russia if it had to protect its flank against France? And if France were in danger of defeat. would have led it to take such risks by embarking on a war with so little true prospects. how likely was Germany to avoid a naval blockade by Britain or even active military engagement on land? Once Germany decided that war was inevitable. If the war were prompted by cold calculation intending to defeat Russia before Russia could dominate Germany. would a rational actor believe that a preventive war against such an adversary as Russia was an acceptable bargain? Only the non-rational response of a government caught in a crisis interval. From that perspective.

So a problem of causation exists when war aims are used to explain how the war began.26 The best antidote to transferring Nazi ideology into Wilhelmian minds is to consider the strategic context of WWI. and Italy were colluding at its expense. aborted strategies. the costs so far outweigh the possible benefits that the risks are unacceptable to a decision-maker with enough information to act rationally in an environment adequately subject to control. in their musings. such an interpretation is perhaps unsurprising. Did Germany Plan a War in 1914 to Dominate All of Europe? Most of the war aims were formulated after the war had begun to justify to the German public the sacrifices being made on the battlefield. If Germany’s plan was to become the “master of Europe” in 1914. Russia. Lindemann & Ringmar. But as the German historian Ludwig Dehio observed. In an age when the notion of hegemony is loosely appropriated by scholars and practitioners. If German leaders planned to try to dominate all of Europe. they were far more realistic than their Nazi successors about the negative prospects. ­Russia. surely the weakest member of the central system.24 Another problem is that those in the government who had doubts were silenced. Even if. and after the war. confused signals from opponents. That these allied war aims were agreed to by secret treaty before the war only reinforced the German suspicions that France. “we ourselves” had no desire. Britain. but once war occurred. they occasionally pondered implications of such an outcome. The inflexible military contingency plans of the belligerents did not predestine war. looked remarkably similar in form and content to the German war aims. Only miscalculation. to try to dominate Europe militarily. Bethmann Hollweg resisted announcing war aims publicly. in terms of territorial transfer. the kaiser. militarists claimed that the military was “stabbed in the back” during the war by subversives who had doubts about the war and did not have Germany’s interests at heart. Moreover.indb 122 4/18/11 12:36 PM . no plan. and von Moltke had these objectives in mind as they engaged Russia. they surely made war more intense. Doran A problem with the preventive war hypothesis is that in big wars against big opponents. and desperation—all made within the context of huge uncertainty and conflicting messages created by the abrupt shift in future expectations engendered by Germany’s turn into relative decline—can explain how each of the belligerents slipped toward war in the weeks prior to the Russian mobilization.25 A particular danger of historiography regarding WWI and WWII is transposing Hitler’s motives and strategy on to Wilhelmian Germany. oversimplifying and distorting history. why were they so filled with angst over the prospect that the Russians would overwhelm them by 1917? Who was to be dominating whom? It is a very long step from arguing that Russia was capable of subjecting Germany to domination to the contrary view that Germany would have the capacity and purpose to dominate not just Russia militarily but all of Europe. reflecting on his informed experience of  WWI. That Hitler wanted to dominate all of Europe militarily (albeit step-by-step) does not mean that Bethman Hollweg. each of the allies had war aims that.122  ✻  Charles F.

a crisis in which it did not know what to believe. the struggle to act rationally was overwhelmed by the sudden and ineluctable inversion of prior expectations regarding high stakes in the midst of enormous uncertainty. Dynamic Equilibrium. and even bourgeois society.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  123 should not have been much of a challenge militarily. Rather. In 1914. Its failure to decide whether Britain would enter the war. III. . I first explain how its absence from the practice of the balance of power in the context of a rapidly changing system led to a monumental failure of the balance mechanism. and with the criteria for “rational choice” no longer present. Many of the European statesmen . political uncertainty was gargantuan. they say themselves confronted with decisions about the next step. .”30 In other words. or France. either against Russia. The reality is that the German government found itself in a critical interval of history. given the stakes for Germany. and allowed its contingency plans to do much of its thinking (such as the ill-fated Schlieffen Plan to avoid a two-front war by quickly defeating France before Russia could mobilize).27 It helplessly allowed history to unfold in its alliance with Austria. Another was Germany’s alternating strategic conception of how it would deploy its armies. . without adequate forethought or control. the conditions that had long guided rational foreign policy strategy were no longer valid. and if so. Its failure to decide whether it would face a two-front war was a brazen example of strategic contradiction. they did not think they were in a position to act upon these long-term forebodings. amounted to more than tactical indecision. and nothing seemed to make any sense. I then develop the Lindemann & Ringmar. It did not decide because it could not. the substantive outcome may be so distorted that one should refer to it as irrational. since “mastery” would also involve defeating the more powerful France and Britain. dynasties. In this abnormal interval of critical structural change in which Germany was torn between the conflicting perceptions of surging absolute growth but declining relative power. .indb 123 4/18/11 12:36 PM . In such a critical interval. claimed to understand that such long-term stakes were involved . Recognition. “strategy” is likely to be flawed—a condition I call “non-rationality.”28 Charles Maier explains how decisionmakers prior to the war’s outbreak believed that each step was a “rational” choice as the sequence of events unfolded: From one point of view the war was “irrational. where and when. changed its strategic mind repeatedly. its thirst for recognition went un-slaked.29 Joseph Nye concludes: “Although each step may be rational in a procedural sense of relating means to ends.” risking national unity. and Stability To show how recognition fits into the framework for stability. or both. any clearly thought-out plan for military domination of Europe was very far from the German strategic mind.

But neither traditional nor Bismarckian balance could deal with the structural changes straining the system. Britain practiced a slightly different tactical version of the balance of power than did the Continentals.124  ✻  Charles F. They too were concerned that the balance should remain in balance. Germany under Bismarck was part of the dominant coalition. Because of its island status. Bismarck maintained the balance for twenty years by applying a peculiarly complex balance-of-power arrangement. Moreover. While the balance of power is crucial to the understanding of world politics and probably has helped preserve the territorial security of many states since the origin of the modern state system.indb 124 4/18/11 12:36 PM . thus bolstering the weaker coalition so as to “maintain the balance” and prevent aggression by any member of the dominant coalition. the British foreign secretary at the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The logic was coherent. Continental states were often contiguous. thus preserving first their own security and secondarily the peace. Bismarck recognized that he could successfully maintain the balance if he could tie up any two of the five members of the system in an alliance. Balance of Power Confronts State Rise and Decline Maintenance of world order in the nineteenth century depended on proper use of the balance of power by all of the states. Castlereagh. navy. Germany’s days of territorial expansion were over. Doran concept of dynamic international political equilibrium and demonstrate what part recognition must play in the operation of that equilibrium.” and Britain became known as “the holder of the balance. balancing to maintain the status quo enabled the actors to postpone giving attention to the growing imbalance between power and role throughout the system. no other actor or pair of actors was likely to challenge the status quo militarily. Indeed. a decade later. And yet the balance “balanced” because Bismarck had a vision of stability for Europe that would allow Germany to mature and prosper. the German-born architect of Austrian foreign policy. but sometimes their foreign policy interests got in the way of the larger balance-of-power vision. By its allying with any two actors in the central system. Assertions that Britain alone practiced the balance or had superior intuition in effectively implementing it are mistaken. it was designed for normal intervals of statecraft when Lindemann & Ringmar. and abhorrence of a land war on the Continent. This tactical version of maintaining balance stood the notion on its head: instead of balancing the dominant coalition. They tended to leave one coalition or to join another as they saw their interests impacted. was no greater practitioner of the art of balance than was Metternich. colonies. But after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871.”32 The only difference in tactical implementation of the balance of power for the Continentals was that they were usually already a member of either a dominant or an inferior coalition. In Bismarck’s view. the “natural limits” had been reached. complicating the task of shifting the balance without upsetting a security-conscious neighbor. but the overall strategic vision was exactly the same. Britain threw its weight against any dominant coalition that formed on the Continent.31 Over time this tactical approach to the balance of power came to be known as “off-shore balancing.

World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  125 structural change is minimal. notwithstanding its colonial expansion by the 1870s. To do so required understanding the dynamics of the power cycle and the fundamentals of recognition. Europe denied Germany recognition of its achievements and a constructive foreign policy role and did so repeatedly and in a fashion that led Germany to identify force as the means to attainment. Germany was a rising state throughout the latter two-thirds of the nineteenth century. they in effect created a noose into which. In short. Britain began its relative descent by midcentury. The flat chessboard of statecraft is twisted and torn. the balance of power sends off the wrong signals. and Russia observed the balance of power meticulously. but only if the shortcomings of the balance of power during a period of systems transformation could be avoided. Several states passed through critical points on their power cycles where everything changed in structural terms for state and system. International Political Equilibrium: How WWI Could Have Been Averted According to power cycle theory. before its belligerence became too difficult to manage. France had been in relative decline since the middle of the prior century. and WWI WWI might have been averted. But for Europe after 1885. By waiting until 1912 or so to offer Germany some palliatives (such as the Haldane visit to Berlin to alleviate concerns about British naval intentions). laying down their own arms. they had waited too long. The thunderheads of war were already on the horizon. Recognition meant treating Germany as a cultural and political equal. or adopting pacifist postures. Germany too readily inserted its own neck. All of these states insisted on their perquisites and place in terms of statecraft. as the Kaiser recognized by late summer of 1914. in a dynamic interval of systems transformation. Uncertainty is at a maximum when the tides of history suddenly shift.indb 125 4/18/11 12:36 PM .33 These are the dual impulses of the balance of power that. structural change was rampant. are bound not only Lindemann & Ringmar. Austria-Hungary’s relative decline was so far advanced. because of the disintegration of its internal empire and its laggard industrialization. they sought to encircle and restrain it. Instead of engaging Germany early. the Balance of Power. France. Conventional diplomatic strategy fails. that by the eve of WWI. rising power cannot be constrained and declining power cannot be artificially bolstered. Instead of allowing a rising state to attain diplomatic status and recognition. becoming part of the problem rather than the solution. Britain. it had virtually dropped out of the central system. elbowing Germany out of the colonial regions and excluding it from equal status in the central European system. In these transformed intervals of statecraft. Germany relied too heavily on Austria for order-maintenance responsibilities in the Balkans that were entirely beyond its capacities. Recognition. Recognition of German economic and military achievement did not mean giving up territory to Germany.

the other major powers must balance and oppose its claims to greater role as well as its aggression. But they failed to recognize that the structural situation in the last decades of the nineteenth century was entirely different from the structural situation between the wars. The correct strategy for a declining Germany under Hitler was to demonstrate early that expansion was illegitimate and that it would not work. helping bolster territorial security. the other powers in the system must learn to adapt to rising power. Instead. Like many historical treatments today. the architects of world order fueled Hitler’s aggression.indb 126 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Conversely. Doran to fail but to exacerbate the tensions in the international political climate of the period. recognition establishes which roles are considered legitimate within a stable world order. By trying to undo the mistakes of the earlier period with inappropriate role adjustments in the latter. Power cycle theory elucidates these two tragic historical lessons. But if denied or wrongly used. the actions of Britain. True. or brooding about a deal between dictators (Soviet Union). and the United States from 1937 to 1939 signaled to Hitler that they did not care whether he canceled the neutrality of the Rhineland.126  ✻  Charles F.34 They must engage the newcomer and bind it into a series of coalitions that both give it a sense of security and at the same time guarantee the security of its neighbors. provokes the tragedy of world war. in periods of high uncertainty and insecurity such as the 1890 to 1914 interval. By attempting to appease such a power. The correct strategy was to respond to a rising Germany with deference and engagement. they conflated Wilhelmian Germany and Nazi Germany as well as the structural settings. Among the possible leadership roles a state may assume. recognition can enhance the prospects for peace while. Wisely used. they were reeling from the prior war (France and Britain).” and to relieve the structural disequilibrium. seeking isolation (United States). the urgent demand for redress of this sense of “injustice. A state whose relative power is declining no longer can make claims on the system for a larger foreign policy role. While preserving their own security and the means to that security. and when expectations long deferred suddenly are foreclosed. WWII showed that states ignore the balance of power at their period and that illegitimate interests must never be appeased. Unfortunately. intimidated Austria. adapting to its thirst for recognition with ascription of legitimate roles. They attempted to use the medicine appropriate for the earlier period as a prescription for the ills of the latter. the other members of the system only invited aggression. They were also trying to unlearn mistakes made prior to 1914 that had caused Germany’s outburst in WWI. The bounds of the system constrain relative growth and future role opportunity. in conjunction with a proper use of defensive capability. WWI showed that states ignore power-role equilibrium at their peril and that rising power cannot be halted. whether in ­ignorance or in Lindemann & Ringmar. France. those states attempting to promote world order must acknowledge the need of a rising power to be recognized for its achievements and accepted for its positive contributions. Recognition is an important instrument in the toolkit of decision-makers contemplating appropriate and viable adjustment to structural change. when a potentially disruptive state is in significant relative decline as was Hitler’s Germany. or violated the sovereignty of the Czech state. Russia.

I am grateful to Thomas Lindemann for this reference. 6. Lieber 2007. 22. claims that status competition and status dissonance can become possible causes of war only when a unipolar system moves into a system he characterizes as balanced. 11. Wendt 1999. Sagan 1986. On the nature of the concept of “foreign policy role” as established in power cycle theory. 224–226. 371–401. Status dissonance without unipolarity is central in Midlarsky 1975. 21. Kagan 1995. 134–140. Doran 1991. 14–15. 28–38. Fischer 1967. 14. Doran 1991. Wohlforth 1999. and of France under Napoleon.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  127 defiance of structural change. Ibid. 24. see Doran 1991. Doran 1971. Zuber 1999. The first published account of the theory (Doran 1971) examined the failed hegemonic attempts of the Spanish Habsburgs under Philip II. Ritter 1956. 79–100. 104–107. 12. 28–57. Quoted in Lindemann 2001. 26. 18. Steinberg 1966.. Doran 1991. 3. Murray provides evidence of this gap in her contribution to this volume. Williamson and May 2007. Zuber 2002. 25. 42. of France under Louis XIV. 2. including the essentials of its application to WWI. Trachtenberg 1990. Hamilton and Herwig 2004. 264. Geiss 1967.indb 127 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Evera 1985. 155–191. This thesis should not be confused with claims that France and Russia started the war. A compact presentation. see Albertini 1952–1957. 16. Lindemann 2001. Schweller 2008. Lindemann & Ringmar. 20. Wohlforth 2009. and the contribution to this volume. This analysis of World War I from the power cycle perspective draws heavily on the author’s detailed theoretical and historical assessment (Doran 1991). 10. Fischer 1967. Organski and Kugler 1980. Doran 2003. Honneth 1999. 93. 30–33. Kissinger 1994. Doran 2003. 27. Hamilton and Herwig 2004. Snyder and Jervis 1999. 13–50. 25–32. Levy 1990/91. Gilpin 1981. 15.. Trachtenberg 1990/91. Copeland 2000. Modelski 1978. is Doran 2003. For early debates. Feldman 1967. Stadelmann 1948. critique by Mombauer 2005. Honneth 1996. 17. Doran 1989. 5. 13. 4. Thomson 1988. 8. 19. 7. 2–3. 9. any of these instruments of adaptation will disappoint the purported peacemaker. Ibid. 23. Notes 1. Dehio [1948] 1962. which could be true only in a very narrow technical sense affected by mobilization times.

Herwig. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Doran 28. Bibliography Albertini. See Doran 1991. Doran 2000. Immanuel. 1995. The requirements and strategies for adaptation and adjustment are articulated in Doran 1991. For a traditional view of the balance of power. “The Power Cycle and Peaceful Change: Assimilation. 34. 1914–1917. 29. Hamilton. Jaffe. ———. and Conflict Resolution. 1989. (1948) 1962. “Why Cooperation Failed in 1914. 40–43. 1981. Competition. Gerald D. Charles F. Doran 2003. 1991.128  ✻  Charles F. 32..” Journal of Conflict Resolution 33 (3): 371–401. Nye 1988. W. Doran 1995. The Precarious Balance: Four Centuries of the European Power Struggle. Ikenberry 2002. 2000. Origins of the War of 1914. Mechanisms. 182–186. and the Power Cycle: Challenges for Research Design. Lindemann & Ringmar. German Imperialism. Fritz. edited by John A. and Statecraft. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fischer. 1914–1918: The Development of a Historical Debate. The Origins of Major War. Doran 1991. Copeland. Levy and Thompson 2005. Sanford M. Germany’s Aims In The First World War. Norton. 2003. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Gilpin. DC. 31. ———. New York: Vintage Books. 2004.” In Beyond Confrontation: Learning Conflict Resolution in the PostCold War Era. See also the discussion of non-rationality by Ringmar in the introduction to this volume. 1–33.’” Washington. see Mearsheimer 2001. Decisions For War. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. “Systemic Disequilibrium. Maier 1988. 1967. ———. “Economics. War and Change in World Politics. 3 Volumes. James Turner Johnson. 1952.” World Politics 38 (1): 80–117. 169–171. 33. Evera. 30. ed. and Linda Stamato. 2000. Robert. Dehio. Feldman. “Modes. Ludwig. Politics of Assimilation: Hegemony and Its Aftermath. 2004. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Paul et al. Philosophy of History. and Holger H. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Vasquez.” International Political Science Review 1 (1): 35–61. New York: Scribner. ———. 26. “The Rationality of ‘Nonrationality’ in the Power Cycle Theory of Major War: Confronting the Principles of the ‘Single Dynamic. New York: W. Doran. Systems in Crisis: New Imperatives of High Politics at Century’s End. 144–151. 1967. 1980. Equilibrium.” International Political Science Review 24 (1): 13–50. Geiss. Luigi. New York: Cambridge University Press. Foreign Policy Role. July 14: The Outbreak of the First World War. Richard F. and Turning Points: Perspectives on the Analysis of the Transformation of the International System. 1971.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ———. Stephen Van. 1985. distinguish maritime from land-based efforts to balance. and the ‘Single Dynamic’ of Power Cycle Theory: Expectations.indb 128 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 37–38. ———. 588. 1967. Dale C.

Randall L. Schweller. edited by Walter Laqueur and George L.” International Security 32 (2): 155–191. “The Meaning of Mobilization in 1914.” International Security 15 (3). Donald.” In Civil Wars. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. 1980.” International Security 11 (2): 151–175. “Old Wars and Future Wars: Causation and Prevention. Manus I. and Choices in July 1914. Les doctrines darwiniennes et la guerre de 1914.. A. Stanford: Stanford University Press. “Hegemonic Threats and Great Power Balancing in Europe. 2002. New York: Columbia University Press. edited by Barbara F. 1999. Thomas. 1999. 1978. Trachtenberg. Jonathan. John. Wendt. Lindemann & Ringmar. 1st ed. Lindemann.” International Security 15 (3). 1996. and Michel Fortmann. Charles. “Wargames: 1914–1919. 1988. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. 1956. Diplomacy: The History of Diplomacy and the Balance of Power.” Security Studies 14: 1–33. 1966. Steinberg. Social Theory of International Politics. G. 2001. Levy. Midlarsky. New York: Harper & Row. Paul. The Struggle for Recognition. W. Nye. Jack. 1495–1999. 1990. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2005. 1994. Mombauer. Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War. Walter and Jack Snyder.World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory  ✻  129 Honneth.” In 1914: The Coming of the First World War. T. 1948. New York: Praeger. America Unrivaled: The Future of the Balance of Power. Kissinger. 1986. Thompson. Snyder.” In Deutschland und Westeuropa. “Preferences. ed. Gerhard. 15–37. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Illustrated edition. New York: Doubleday.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18 (4): 581–590. Modelski. 1988. 2004. The War Ledger. K. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Unanswered Threats: Political Constraints on the Balance of Power. Wurttemberg: Laupheim. “The Copenhagen Complex. Rudolf. Levy. Sagan. The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth. Henry A. Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century. Joseph S. 2007. Mosse. Lieber. 2008. 1990. William. Organski. Kagan. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Norton. James Wirtz. New York: W. Annika. Marc.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 20(2): 214–235. 1995. George. On War: Political Violence in the International System. On Global War. Scott D. Maier. 2005. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. and Intervention. 1975. Axel. 1988. Alexander. Stadelmann. John J. Insecurity. F. and Robert Jervis.indb 129 4/18/11 12:36 PM . London: MIT Press. Mearsheimer. “The New History of World War I and What It Means for International Relations Theory. and William R. New York: Free Press. Paris: Economica. Thompson. eds. Ikenberry. “The Long Cycle of Global Politics and the Nation-State. Constraints. Ritter. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Keir A. and Instability.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18 (4). “Die Epoche der deutsch-englischen Flottenrivalität. V. “1914 Revisited: Allies. Jack S. “Civil War and the Security Dilemma. Jack S... 2001. and Jasek Kugler. Offense.

Lindemann & Ringmar.” Journal of Modern History 79 (2): 335–387. and Ernest R. Inventing the Schlieffen Plan: German War Planning 1871–1914. May.” International Security 24 (1): 5–41. William. “Unipolarity. ———. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Doran Williamson. Samuel R.” War in History 6 (3).130  ✻  Charles F.. 1999. 2009.” World Politics 61 (1): 28–57. Terence. 2007. Status Competition. “The Schlieffen Plan Reconsidered. Wohlforth. Zuber. 1999. “An Identity of Opinion: Historians and July 1914. and Great Power War.indb 130 4/18/11 12:36 PM . ———. 2002. “The Stability of a Unipolar World.

The security dilemma explains how states with fundamentally compatible goals.”2 That is. helping to inspire the principal concept in structural realist theory: the security dilemma. to declare war.Chapter 7 Recognition. it is the duty of the State to demand satisfaction. This happens when the power a state acquires for security can “render others more insecure and compel them to prepare for the worst.3 These states respond in kind with military buildups of their own. —Heinrich von Treitschke 1 The origins of the First World War have played an important role in the development of international relations theory. for the State must strain every nerve to preserve for itself the respect which it enjoys in the state system. and the Struggle for Morocco Rethinking Imperial Germany’s Security Dilemma Michelle Murray If the flag of the state is insulted. The central insight of security dilemma theory is that states pursuing nothing more than security and self-defense can end 131 Lindemann & Ringmar. nevertheless end up in competition and war. Disrespect. however trivial the occasion may appear.indb 131 4/18/11 12:36 PM . a security dilemma exists when the capabilities a state builds for its own defense and security decreases the security of others. namely security. and if satisfaction is not forthcoming. the result of which is an action-reaction spiral that leads to security competition and sometimes war.

assuming a more vocal role in European politics and often threatening great power war over trivial colonial disagreements.indb 132 4/18/11 12:36 PM . But for what ends was this risky and aggressive foreign policy devised? In this chapter. I argue that Germany’s foreign policy was designed to secure recognition of its status as a world power. What is more. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. on France. By 1890 Germany was the strongest power on the European continent. its power beyond Europe was insignificant.8 As British diplomat Eyre Crowe observed.5 It is clear that since at least 1890. and Germany declared war on Russia and two days later. and its prospects for enlarging it there were rapidly diminishing. however. all of the European great powers began to prepare for war. This created a self-fulfilling prophecy: as these preparations turned to full-scale military mobilizations.7 In short. “Germany had won [its] place as one of the leading. creating a self-fulfilling prophesy of competition and insecurity. neighboring states felt compelled to respond in kind with full-scale ­mobilizations of their own. triggered alliance commitments among the great powers and set in motion military mobilization schedules. Under these conditions. Keir Lieber has forcefully argued that Germany went to war “eyes wide open. however.”6 Its bold naval policy represented a direct challenge to British naval hegemony. which quickly escalated to war. the dominant view that has emerged on the origins of the First World War is that none of the European great powers wanted war but fought one because of misperceptions. Recent work in history and political science. World War I is considered an exemplary instance of the security dilemma because the pressures of the international system drove states seeking only security into competitive arming practices. “eager to disrupt the status quo and to achieve its expansive goals by bullying if possible. by war if necessary. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand initiated a diplomatic crisis. but over and beyond the European Lindemann & Ringmar. On the continent. this spiral had wound too tightly. it pursued a belligerent foreign policy.”4 By August 1. the incentives to launch a preemptive war increased “to the degree that striking the first offensive blow [was] considered advantageous compared to waiting to be attacked. militaristic domestic ideologies. it seems apparent that decisions regarding the use of force in 1914 did not lead tragically to an unwanted war. prompting a partial military mobilization in Russia. When Serbia rejected Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum. and mobilization schedules.” prepared for a costly and protracted war in order to achieve its goal of dominating the European continent. When Germany violated Belgian neutrality. designed to bring Germany to the rank of a world power. if not. Accordingly. has put this understanding of the origins of the war—and Germany’s role in precipitating it—into doubt. in fact.132  ✻  Michelle Murray up acting as if they are aggressors. Britain was drawn into the war. but rather were part of a deliberate strategy designed to achieve very particular ends. By mid-August what started out as a localized conflict between AustriaHungary and Serbia had escalated into full-scale European war. the foremost power on the European continent. Fearing the disadvantage that would come from not being prepared if attacked. Imperial Germany was a fundamentally dissatisfied power.

I argue. which for great powers involves maximizing material power. states ground their identities in the material practices associated with their desired status.Recognition. and threats to survival are understood only in terms of material capabilities. states cannot define or realize their interests and hence Lindemann & Ringmar. Germany sought to secure its status among the world powers. The materialization of identity isolates the state from the social insecurity associated with identity formation in anarchy. which sparked a costly arms race that contributed to the outbreak of war. each of which played an important role in precipitating the First World War. Theorists of recognition in international politics. however.10 As Erik Ringmar has argued. The struggle for recognition centered in the Moroccan Crises. From a material perspective Morocco was of little value to Germany who held no vital economic or security interests in the region. I conclude with some implications for international relations theory. leading to an intense spiral of social insecurity to which Germany responded with increased belligerence.12 Without a stable sense of self. The chapter proceeds in three parts. During each of the Moroccan crises German demands to be treated as an equal on par with the other world powers went unrecognized.9 One part of German strategy to achieve world-power status involved instigating a series of crises over the independent status of Morocco. identity provides the sense of who the state is. The consequence was the emergence of a keen awareness of the balance of power in Europe. In the first section. Rather. In challenging France and Britain over the status of Morocco. Finally. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  133 Great Powers there seemed to stand World Powers. how it is prepared to act to achieve its interests. its location within the social order. Germany’s principal interest in Morocco was about identity.11 A secure identity is essential for state survival because the state requires a stable identity in order to be a subject in the international system—that is. reveals how the experience of disrespect can lead to the material competition traditionally attributed to the security dilemma. states also want recognition of their identities from significant Others. have challenged this narrow motivational assumption to argue that concerns over identity importantly shape states’ security interests and motivate foreign policy behavior. and given the first two. Recognition and Disrespect in World Politics Mainstream theories of security generally assume that all states share the same interest—physical security—and that their pursuit of this interest is conditioned by the balance of power.” within which Germany had not yet secured its place. I apply this argument to the two Moroccan Crises. “not only physical.indb 133 4/18/11 12:36 PM . My rendering of the struggle for recognition in international politics argues that in response to the experience of disrespect and to secure recognition. as Germany struggled to establish and defend its status among the system’s world powers. Next. This paints a materialist picture of international politics where state survival is equated with state materiality. but also social survival is at stake” in international politics. I briefly outline a social theory of international politics which argues that in addition to physical security.

14 The struggle for recognition describes the process through which states attempt to gain the recognition of their significant Others and become subjects of a particular kind in the social order. and hence states are able to define and realize their global interests. toward another only emerges in that state’s encounter with its significant Other. the role position of great power. Roles are structural positions that exist by virtue of shared ideas about the nature of Self and Other. This social definition of great power underscores how role identities cannot exist without states occupying positions “in a social structure and following behavior norms toward Others possessing relevant counter-identities. identities are determined inter-subjectively—one’s attitude. but beyond this.17 Role-taking thus involves choosing from the available representations of the self that a state holds and identifying which role in the social structure corresponds to that self conception. In this formulation.15 The representations that occur during the course of these interactions are the most important aspects of state interaction. this leadership role included direct control over and exploitation of much of the world through colonial empires. for example. Today it involves a monopoly on second-strike nuclear capability and a seat on the United Nations Security Council. in contrast.18 A recognition approach. This process of identity construction involves the state making a claim to a particular identity and representing other states in correspondingly meaningful counter-roles.indb 134 4/18/11 12:36 PM . At the turn of the twentieth century. for through them the meaning of state identity is contested. the act of making a claim to a particular role position necessarily involves alter-casting. when Germany made its bid to join the ranks of the great power.”16 The international system is shaped by a social structure that relates a state’s self-understanding to institutionalized role-positions. what Alexander Wendt has termed “role-taking” and “alter-casting. as the Lindemann & Ringmar. which define the behavioral norms appropriate to a particular identity. and place states in specific relationships vis-à-vis other subjects in the system. who or what a state becomes is the outcome of many intersecting and overlapping sequences of action and response. as the great powers collectively. decided how to carve up the colonized world. or disposition.19 These special rights and duties have historically included being able to exclusively determine their own affairs as well as playing a leading role in determining the direction and shape of international affairs. and reproduced. and thus the state is constituted as a subject with legitimate social standing. Thus.13 Recognition is a social act that ascribes to a state some positive status. made.”20 And therefore. Consider. one of the principal motivations of states in anarchy is to gain recognition of their identities. Neorealism takes great power status as a self-evident reflection of material power and thus a pre-existing property of those states that possess the requisite kind and level of capabilities. they have varied over time as constitutive norms that define this identity have changed. though not without contestation.134  ✻  Michelle Murray cannot be secure. argues that “great power” is an identity sustained through a role structure that grants a recognized set of states special rights and standing in relation to non-great powers. whereby its identity is acknowledged and reinforced as meaningful by a significant Other. and therefore.

specified by the social structure.26 For example. which included building a large fleet of battleships stationed in the North Sea. In response to the insecurity associated with the experience of disrespect. one pillar of Germany’s strategy to achieve “its place in the sun” among the established world powers was a full-scale challenge to British naval hegemony. When a state is recognized.Recognition. which identify “the actions that will cause [other states] to recognize that identity and respond to it appropriately. the recognitionseeking state can be represented as “illegitimate” or “second-rate. were symbolic of the political power of the state and embodiment of Lindemann & Ringmar. this insecurity is mitigated—its identity and status as a political actor is secured and it is free to pursue the interests associated with that identity unhindered. Identities are always defined in relation to others. anchored in a fleet of battleships. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  135 state is at the same time casting others into the corresponding counter-roles that make their identity meaningful in the first place. there cannot be a great power without a non-great power. rather than as the uncertain effect of an ongoing political practice of social construction.21 International politics is in large part about negotiating the boundaries of these collective identities.indb 135 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the process of establishing and maintaining an identity in international politics is wrought with insecurity as interaction always holds the possibility that a state’s self-understanding will not be recognized.22 The struggle for recognition holds the possibility of producing conflict among states because in response to the experience of disrespect. Being a world power necessitates that others recognize you as such. states ground their aspirant identities in concrete material practices. At the time. powerful navies. which in turn reproduce an inter-subjective reality that gives meaning to particular identities. Just as there cannot be a teacher without a student. however.23 Practices are socially recognized forms of activity that are repeated over time and done on the basis of what states learn from others.” With the meaning of its identity called into question. states engage in a struggle for recognition. the state can no longer function as a positively informed self and thus cannot pursue the interests that follow from its perceived identity. Because identities are formed inter-subjectively in this way. Material practices are an effective expression of an identity because the material world gives substance to the recognition-seeking state’s aspiring social identity and allows the state to experience its social status as a brute fact.”25 For this reason it is always by way of performance to collectively known generative schemes that actors are empowered and gain the social status they desire. as states struggle over who is and who is not included in the group.24 The practices coupled with an identity are defined by constitutive norms. it suffers disrespect because in being denied membership in the collective. and role positions play an important part in this process by identifying the boundaries between identity groups such that those inside the collective recognize each other as subjects who “because of their common social position share traits and abilities that are accorded a certain level of social standing” over those who are not part of the collective. which can become the motivational impetus for conflict among states. and this is accomplished in part through conformity to a ritualized set of material practices. If a state’s identity is not recognized.

Germany thought that it could create a display of military force so great that Britain simply could not ignore it. in building a powerful navy. state identities are instantiated in practices. the state demands that it be recognized as it already really is. giving the temporary illusion that it can alone determine its identity. I apply this theoretical argument to the two Moroccan Crises the preceded the First World War and argue that in challenging France and Britain over the status of Morocco. Moreover.27 As this example illustrates. allowing Germany to secure recognition of its status as a world power. Therefore. By presenting its aspiring identity as a fait accompli. the accumulation of material capability is not always an act “of conscious obedience to something external” like the balance of power. the state appears to have sovereign control over the meaning of its identity. Germany became embroiled in a series of crises over the status of Morocco. I show how the mis-recognition and consequent disrespect that Germany suffered at the hands of the other great powers over the Moroccan question played an important role in motivating Germany’s arming decisions in the lead-up to the war. but rather.30 In what follows. Germany’s foremost interest in Morocco lay in its relationship to Germany’s status among the established great powers and the fear that its position among those states was unrecognized.29 Rather.28 In what follows. Germany’s material interests in the country at the time were nugatory. German involvement in Morocco has always been puzzling from a strictly material perspective. In the case of great power politics. This has the effect of isolating the state from the uncertainty and social insecurity associated with inter-subjective identity formation. lending relative stability to the inter-subjective world by reducing social uncertainty about the status of identity. then. thereby forcing its significant Other(s) to recognize it. In materializing a socially produced identity. an act of self-realization that attempts to secure identity. by grounding the state’s aspirant identity in the material practices known to constitute that identity.indb 136 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Lindemann & Ringmar. That is. social insecurity over Germany’s identity as a great power precipitated the material competition among the great powers. its overall volume of trade there ranked third among the great powers and as such was not part of Germany’s vital interests. The Struggle for Morocco During the decade preceding the outbreak of the First World War. it appears as if this identity pre-exists social interaction and therefore is not dependent on the experience of inter-subjectivity. Imperial Germany sought to secure recognition of its identity among the European great powers and that the resultant arms race was symptomatic of this social process. The material world reflects back to the state the identity it seeks.136  ✻  Michelle Murray the nation. each of which threatened general war and contributed to the overwrought environment that led to the July Crisis. the hallmark of world-power status. as Germany had no important economic or security interests in Morocco.

as the Moroccan question came to be seen as paramount to French national and imperial interests. France maintained a policy toward Morocco that supported the status quo: not allowing any other power to gain undue influence there or permitting Morocco to reform itself away from French interests. Germany. consisting of three documents that resolved differences between the two states in Africa. France worked hard to consolidate its North African Empire.31 For a long time.32 This stance reflected the agreement reached in the Madrid Convention of 1880. Morocco became an object whose acquisition had come to be understood as necessary to the completion of its ambitions in the region and maintenance of its position among the world powers.indb 137 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the British agreed to respect France’s special status and pledged diplomatic support for French involvement in Morocco. for France. Thus. and hence Morocco was directly connected to each state’s identity as a great power. and the Pacific. The Entente Cordiale did not formally absorb Morocco into the French empire. Asia. and so in this way. France approached Britain for an agreement that would settle the Moroccan question in its favor. France had long had an interest in Morocco. the practical intent behind the Entente Cordiale was to eventually make Morocco a French protectorate. came to rest with Morocco and securing French dominance there. but stopping short of officially incorporating it into the French Empire. which concerned France and Britain’s standing in Morocco. and therefore France’s corresponding identity as a great power.33 Maintaining a colonial empire was a practice important to the constitution of great-power identity. French interest in Morocco began to grow. The most important component of the agreement. and Spain to gain desired territories. but France alone would make all of the decisions concerning the internal affairs of Morocco.36 The Lindemann & Ringmar. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  137 The First Moroccan Crisis. This left only Morocco—a country almost enclosed by French territory—as unclaimed by the French. the Madrid Convention helped to define the behavioral norms constitutive of that identity.35 This “friendly understanding” was primarily concerned with colonial expansion. Therefore. thus strengthening each state’s empire. 1905–1906 The First Moroccan Crisis grew out of the imperial rivalries of the European great powers. During the 1890s. was the third document. which specified the rights and obligations that the great powers had vis-à-vis Morocco and assured that no single great power would assume too large a role in the internal affairs of the country by maintaining an “open door” policy for any great power that wanted to do business there. particularly France and Germany. In the early part of the twentieth century. In return for France relinquishing its rights and interests in Egypt to Britain. completing agreements with Great Britain. Accordingly.Recognition. and on April 8. however. as geographically it was central to French imperial interests in North Africa.34 The strength of the French empire. looking to secure its position in Morocco. the two states signed the Entente Cordiale. By 1903 nearly every political party within France saw the Moroccan question as a priority of French foreign policy and considered its claims to predominance there as superior to those of any other great power. 1904.

the Madrid Convention preserved equality among the great powers in their dealings with Morocco. . Germany had to back up its recognition claims with behavior appropriate to the role of great power. in the face of this chain of French aggressions. hoping to officially add this area to its growing North and West African Empire. and the army.138  ✻  Michelle Murray Entente Cordiale replaced years of intermittent conflict between Britain and France with a friendly relationship and laid the groundwork for future French action in Morocco. but also the interests lying outside them . we can never admit that France.41 By once again disregarding Germany. . was not enough to stabilize Germany’s identity as a great power. France continued to pursue its expansionist foreign policy in Morocco.”37 While Germany’s material interests in Morocco were small. however. when France cleared its plans for Morocco with Britain but deliberately excluded Germany from these dealings. He wrote. has a stronger right to Morocco than we have.40 In January.38 Holstein went on to argue. forcing the Sultan into accepting reforms for the police. even more alarming would be the injury to Germany’s prestige. France ensured that Morocco would be the site of Germany’s struggle for recognition as a great power. . Because identities are instantiated in practices.”39 From Germany’s perspective. Simply asserting its support for Moroccan independence. however. Germany’s initial reaction to Delcassé’s plan was to assert its rights as a great power by continuing to support Moroccan independence and prevent France from gaining undue power in North Africa. Shortly after the signing of the Entente Cordiale. that is. “not only for material reasons. The Entente Cordiale. Germany must protest against France’s intention to acquire Morocco. but also in order to protect [its] prestige. and on June 3. After all. was a direct violation of the Madrid Convention and thus inflamed Germany. On March 31. Therefore. allowing the French intrusion into Morocco to go unchallenged would be tantamount to relinquishing its status as a great power. . the banks. it seemed necessary to remind Paris again of the German Empire. the insult to its identity demanded a response. who considered itself to be a great power and as such understood itself as having a right to be consulted on issues surrounding colonial expansion. 1905. In spite of German warnings. Germany had to act like a great power in order to be a great power. French foreign minister Théophile Delcassé visited Fez with a series of proposals meant to turn Morocco into a French protectorate. as Morocco’s neighbour. It is the duty of a Great Power not merely to protect its territorial frontiers. Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow took note of this disrespect: “they did not even show us the consideration of informing Berlin and Vienna of the contents of the 1904 treaty . if we sat still whilst German interests were being dealt with without our taking a part. Baron von Holstein issued a memorandum that expressed this concern very clearly. Lindemann & Ringmar. 1904. all to be carried out with French assistance. it effectively denied Germany recognition and represented Germany as an inferior power.indb 138 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

Germany figured that given the terms of the Madrid Convention.45 Germany had backed France against a wall. the other great powers would surely support its position on the Moroccan question and recognize its status as a great power.46 The German threats had their desired effect.44 In response to this denial of recognition. insisting that if France took steps toward formally occupying the country. culminating in Germany making it clear that if Britain and France formed a formal alliance. Germany directly threatened France with general war over Morocco. the kaiser reaffirmed Moroccan independence and asserted that Germany should have “advantages equal to those of other countries. it was primarily a political performance appropriate to its desired role in the international order. inflamed France. the French position began to crumble. and instead insisted on calling a conference to secure the recognition of the international community.43 The kaiser’s performance in Tangier signaled to the world Germany’s intention to make an issue out of Morocco.”42 The German message was indisputable: the kaiser had pointedly told the French that Germany knew how to defend its interests in Morocco and would do so. Rather. and the more France appeared to be susceptible to these threats. forcing it to consider its ability to confront Germany in war. and on June 4. In the face of German threats. Germany turned to material intimidation by threatening France’s physical security in order to achieve the recognition it demanded. and so not only had France disrespected Germany.indb 139 4/18/11 12:36 PM . During an excited speech. it would wage war. a simple return to the status quo would do little to reverse the injury it had suffered to its identity. however. It is clear that Germany never intended to actually go to war with France. and when both ministers confirmed that France indeed was not prepared for war. Contrary to this expectation. and in fact the threat was made without even considering material preparations. and started an international crisis. Delcassé initially tried to placate Berlin by pledging to maintain the “open door” policy put in place by the Madrid Convention and allowing Germany continued access to commerce in the country. In a meeting of the French Cabinet on June 6. the ministers of war and the navy were consulted over the preparedness of the French armed forces for war with Germany. For Germany. German overtures for war increased. the international community as a group had also failed to recognize Germany’s status as a great power and the colonial rights that followed from that identity. and for a moment satiated Germany’s recognition demands: Germany appeared to have the international influence associated with the role of great power. signaling a changed direction in French foreign policy. attempting to force France to recognize its identity. Germany had asserted its perceived right to an equal claim to Morocco. the great powers were reluctant to call a conference without French approval first. the greater German bellicosity grew. Germany would defend its position with force. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  139 Berlin materialized its stance on Morocco when Kaiser Wilhelm visited Tangier to directly challenge French claims to Morocco. In threatening France. Lindemann & Ringmar.Recognition. but in refusing to enforce the terms of the Madrid Convention. Delcassé was forced to resign.

” although the Germans did not renew this threat of war after Delcassé’s resignation. If it again looked as if France. the central issue surrounding Morocco became whether German demands for recognition would be met (through either compensation or the granting of more rights) and whether Britain and France were prepared to “prevent Germany from dictating affairs in Europe. [Germany was] not to be treated as a quantité négligeable. German objectives at the Algeçiras Conference were clear and remained consistent with its earlier position: as Metternich argued. was ready to resort to arms in the settlement of it. Britain. Surprisingly. “in German eyes it was a matter of defending our rights . jointly with England. and when the delegates signed a general act that ended the conference. As Bülow commented at the conclusion of the conference: “the dignity of the empire could not allow these rights to be ignored. Germany had been handed another disappointing defeat. France (along with Spain) took control of the police force and assumed a dominant position in the Moroccan bank. In the years following the First Moroccan Crisis.140  ✻  Michelle Murray A conference to settle the Moroccan question began in early 1906. In the wake of Algeçiras. unluckily the Moroccan question has swelled into one of prestige.48 While Morocco was not officially made into a French protectorate. Weltpolitik. we should be absolutely forced to oppose the French demands even more bluntly. France retained unofficial control over Morocco. deserved the same rights as the other great powers involved in Morocco and so in guaranteeing France special standing in Morocco. Once France agreed to the conference. the great powers had represented Germany as an inferior state. the Algeçiras Agreement handed Germany a humiliating defeat at the hands of the other great powers who had failed to recognize its role as a European great power. though. any settlement had to reflect this concern. which essentially amounted to economic control of the country. which included expanding its colonial empire and building a naval capability meant to rival Britain. Germany intensified its commitment to Weltpolitik. support for Germany at Algeçiras was not forthcoming. and Germany and encouraging balance-of-power thinking among these states. or “world policy.”50 The First Moroccan Crisis—which I have argued arose out of concerns over identity and status—and its settlement at Algeçiras had profound effects in setting Europe on the path to war by stimulating arms production in France. Algeçiras amounted to a denial of recognition because Germany’s claims at the conference were based on the idea of equality so central to meaningful recognition: Germany. as France’s special privileges and position vis-à-vis Morocco were recognized. The military balance of power had little effect on the outcome at Algeçiras. Germany announced a new supplement to the Navy Law that called for the building of additional Dreadnought-style battleships. . . and all of the major European powers were involved. as a signatory to the Madrid Convention.47 Because Germany’s interest in Morocco still revolved around the state’s connection to German identity as a great power.”49 Thus.” was Germany’s strategy for achieving world power status.51 Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 140 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Germany became preoccupied with its weakness and so responded to the mis-recognition of Algeçiras by grounding its identity in the material practices constitutive of great power status in an attempt to secure its voice in European affairs. In 1908.

subject to the demands of its aggressive eastern neighbor and dependent upon the goodwill of Britain and Russia to secure its interests outside of Europe. which indicated that [it] could not at present be counted on as an effective force in international politics. and might therefore be necessary for Great Britain in [its] own interests to lend France [its] active support should war of this nature break out. as France undertook medium-term and short-term measures to prepare its military for war. however. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  141 While Germany suffered the most significant mis-recognition at Algeçiras. Lindemann & Ringmar. the crisis produced considerable uncertainty about France’s ability to maintain its status as a great power: would France be able to defend its interests on its own. France sought to demonstrate to important allies—namely Britain—its status as a great power. its own identity as a world power became tied to France’s position as an independent great power and centered on opposition of Germany. By increasing its military capability.58 While Germany’s behavior in Morocco was intended to secure its voice in European affairs. was that it drew Britain into continental politics by stimulating Franco-British cooperation and raising suspicions about German intentions. “a second overthrow of France by Germany would end in aggrandizement of Germany to an extent which would be prejudicial to the whole of Europe. A trial mobilization took place.53 Faced with the potential humiliation associated with satellite status.Recognition. instead the crisis had the effect of increasing German diplomatic isolation (which only further increased its social insecurity) and setting in to motion a preoccupation with military force that would haunt the great powers as they moved forward.000 troops to France within a month of mobilization.indb 141 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Shortly after the crisis. France began surveillance of Germany’s borders to give warning of possible German mobilization. or was it simply a satellite of Great Britain? The British government had vigorously supported Delcassé and his firing caused Britain to worry about France’s standing as a great power: “Delcassé’s dismissal or resignation under pressure from the German government displayed a weakness on the part of France. The First Moroccan Crisis menaced France with the specter of “satellite status” in Europe. but rather an independent great power able to protect its global interests.”55 For the first time in thirty years. it began to contemplate the use of its army in a continental war. France turned its attention toward hardening its identity as a great power by building up its military strength relative to Germany. Britain had concluded that its own security was intimately tied to that of France and as such.57 As British interests became centered on the continental balance of power. Perhaps the most important consequence of the First Moroccan Crisis. entertaining plans to use the British expeditionary force in defense of Belgium and France on the European continent.54 French leaders understood that it had to be able to credibly threaten war in the future in order to demonstrate to the international community that it was not a satellite state. military leaves were curtailed and supplies readied for war.56 These plans included a complete program of military reorganization that enabled Britain to send upward of 100.”52 One of the defining characteristics of a great power was its ability to determine its own affairs and pursue its global interests unhindered.

Germany sent the gunboat Panther to anchor off of Agadir. France’s ever-expanding political role in the internal affairs of Morocco had bled into the economic sphere. Adagir and Mogador. The French occupation was a direct violation of the Algeçiras Agreement and Franco-German agreement of 1908. both of which explicitly forbade the French from undertaking any sort of military occupation of Morocco without the expressed consent of the other great powers. in a spectacular demonstration of armed diplomacy against the French occupation. and so Germany could have achieved its interests without such bellicosity. it needed “a visible success. Germany presented France with a fait accompli of its own: no matter which of the two options France chose.63 This would force France to either retreat from its occupation or to allow Germany to keep western Morocco. when France occupied Fez—sending 15. Lindemann & Ringmar. or alternatively.66 In doing this. thereby reinforcing German rights in Morocco and as a great power. the new state secretary of the Foreign Office. it would affirm Germany’s status as great power by either compensating Germany as an equal great power or returning to the pre-occupation status quo. called for the observance of the Algeçiras Agreement which mandated Morocco remain independent.62 And so.”61 Accordingly. but it feared that signing an agreement like Algeçiras and then allowing it to be overturned without its rightful consent would do considerable damage to its prestige and influence in the international system. on July 1. Alfred von Kiderlen-Wächter. and that called for open intimidation. 1911. Morocco was still intimately connected to its larger role in world affairs. French foreign policy was dominated by questions related to Morocco and its continued policy of penetration pacifique in that country. and when a French diplomat claimed that “France finds itself in spite of the Algeçiras Act and the Moroccan Accord on the way to full sovereignty in Morocco.000 French troops to the Moroccan capital—the second crisis over Morocco erupted between France and Germany. The justification for German demands would be an insistence that the Algeçiras Agreement be upheld. a gesture of respect and a gain in prestige. a demonstration of German power. and in the years following the First Moroccan Crisis. Berlin demanded almost the entire French Congo in exchange for recognizing Morocco as a French protectorate. There is evidence that French leaders wanted to negotiate a secret deal with Germany to avoid another confrontation over Morocco.64 But Berlin wanted more than a settlement. 1911 The Algeçiras Agreement did little to resolve the political questions surrounding Morocco. figured that Germany could assert its power in Morocco by seizing control of two ports on the western coast of Morocco.142  ✻  Michelle Murray The Agadir Crisis.59 By 1911. and it looked toward Morocco as an opportunity to “score a coup in world politics that would efface what [was] regarded as Germany’s earlier humiliations.” it had become clear that France planned to formally incorporate Morocco into its empire in the very near future.60 For Germany.”65 A few weeks later.indb 142 4/18/11 12:36 PM . a Moroccan port on the Atlantic Ocean. Germany’s material interests in Morocco had not changed.

Metternich reiterated that Germany had no particular interest in Morocco but just wanted proper compensation elsewhere. Upon learning of the Panther’s leap at Agadir. which unequivocally outlined the British position on Agadir: I believe it is essential in the highest interests. not only of this country. but stopped short of offering support in war. . and as Kiderlen-Wächter had suspected. by allowing Britain to be treated where her interests were vitally affected as if she were of no account in the Cabinet of nations.indb 143 4/18/11 12:36 PM .71 A few days later. Later that evening. that Britain should at all hazards maintain her place and prestige amongst the Great Powers of the world . If a situation were to be forced upon us in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement. Grey had persuaded the previously reserved Cabinet to take a stronger line against the Germans. unless Germany intended to “inflict on France a humiliation that would jeopardize its great power status.69 This stubbornness on the part of Germany worried Britain. but he also protested the tone and message of the Mansion House speech and refused to have any German response or compromise tied to that speech. David Lloyd George—the chancellor of the exchequer and in general an advocate of a moderate position on Germany—delivered a speech at the London Mansion House Banquet. and Britain was cautious about becoming involved in another crisis given its own escalating tensions with Germany. then I say emphatically that peace at the price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure. fearful of a European war breaking out over what it considered a trivial colonial concern. France asked Britain to send a warship to Mogador. Grey met with Metternich to discuss the Moroccan question and a solution to the crisis.”68 Despite Britain’s willingness to support concessions for Germany. calling into question its rights in the Moroccan Crisis and permanently jeopardizing its position within the international system. . Metternich then stressed that if its demands were not recognized. Metternich insisted that linking a German statement on Morocco to the Mansion House speech would represent Germany as inferior to Britain.72 Lindemann & Ringmar.Recognition. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  143 Initially. in order to intimidate Germany and show that Britain was standing on the side of France. Russia was not interested in another Moroccan crisis.67 Britain agreed to offer France diplomatic support and encouraged it to make concessions to Germany in the French Congo in order to settle the dispute. and by July 21.70 The Mansion House speech revealed Britain’s experience of disrespect and represented a “public calling into line” of Germany: Britain would not tolerate German bellicosity or allow Germany to dictate affairs on the continent. Britain would insist on taking part in the settlement of the Moroccan question. but of the world. making it clear that if Franco-German negotiations failed. it would be forced to uphold the Algeçiras Agreement by force of arms. support from France’s allies was not immediately forthcoming. Berlin was not forthcoming in making its intentions clear and in general treated Britain as if it had no right at all to have a voice on the Moroccan question.

Agadir strengthened public support for mobilization. technical formations and machine-gun units would all be added. The crisis roused suspicion regarding German intentions among the great powers.75 In 1912. Overall. it would face a two-front war against Britain. Britain’s stalwart support of France meant that any resolution that came through a conference would most likely not be in Germany’s favor. permanent. France refused to relent any further. a decision that all realized would lead to a land arms race among the great powers. Helmuth von Moltke confirmed that preparations for mobilization were influenced by the outcome at Agadir and that Germany would not be humiliated again in future crises. Germany finally recognized the French protectorate over Morocco and in exchange received a substantially smaller part of the French Congo. however.144  ✻  Michelle Murray German bellicosity. Germany had suffered a denial of recognition that badly damaged its international standing at the hand of France. with both France and Germany reluctantly giving and taking in relation to their original positions.74 The Agadir Crisis dramatically increased the likelihood of major power war in Europe. then Germany would face both France and Britain and likely Russia. And so when this failed to produce the desired results. The most profound effects of Adagir. it was understood that world-power status could not be secured without a strong continental position. Germany began to harden its identity as a great power by dramatically increasing its material capability. had once again backed Germany into a position in which achieving any of its goals was near impossible. As David Herrmann notes. and over the next four years. The Mansion House speech made it clear that if the Agadir Crisis did escalate to war. And moreover. for as Adagir had demonstrated. In the final phase of negotiations. In France. and once again. the Reichstag passed an army law that readied the German army for war at all times.indb 144 4/18/11 12:36 PM . putting responsibility for peace on the Germans. Negotiations over Morocco proceeded slowly. the peacetime strength of the German army was increased by two new permanent corps. The effect of this transformed understanding of the balance of power was that Germany had become an encircled power and war had come to be seen as inevitable. France. Germany was painfully confronted with its inability to engage in this sort of gunboat diplomacy and forced to face its subordinate status. In response to its defeat at Agadir and the social insecurity associated with this experience of disrespect. and Britain and France completed plans for the rapid delivery of the British Expeditionary Force to the continent in the event of war.73 The Second Moroccan crisis was over.76 From this point on. as the lesson of Agadir for Lindemann & Ringmar. Germany’s capitulation at Adagir was forced in part by the realization that should war break out. With the possibility of war hanging in the background. concerned Germany and the military expansion it undertook in the wake of the crisis. and Russia. however. The defeat over Agadir was especially humiliating for Germany given its extreme belligerence in the lead up to negotiations. more regular. the Panther’s leap at Agadir was a dramatic political performance and assertion of world power. At the 1912 annual mobilization conference. these improvements significantly increased Germany’s military capability and shifted the focus of German foreign policy away from colonial ambitions and back to the continent.

As I argued previously. when Russia and Austria-Hungary each struggled to maintain a sphere of influence in the Balkans as a condition of their great-power status. these crises centered not on a dispute over material interests. A shortcoming of much of the literature on the origins of the war is that it focuses almost exclusively on the events of 1914 and reads back generalizations about prewar diplomacy off of this singular event. By 1914. but rather revolved principally around questions of identity and status. the great powers found themselves in an extremely complex social and material environment. Germany instigated a series of diplomatic crises over the independent status of Morocco. and many factors beyond Morocco contributed to the insecurity that spiraled to war in 1914.” 78 Rethinking Imperial Germany’s Security Dilemma The struggle over Morocco played an important role in precipitating the First World War. This is because in response to the experience of disrespect that comes with a denial of recognition. great powers ground their identities in the material practices constitutive Lindemann & Ringmar. and that war would only be a matter of time. Taking a closer look at the great powers’ struggle over Morocco. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  145 Germany was that “only a war would hold any guarantee of changing the status quo in [its] favor. but at the same time took the plunge in full expectation that their rivals would react. When such recognition was not forthcoming. The struggle for recognition also has important implications for international relations theory.79 Concerns over status and identity figured prominently in the Bosnian Crisis of 1908 and the Balkan Wars. as Germany sought to secure its place among the system’s great powers.Recognition. Together this suggests that 1914 was an environment mired in tremendous social uncertainty. In the decade before the July Crisis. an obsession with the balance of material power on the continent pervaded great-power thinking—especially in Germany. This belief in the inevitability of war played a decisive role in escalating the July Crisis.” 77 The struggle for recognition set in place the self-fulfilling prophecy that would culminate in war: “the Germans regarded themselves as responding to a threat from all sides. however. In each crisis. Security dilemma theory has come to be seen as the most powerful explanation for the security competition that seems to plague great-power politics in the modern era. The argument I propose here reveals another dimension of the security dilemma: that social uncertainty about the status of an identity can motivate the competitive arming practices traditionally attributed to the security dilemma.indb 145 4/18/11 12:36 PM . as the great powers sought to defend and secure their identities in the international order. Germany demanded its rights in Morocco be recognized in accord with the existing treaties regulating great-power behavior in the region. The importance of the Moroccan Crises in leading the great powers to war should not be overstated. reveals an important and often-overlooked dynamic at work in causing the Great War: the struggle for recognition. In the years before the war’s outbreak. the experience of disrespect motivated a struggle that played an important role in driving the arming decisions that led to war.

146  ✻  Michelle Murray of that status. 11. any social approach to great-power politics holds the possibility that states can accommodate each other through careful diplomacy and special attention to what peer competitors want. Had the great powers been able to accommodate Imperial Germany’s rise into the European social order. In this context. sheds new light on cases of historical importance as well brings important insights to contemporary security policy. Lieber effectively shows that Germany was prepared for a long and bloody war. however. Ringmar 2002.indb 146 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Thus. 169. with the apparent security dilemma being a symptom of a larger social process. thus avoiding the spiral of insecurity that lead to war. 4. This argument inverts the traditional relationship between the material and social forces acting on states in anarchy. In this way.80 Moreover. 157. 18. 10. In addition to the chapters in this volume. he does not develop an argument as to what motivated German decision-making. 343–368. 9. although they still view the war as an unintended consequence. a recognition lens goes a long way to clear up many of the puzzles surrounding the origins of the war. then perhaps it would not have pursued such a vigorous armament program. 8. 7. 5. not an intrinsic feature of life in anarchy. recognizing that Imperial Germany may have faced a social security dilemma in the years before 1914 leads to important conclusions about the inevitability of great-power conflict. 216 2. although he clearly is writing from the perspective of an offensive realist. 12. Kagan 1995. see Greenhill 2008. for structural treatments of recognition and international relations. state identity corresponds to what Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper Lindemann & Ringmar. thus potentially offering a more powerful explanation for its outbreak.81 Notes 1. the accumulation of material capability is a strategy that great powers pursue in order to obtain recognition and reduce the insecurity associated with the social formation of their identities as great powers. Lieber 2007. 403. Lieber 2007. While I would argue that given the uncertainties of identity formation. 113. Steinberg 1965. 209. Herz 1950. 3. As quoted in Offer 1995. 6. Jervis 1978. Sagan 1991. like the struggle for recognition in motivating states’ relationships with the material world. 115–136. Wendt 2003. Ringmar 2002. 156. 116. 491–542. As Charles Doran shows. Recognizing the importance of social forces. 155–191. Crowe 1928. Most accounts of the war argue that Germany bore greater responsibility for its outbreak. the struggle for recognition among great powers will always have powerful tendencies toward competition. the competitive arming practices of the great powers are not just the result of material insecurity—as extant security dilemma teaches us—but also social insecurity about the status of identity.

Anderson 1930. 41. Ashley 1986. 27. 29. 294. 39. Stokesbury 1981. 21. 32. 39–90. Hopf 1998. 24. 173. Hayne 1993. Lindemann & Ringmar. Herrmann 1996. 112. 40. Wedeen 2002. For a fuller discussion of the Germany’s naval program as a struggle for recognition. 196. 5. 77–95. 18. 220–221. Ibid. 17. 36. 123. 6. an independent state.. 102. 37.. 15. Barnes 2001. 23. 131. I use the terms “world power” and “great power” interchangeably. 220. 22. which included exemption from taxation. 30. 25. To be fair. “What was meant was that the international status of the land should be respected. 33. 35. “The Landing of Wilhelm II in Tangier” 1905. 227. would eventually be partitioned into French and Spanish protectorates was evident to anyone with an understanding of contemporary political practices. viii. In what follows. France was not the only state given the authority to interfere in the internal affairs of Morocco. the terms of the secret articles foresaw a future change even in that. 249. 6. Ibid. German Diplomatic Documents 1928. Bull [1977] 1995. See Rolo 1969.. and it can hardly be called showing a nice regard for Morocco’s international and sovereign independence for two alien Powers to set a time limit to the right of commercial liberty in that land. 20.138. Ibid. 328–329. see Murray 2008. That Morocco. 43. Wendt 1999. 38.indb 147 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 5. 146. Ibid. 31. xii. 318. Wendt 1999. Anderson 1930. Bülow 1931. Mearsheimer 2001. the agreement also put parts of Morocco under Spanish control. 27. Campbell 1992. 28. 292. see Murray 2008.Recognition. Kagan 1995. 34.. While there is a distinction to be made between the two in terms of the role positions to which they refer. 13. 13. For a comprehensive history on the origins of the Entente Cordiale. Craig 1978.” See Brubaker and Cooper 2000. It also guaranteed special rights for foreign nationals. Markell 2003. Markell 2003. see Weber 1998. Biersteker and Weber 1996. For a fuller account of my conceptualization of the struggle for recognition in international politics. Ashley 1986. 52. 126.” See Anderson 1930. Staley 1932. the states involved in the Moroccan Crises tend to use the terms interchangeably. 38. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  147 call a “situated subjectivity. Ibid. 126. On the importance of identity to state survival. However. 1–21. Honneth 1995. As Anderson notes.. Honneth 1995. 720. 14. 121. 16. Waltz 1979. see Rolo 1969. 19. 19. 26. 17. 42.

70. When in 1906 Britain decided to meet Germany’s challenge by redistributing its fleet and introducing the Dreadnought. 54. preoccupied with its war against Japan.. 232. Germany continued with its plans for naval expansion. Herrmann 1996. 148. Herrmann 1996. Albertini 1952. Glaser 2004. German Diplomatic Documents 1930. British attention to the German threat also increased. Britain. 62. Kennedy 1970. 53. 51. Kagan 1995. 170 66. The German economy was not powerful enough to sustain a naval program on par with Britain and maintain its continental defense commitments. 209 45. 150.” continued to fully support France. 55. As quoted in Barlow 1971. 483. 86. 221–283. 56. 48. Herrmann 1996. Stevenson 1996. 157. Edwards 1963. 57. 230. 55. Lindemann & Ringmar. Of course Germany’s naval program directly threatened British interests. Ibid. it effectively made Germany’s vision of naval hegemony impossible. 47. 54. Ibid. 59. 71. 232. Herrmann 1996. 170. Herrmann 1996. 52–54. 49. Spain and Italy suggested the matter be settled directly between France and Germany. Hayne 1993.148  ✻  Michelle Murray 44. A state bank was established that was open to all nations but gave special privilege to France. In 1909. 50. see Herwig 1991. Interestingly. 64. On the impossibility of German naval ambition. 148. 51. which gave France principal political rights in Morocco and Germany equivalent economic rights. 181. 170. France and Germany sought to correct some of the faults of Algeçiras by signing the Franco-German Agreement on Morocco.. Stevenson 1996. 171. 61. and Russia. 56. Ibid. Ibid. and so as German insecurity grew and its commitment to Weltpolitik intensified. 58. who considered the military situation as decisive.. Delcassé saw German threats as a bluff and advocated taking a hard line against Germany as a matter of national prestige. but his position was not shared by the prime minister.. 149. 23. 65. The Act of Algeçiras of April 1907 gave France and Spain control of all eight Moroccan ports with the provision that those at Casablanca and Tetouan should have mixed police. 46. Bülow 1931. Stevenson 1996. 67. 63. Kagan 1995. Anderson 1930. See Mercer [1996] 2009. See Herrmann 1996. In spite this impossibility. 142. “obliged both by honor and interest. The First Moroccan Crisis represented one source of growing British insecurity because the crisis involved only one pillar of Germany’s strategy for world power status. 60.indb 148 4/18/11 12:36 PM . 52. Kagan 1995. took little interest in continental politics. As quoted in Anderson 1930. The 1908 naval supplement was an important development because it inaugurated the Anglo-German naval race. 18–19. Murray 2008. 62. 183.

In order to give the appearance of reciprocity. 78. New York: Routledge. Herrmann 1996. Bull. Barlow. 1904–1906. 79.” In Neorealism and Its Critics. 185. The Agadir Crisis.. Ashley. Great Britain. See Stevenson 1997. 77. The Anarchical Society. Barry. 172.” In The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. Likewise. France received the “Bec de Canard” in the Cameroons and a narrow panhandle strip south of Lake Chad. 330. 71.. 184. 332. 405. Albertini 1952. 1930. “Practice as Collective Action. Germany received two strips of territory along the Ubangui and Sangha.indb 149 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Foreign Office 1926. 2000. 125. See Schroeder 1972. Rogers. See ibid.’” Theory and Society 29 (1). Lindemann & Ringmar. 3 Volumes. Bibliography Albertini. 323. 81. 1971.. In addition. 80. “Beyond ‘Identity. thereby continuing the naval antagonism with Britain. The First Moroccan Crisis. edited by Robert O. Hamden: Archon Books. Eugene Newton. New York: Columbia University Press. Anderson. and Cynthia Weber. 70. Doran this volume. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mombauer 2001.Recognition. This can be an important lesson for US foreign policy. 73. 412. “The Poverty of Neorealism. Thomas J. 1996. According to the distribution of capability in the system. 330. “The Social Construction of State Sovereignty. 331.” In State Sovereignty as Social Construct. 76. 75. Stevenson acutely makes this point in framing his own argument on the origins of the war. if China’s rise is marked by a desire to assume its place among the existing great powers. then the US must formulate a foreign policy that responds accordingly. 126–127. Origins of the War of 1914. If proliferators want recognition. as it deals with the problems of nuclear proliferation and the rise of China. Stevenson 1996. Luigi. 72. Keohane. Herrmann 1996. Biersteker. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Foreign Office 1926. 149. New York: Columbia University Press. Richard. and Frederick Cooper. The Reichstag also passed a new supplementary naval law. Ima Christina. 130. (1977) 1995. Barnes. Brubaker. 1952. and a small slice of territory near Monda Bay. One of the more important puzzles for Neorealist theory is the timing of the war. 2001. Great Britain. Germany should have gone to war in 1905—when it was clearly the most preponderant state on the continent and Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War left it weakened and unable to participate in a European war. Herrmann 1996. this will call for a dramatically different nonproliferation strategy than one based on narrow “security” interests. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  149 68. Mombauer 2001. 1986. 74. Hedley. 69. Albertini 1952. The French protectorate over Morocco and the Congo was the major element of the agreements. Ibid. which kept German battleship construction at a high rate. 1–21.

Campbell. Paul. Craig. Glaser. March 31. Hayne. W. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1928. “The Promise of Constructivism in International Relations Theory. Charles F. “When Are Arms Races Dangerous? Rational Versus Suboptimal Arming. 2001. 1998. E. 1950. Greenhill. 2007. “Memorandum on the Present State of British Relations with France and Germany. “Recognition and Collective Identity Formation in International Politics. 1928. Great Britain. The Struggle for Recognition: Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. Patchen. 1931.lib. Gordon Alexander. (1996) 2009. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1871–1914.” International Security 32 (2): 155–191. Hopf.150  ✻  Michelle Murray Bülow. Brian. Bernhard. “Tirpitz. New York: Doubleday. “The New History of World War I and What It Means for International Relations Theory. 1995. Foreign Office. Mearsheimer. “The Landing of Wilhelm II in Tangier: Report of Councillor Von Schoen.php/The_First_Moroccan_Crisis. B. ‘Adjustment Delusions. Axel. Jervis.indb 150 4/18/11 12:36 PM . New York: Harper. Honneth. Lieber. Charles L. 1898–1914.” In Oxford History of Modern Europe. New York: W.” International Security 28 (4). 1963. Edwards.” English Historical Review 78 (308). The French Foreign Office and the Origins of the First World War. Herrmann. Reputation and International Politics. Volume 2. 1907. Gibraltar. 1991. Keir A. 1926. 1993. Volume 3. Doran. 2011. The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War. January 1.edu/index. M. Crowe. edited by Thomas Lindemann and Erik Ringmar. Ted. Mercer. New York: Oxford University Press. Boston: Little. Markell. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office. On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace. Volume 7. Envoy in the Imperial Suite to the German Foreign Office. Boulder: Paradigm. David. 1898–1914. W. Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity. Herwig. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 1995. London: Polity Press.’” In The International Politics of Recognition. 1866–1945. 1978. “The Franco-German Agreement on Morocco. “World War I from the Perspective of Power Cycle Theory: Recognition. 1998. Bound by Recognition. Jonathan. German Diplomatic Documents.” Militärgeschichtliche Mitteilunger 2. British Documents on the Origins of the War. 1996. John J. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. Robert. “Germany.” World Politics 30 (2). Memoirs of Prince Von Bülow. 1978. Oxford: Clarendon Press. David G. 2008.byu. England and the Second Navy Law of 1900: A Strategical Critique.” International History Review 13 (2): 221–283. Kagan. “The German Reaction to the Dreadnought Revolution. Herz. 1909.” In British Documents on the Origins of the War.” International Security 23 (1). 1898– 1914. Norton. “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma. 2003. 2004. Eyre. “Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma.” http://wwi . Holger. Kennedy. Donald.’ and the ‘Trauma of Expectations Foregone. London: His Majesty’s Stationery Office.” World Politics 2 (2). Lindemann & Ringmar. 1905. 1970.” European Journal of International Relations 14 (2): 343–368. John H. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Brown.

———. Offense and Instability. 2002. Erik. 1996. Ringmar. Lisa. Social Theory of International Politics. Theory of International Politics. Alexander. Staley. 1972. 2008. Kenneth N. 2003. J. Michelle. dissertation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.D. London: Macmillan. 2005.” In Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War. “Conceptualizing Culture: Possibilities for Political Science.” European Journal of International Relations 9 (4): 491–542. “Mannesmann Mining Interests and the Franco-German Conflict over Morocco. ———. “1914 Revisited: Allies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1991. Offer. Yesterday’s Deterrent: Tirpitz and the Birth of the German Battle Fleet. Stevenson. “Performative States.” Millennium 27 (1): 77–95. Entente Cordiale: The Origins and Negotiation of the Anglo-French Agreements of 8 April 1904. 1995. Annika. Scott D. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wedeen. Disrespect and the Struggle for Morocco  ✻  151 Mombauer. “Why a World State is Inevitable.indb 151 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Steinberg. Stokesbury.” International Security 22 (1). Identity and the Quest for Power. P. Reading: Addison-Wesley. “Going to War in 1914: A Matter of Honor?” Politics and Society 23 (2).” Cooperation & Conflict 37 (2): 115–136. 1998. James L. 1997. Jonathan. A Short History of World War I. David. 1981. “Militarization and Diplomacy in Europe before 1914. 1965. London: Macdonald. Paul W. Eugene. “World War I as Galloping Gertie: A Reply to Joachim Remak. 1979. Schroeder. “The Struggle for Recognition in International Politics: Security.” Ph.” Journal of Political Economy 40 (1). Avner. Cynthia.” American Political Science Review 96 (4). 1932. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2002. Sagan. Weber. 1999. University of Chicago. V.” Journal of Modern History 44 (3). New York: Harper. 1904–1914.Recognition. Rolo. Waltz. Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War. Wendt. “The Recognition Game: Soviet Russia Against the West. Murray. 1969. Lindemann & Ringmar. Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe.

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characterized by its self-denial of its conventional Chinese identity. the crossTaiwan Strait relationship was characterized by increasing animosity.indb 153 4/18/11 12:36 PM . despite Beijing and Washington’s joint efforts.1 In fact. Recognition. although there has been some progress since the KMT won back power in 2008. 1949–2008 Yana Zuo Taiwan’s identity reconstruction. The breakdown of Taipei’s diplomatic relationship with Washington and the Republic of 153 Lindemann & Ringmar. has led to massive identity confusion within the Taiwanese people. By the end of Chen Shui-bian’s presidency in late May 2008. the dispute has become even more difficult to resolve. have complicated Taipei’s relationship with Beijing. Taiwan’s self-identification and international recognition had been problematized by Beijing’s continuous success in joining the international society as the sole legitimate government of China even before the end of the Cold War. it has also transformed the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship to the point where. based on its self-identification. The future of the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship is still full of uncertainty and unpredictability. and Conflicts The Evolution of Taiwan’s Identity.Chapter 8 Self-Identification. The aim of this chapter is to show how Taipei’s shifting self-identification and its struggle for diplomatic recognition.

Yet. due to Beijing’s strong opposition to Taipei’s new position. This article seeks to contribute to a more adequate understanding of the issue of recognition and its impact on international relations.” However. Bukovansky observes the constitutive force that ideas of legitimacy factors have on state identity. Taipei’s self-identification in relation to the mainland was shifted from “The ROC is the sole legitimate government of the Chinese nation. such as Mlada Bukovansky and Ted Hopf. When a state re-identifies itself. The formation of an identity is not effectual if the new identity has not been recognized by outside communities. The conclusion addresses the implications this study has for understanding both the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship and the role of recognition in identity formation. this chapter follows the journey of Taiwan’s identity evolution since the 1940s to explore how recognition matters to identity formation. none of them have looked at the process of an identity’s historical evolution. Hopf compares and contrasts the discourses of identity in the USSR in 1995 and in Russia in 1999.154  ✻  Yana Zuo China’s (ROC hereafter) withdrawal from the UN in the 1970s caused a dramatic shift in the ROC’s international status. Yet. the “shift” of both self-identification and of the demanded recognition was long neglected by scholars. A state’s struggle for recognition might lead to instability and insecurity when its self-identification clashes with how it is identified in the eyes of other actors. it demands recognition from the international community for its newly claimed identity. the role that mainstream constructivists have assigned to identity lacks a historical perspective. The next section explores the change of Taiwan’s self-identification and its struggle for international recognition. within the discipline of international relations. and the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship was further complicated and the confrontation intensified. While providing an account of change and continuity in Taiwan’s self-identification and its struggle for recognition.indb 154 4/18/11 12:36 PM .3 He then ultimately links these identities with foreign policies to demonstrate how the domestic society’s attitudes toward foreign states affect a state and its decision-makers’ understandings of other states. there are some theorists. This chapter aims to bridge that gap. However. More specifically. its struggle for external recognition from both Mainland China and the broader international community. Different from the work aforementioned. By the same token. It does so by looking at the historical evolution of Taiwan’s self-identification. Taipei’s newly defined identities failed to be recognized by international society.2 Drawing largely from domestic sources. Lindemann & Ringmar. by revisiting the historical events of the French Revolution. this study ultimately demonstrates that recognition matters a great deal to international relations. who have engaged with history while investigating the conceptions of identity. such as literature and newspapers. including both the mainland and Taiwan” to “Taipei and Beijing share China sovereignty as equals” and further to “Taiwan is sovereign and independent from China. there has been scant attention paid to the question of identity politics in the context of Taiwan. and the impact Taiwan’s struggle for diplomatic recognition has had on the cross-Taiwan Strait relations since the 1940s.

the ROC would break its diplomatic ties with that state. the number of states that recognized Beijing was for the first time larger than those that recognized Taipei. Right after the PRC’s establishment. This strategy proved to be counter-productive for Taipei. such as Sweden. and Taipei withdrew from the organization at the same time in 1972. Taipei’s strategy to compete with Beijing in the international arena was a “zero-sum” principle.indb 155 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Those two events effectively caused international de-recognition of the ROC’s identity as the sole legitimate government of China. The ROC managed to maintain diplomatic recognition based on its self-identification until the early 1970s.4 Beijing actively sought international recognition and more and more countries turned to the mainland. 1993:2. including both mainland China and Taiwan. Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  155 I. 1940s to 1988: Consolidating the One China Identity When the government of the ROC first retreated to Taiwan in 1949 after the KMT was defeated by the CCP in the Chinese Civil War. the East European states from the Communist Camp. The loss of its UN membership.5 Table 1: Numbers of states recognizing Taipei and Beijing (1950–1990)a Year Number of countries having diplomatic relationship with Taipei 1950 44 1960 59 1966 66 1969 69 1970 67 1971 56 1972 43 1974 32 1976 26 1979 23 1980 23 1983 24 1985 23 1988 22 1989 26 1990 28 Number of countries having diplomatic relationship with Beijing 23 42 51 50 54 74 92 104 118 127 130 135 138 141 136 139 a Wei. Lindemann & Ringmar. also switched their diplomatic relationship. and some of the western countries. and other Asian nationalist countries set up diplomatic relations with the PRC. the USSR. and the gap has grown bigger and bigger ever since (see Table 1).Self-Identification. caused a diplomatic crisis for Taipei. The core of this principle was that if a state diplomatically recognized the PRC. together with the Washington-Beijing rapprochement in later days. By 1971. it identified itself as the sole legitimate government of the whole Chinese nation. Taipei was still a member of the Security Council until Beijing was seated in the UN.

156  ✻  Yana Zuo
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a boost to the PRC’s diplomatic relations and
international status. More than eighty countries set up diplomatic relations with the
PRC from 1971 to 1989, which increased the number of countries that recognized
the PRC to more than one hundred.6 During the same period, only twelve of them
established or re-established diplomatic relations with the ROC, which made a total
number of twenty-six countries with formal diplomatic relationships with the ROC.
Most of the countries that tied with Taipei diplomatically were underdeveloped
countries—only Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and South Africa were relatively powerful states.7 It became unrealistic for Taipei to maintain that the ROC was the sole
legitimate government representing the nation of China.
The most influential issue impacting the ROC’s recognition in the wider world
was the establishment of the PRC-US diplomatic relationship. The ROC allied
itself with the United States in the early 1950s, which blocked the CCP’s military
takeover and facilitated the KMT’s rule in Taiwan.8 The alliance also granted the
ROC the legitimacy to operate as the representative of China in the international
community for a few decades. However, as the PRC-Soviet split became more and
more obvious in the late 1950s, the West showed increasing signs of wishing to
engage with Mao and his government, which also opened a new chapter of the
PRC-US relationship.9 The United States eventually turned to the PRC and set up
diplomatic relations in 1979.
The diplomatic de-recognition from Washington, Taipei’s formal ally, was a severe
blow. The international recognition of Taipei as the sole legitimate government of
China was fading away, which threatened Taipei’s existing identity as the legitimate
government of the Chinese nation. Prior to the American de-recognition, Taipei had
already lost its membership in the UN.
The PRC knocked on the UN’s door not long after it took control over the
mainland. Yet after almost a decade of effort to improve its international status and
the upsurge in the establishment of diplomatic relations with Asian, African, and
Latin American countries, the PRC government not only had de facto control over
Mainland China but also successfully had the UN General Assembly put the issue
of China’s representation on the UN agenda in 1961.
Different US administrations proposed different approaches to Chiang Kai-shek,
the ROC’s then president, regarding a solution to the “two-Chinas” problem.10 However, for Taipei, China’s sovereignty could not be shared or divided. Chiang asserted,
“the idea of two Chinas is what I [am] strongly against . . . [it is] only an illusion”11.
He also said, “regarding [the] US’s proposal . . . as a plan to bring about a ‘two Chinas’
arrangement in the UN, the ROC would have no part of such proposals and would
withdraw from UN rather than be party to them.”12
In his address, “To All Chinese Patriots Referring to the UN Issue,” Chiang Kaishek said, “Based on the principle of ‘zero-sum’ . . . the ROC intends to withdraw
from the UN, of which it was one of the founding members before the 2758 (XXVI)
resolution was put into practice. Meanwhile, we clarify that the ROC government

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Self-Identification, Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  157
and all Chinese people will not accept the legitimacy of the resolution on the grounds
that it has violated the UN Charter.”13 Clearly, Taipei still identified itself as the sole
legitimate government of China representing the whole nation, both Taiwan and
the mainland.
The loss of its membership in the UN in 1972 posed a severe challenge to the
ROC’s self-identification as the legal representative of China, or even more dramatically, as an acceptable actor in the international community. After withdrawing from
the UN, the ROC also lost its membership in many other international organizations.
For example, despite being one of the twenty-three founding members of the General
Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the ROC was expelled from the organization in October 1971.14 In accordance with the zero-sum rule, the ROC also lost its
membership in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when
the PRC joined these two institutions.15 Having lost its diplomatic ties with other
states while losing membership in international organizations, Taipei was forced into
international isolation. A crisis of identity thus followed—the consequence of global
de-recognition was de-legitimization of the ROC government and the collapse of its
identity as the legitimate representative body of China.
Neither international isolation nor re-identifying the ROC was acceptable for
Taipei, and instead, Chiang Ching-kuo found a third way: “pragmatic diplomacy”
aimed at changing the international context for the ROC without challenging its
self-identification as the sole legitimate governing body of China.16 The essence of
this policy was to expand bilateral and multilateral trade, as well as cultural, technological, sports, and even military and political relationships. The channel was
economic diplomacy, while treating political reform and anti-communism as the
core means to acquire recognition.17 However, Taipei failed to secure recognition on
these terms. Due to the PRC’s strong opposition to the use of any names which had
official implications since they would represent a challenge to the PRC’s legitimacy
as the sole lawful government of China,18 Taiwan was during this period forced to
join and re-join ten governmental international organizations under the name of
“Chinese Taipei.”19
In this way, the world gradually turned to Beijing and recognized Beijing’s legitimate claim to represent the Chinese nation; Taipei’s insistence on representing the
nation became meaningless. Taipei’s identity based on its self-identification as the sole
legitimate representative body of China was de-recognized by the international community. This shows that a state’s self-identification is valid only when it is recognized
by the international society. This case also demonstrates that de-recognition could take
an identity apart, and when it happens, it could lead to an identity crisis for a state.
Yet history did not stop here. An identity is something we cannot live without—
Taipei could not preserve its identity and it needed to construct a new one.20 In
responding to the circumstance, Taipei re-identified itself in relation to the PRC and
even in relation to the idea of China. It started a new journey to acquire international
recognition for its new self-identification.

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158  ✻  Yana Zuo

II. 1988–2000: Pursuing Dual Recognition
After Chiang Ching-kuo’s sudden death in 1988, he was succeeded by Lee Teng-hui.
Lee identified the ROC and the PRC as equals, sharing the sovereignty of China.
While accepting the PRC’s legitimacy in the mainland, Taipei now attempted to
operate in the international community as an equal of the PRC, rather than claiming
that it legitimately represented the whole nation of China. Lee Teng-hui’s primary
policy was to keep the ROC “alive” in the international community.21 The strategy
was labeled “dual recognition.” This position reflected a move away from the previous
position: the ROC was no longer the sole legitimate government of China and the PRC
was not an illegitimate entity that had usurped power. Beijing strongly re-affirmed
the “one China” policy and successfully blocked Taipei’s access to the international
community as an independent and sovereign entity. Although Taiwan successfully
won the world’s sympathy for its political reforms and economic miracles, it was not
able to win recognition diplomatically.
Lee used the vast resources of government to expand Taiwan’s international relations and stressed the political separateness of the two regimes.22 In order to acquire
diplomatic recognition as an equal of Beijing, Taipei was actively seeking to join
international organizations and to develop diplomatic relationship with other states.
Lee’s first step was to send delegates to attend the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB)
conference held in Beijing. This was the first time the ROC sent delegates since the
bank changed the ROC’s name to “Taipei, China” after the PRC won its bid for the
membership in 1986.23
Since 1991, Taiwan has also tried to re-join the UN, and in 1993, seven LatinAmerican countries that have diplomatic relations with Taiwan sent a letter to UN
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali urging him to put the matter of Taiwan
on the agenda of the UN General Assembly. The newsletter issued by the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on September 22, 1994 emphasized that “Our attempt
to rejoin the UN does not challenge the CCP government’s membership in the UN,
neither does it exclude the unification of China.”24 However, Taipei’s application
was not successful.
In another effort to achieve “dual recognition” and cohabit with the PRC in
the international community, the ROC used “dollar diplomacy.” Its main targets
were Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and Africa. Beginning in 1993,
the ROC adopted a “Go South” policy to encourage Taiwan’s businesses to invest
in Southeast Asia. The “Go South” policy did not bring the ROC a diplomatic
breakthrough due to Southeast Asian countries’ insistence on “separating politics
and economics”—­economically, they tried to absorb Taiwan’s investments, and
politically, they remained faithful to the PRC’s interpretation of the “one China”
policy and recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government. Taipei failed to be
recognized as an equal of Beijing.
The “dollar diplomacy” in Central and South America and some African states
was also challenged by Beijing. The PRC’s economic growth in the last few decades

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Self-Identification, Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  159
made it possible for Beijing to also play “dollar diplomacy” in relation to the same
parts of the world. The competition from Beijing was massive and consequently the
ROC, by the end of Lee’s tenure, had lost most of its formal diplomatic ties in Africa,
including its strongest ally, South Africa. Taipei did not have any breakthrough on
the diplomatic front.
With the lifting of Martial Law in 1987, Taiwan gradually transformed its political
system into a democratic one, and it was recognized by the international community
as one of the most vivid democracies in Asia.25 In 1993, the Clinton administration
reviewed its Taiwan policy and reported to Congress on September 27, 1994 with
the conclusion that the island had made remarkable political and economic progress
and that, in light of this fact, it was wrong to maintain the same stance to the ROC
as in 1979. There were voices urging support for “the other China.”26 If the US interests were well served by supporting democracy and human rights abroad, as most
Americans believed, then such support must entail treating the ROC and its leaders
with respect and dignity.27
President Clinton agreed to issue a visa to Lee Teng-hui for a visit to his alma
mater, Cornell University, on May 22, 1995. As Lee made clear, the purpose of his
trip was to “win international recognition of Taiwan as a political entity.”28 On June
9, 1995, he delivered an Olin Lecture titled “What the People Want Is Always in
My Heart.” Here Lee appealed to the international community to treat the ROC
in Taiwan “fairly and reasonably.” In his conclusion, Lee highlighted that he acted
“with the people in my heart” and that he knew what his people would like to say
to the world: “We are here to stay; we stand ready to help; and we look forward to
sharing the fruits of our democratic triumph.”29
Lee Teng-hui’s visit to the United States in 1995 ignited the PRC government’s
anger. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) carried out large military maneuvers
in July 1995 and March 1996, involving missile launches and live-fire tests in areas
within one hundred miles of Taiwan.30 The reason for this anger is perhaps explained
by Qian Qichen, the PRC’s vice premier and foreign minister at that time, who noted
in his autobiography, Ten Stories of a Diplomat, that Lee’s visit to the United States
broke a seventeen-year record of no visits to the United States from Taiwan’s highestranking governmental official. He continues that the PRC considered this event as a
provocation and counter-attacked accordingly.31 Qian himself called the American
ambassador J. Stapleton Roy on May 23 and protested vigorously against the US
decision to grant Lee a visa; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC announced
that the minister of defense’s scheduled visit to the United States would be suspended
and mutual, ministry-level visits and other negotiations were canceled. On June 16,
the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Li Daoyu, informed the United States
about the very serious and negative consequences caused by Lee Teng-hui’s visit.
The Taiwanese journalist Huiying Zhang argues that the PRC was fairly tolerant of Lee’s efforts to expand Taiwan’s space in the international community before
his visit to the United States in 1995, given that the PRC was so concerned about
cleaning up its image as a brutal regime after the Tiananmen incident.32 Immediately

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 159

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established a diplomatic relationship with the mainland in 1992. can in no way be an equal of the PRC or the legal international representative of the island of Taiwan. as the defeated side in the Civil War. For the PRC. broke those relations with Taiwan and recognized the PRC in 1997. South Africa. Taipei’s attempt to reformulate its identity turned the question of Taiwan’s status into a salient issue on Beijing’s agenda.” and the people “in his heart” were those living in Taiwan. they chose to avoid such a scenario. it is reported that Clinton passed a letter to Jiang Zemin in 1995 explicitly stating that the United States did not support a “one China. the most influential nationstate still maintaining diplomatic relations with the ROC. Taipei’s effort to cohabit with the PRC and gain global “dual recognition” was unsuccessful. From Taipei’s perspective.37 However. South Korea. Beijing’s refusal to recognize Taiwan’s new identity. The PRC started to further tighten its Taiwan policy.160  ✻  Yana Zuo after Lee’s visit to the United States. one Taiwan” policy or a “two Chinas” policy. Lee did not attempt to represent “all Chinese people. and the CCP government became less tolerant toward Taipei’s effort to raise its international profile. particularly after 2000 when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the presidential election. the last country in Asia to maintain diplomatic relationship with Taipei. Taipei moved away from the position that it was the sole legitimate government of China and re-identified itself as an equal of Beijing in the international community. By the same token. particularly after Lee’s 1995 visit to the United States. The PRC’s refusal to renegotiate the ROC’s identity did not prevent the latter from insisting on a re-identification and this further formalized the split. the ROC’s goal of achieving equal international recognition with the PRC had failed.indb 160 4/18/11 12:36 PM .33 Also the United States did not support Taiwanese independence or Taiwanese membership in organizations requiring statehood. and only the PRC. Lindemann & Ringmar. the cross-strait debates still involved a competition between political regimes. the battle across the Taiwan Strait was over once it had accepted the PRC’s legitimacy in the mainland. for Beijing. The PRC’s response shocked the United States. Lee’s visit to the United States and its subsequent consequences made most states realize that Lee’s visits to other countries would impact their relationships with the PRC and would also possibly affect the stability of the Asia-Pacific region and even the world. The PRC’s refusal to renegotiate Taipei’s position was based on its long-held position that the PRC. could represent the Chinese nation. As a result.34 The policy was later made official during the 1997 Clinton-Jiang summit and it became known as the “three no’s” promise.36 During Lee’s administration. and after rounds of direct confrontations with the PRC. By 2000 when Lee stepped down as the ROC’s president. Inevitably this reaction prevented Lee from exerting his strength to further lift Taiwan’s international profile.35 Lee Teng-hui’s 1995 visit to the United States served as the dividing point for the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship and also for Taipei’s international space. the PRC started to put limits on Taiwan’s role on the global stage. And the ROC. this new position seemed to be even less acceptable because it threatened to divide China. blocked Taipei’s access to the international society. This effectively broke US relations with Taiwan.

2000–2008: Seeking Taiwanese Independence In 2000. Beijing was using its political leverage to develop and expand contacts with Taipei’s friends in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2003.42 At the same time.” 38 According to Taipei’s reports on foreign policy. The Taiwanese government took the opportunity to proclaim that “health is not a political issue. Taipei merely set the goal as “consolidating the existing diplomatic relationships.” the summary of the ROC’s reports on foreign relations do not effectively demonstrate that Taipei had a clear goal about what it intended to achieve and how it was going to achieve it. In an effort to acquire international recognition for its radical position on Taiwan’s relationship with the mainland.” in order to join the WHO. Yet Taipei’s dollar diplomacy did not serve as an effective strategy to acquire international recognition for its self-defined sovereignty and independent status. Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  161 III.39 For state-to-state diplomatic relations. Taipei did not make any real progress in its formal diplomatic relationship with individual states. This development ended over half a century of KMT rule in Taiwan. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) broke out in both Mainland China and Taiwan.45 The Foundation of Medical Professionals Alliance in Taiwan also worked on a project called “Taiwan for the WHO”: it argued that Taiwan’s absence from the WHO was an abuse of “Taiwanese human rights.”41 Taipei still invested heavily in developing diplomatic relationships with other states.indb 161 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the DPP government drew contrasts between “democratic and peace-loving Taiwan” and China—“the biggest threat to the regional stability and a rogue state. Taipei started to make a bid to re-enter the WHO in 1997. Lindemann & Ringmar.43 During Chen’s tenure from May 2000 to May 2008. such as the anti-terror war. In September 2004. disease and medical care have no national boundaries. it also lost its membership in the WHO. The PRC was taking advantage of its fast-growing economy and stepped up its dollar diplomacy program. Taiwan’s pro-independence party. and the PRC’s economy was far stronger.Self-Identification. the DPP government explicitly identified Taiwan as a sovereign and independent state from China and tried to expand its international role.”46 Taipei was also keen to link its WHO bid with other events in world affairs. one of Taipei’s formal diplomatic allies. Having moved a step forward from Lee Teng-hui’s position. apart from some vague statements such as “upgrading our relationship with other states. When the ROC left the UN. The ROC’s identity has undergone substantial change ever since. won the ROC presidency with the election of Chen Shui-bian. and the World Health Organization (WHO) was a primary target. the main strategy of the DPP government from 2000 to 2007 was to participate in international organizations. although the island was experiencing an economic downturn. which could have seriously affected Taiwan’s ability to act on the world stage as well as its international status. in order to gain further ­leverage.40 In the foreign policy reports.44 Taipei knocked on the doors of key international institutions. the DPP. Beijing sent a peacekeeping team to Haiti. This could have potentially diminished Taipei’s diplomatic ties with other states.

Christensen also said that “frontal assaults on Beijing’s sensitivities are bound to fail and. and . With its fast-growing economic and political power.” In President Chen Shui-bian’s letter to Ban Ki-Moon and Wang Guangya—the PRC’s ambassador to the UN. they received little recognition from outsiders. leave Taipei further behind.”51 Taipei’s effort to obtain international recognition as an independent and sovereign state fuels conflicts across the Taiwan Strait.”53 Despite all the efforts the DPP government made to consolidate an independent Taiwanese identity. and peace” and its “identity is denied and security threatened” since it was excluded from the UN. if it is still left out of the doors of important international organizations. at the end of the day. human rights.”47 Taipei called for each country to “apply its moral conscience when considering whether to support Taiwan’s bid.” Chen characterized Taiwan as “a country that advocates the universal values of freedom.indb 162 4/18/11 12:36 PM . or the Republic of China. even for the United States—­supporting Lindemann & Ringmar.” but due to WHO’s requirement for membership—statehood—the PRC blocked the bid. Beijing successfully blocked Taipei’s bids to join any international organizations that required statehood. “Membership in the United Nations requires statehood. Taipei pursued its membership in the WHO under the name of “Taiwan.” which was unfair. . despite the fact that Beijing had stressed that the issue was a domestic one that should be left to the Chinese across the strait to deal with. Taiwan. “While global terrorism rises. democracy.”48 From 2007. . not eligible to participate [in the UN] in whatever name and under whatever pretext. who also served as rotating president of the UN Security Council—in July 2007. Chen first condemned the international community for not respecting the dignity of Taiwan’s people and labeled Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN as “political apartheid. Taipei also sought membership in the United Nations. . Beijing strongly rejected any attempt to renegotiate Taiwan’s identity in relation to China—the “one China” policy could not possibly be altered. which recognizes the PRC as the lawful representative of the Chinese nation to the world body. .50 Chen’s letter to Ban Ki-Moon was returned by the UN citing the UN’s General Assembly Resolution 2758(XXVI).”52 The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas J. Wang Guangya commented that Beijing firmly opposed Taipei’s “blatant attempt at splitting China.162  ✻  Yana Zuo As the Foundation of Medical Professionals argued. . The US National Security Council Acting Senior Director Dennis Wilder said at a White House press conference. Beijing pressed the United States to intervene against Taipei’s moves to drag Taiwan further away from China. is not at this point a state in the international community. After all. “incomprehensible and unbearable. What made the DPP government’s bid historic was that the DPP re-identified Taiwan’s position and sought to join the UN under the name of “Taiwan. .49 This was not a new policy—the KMT government attempted to rejoin the UN since 1993. an independent Taiwan was not compatible with the interests of other states. Taiwan may become a dangerous missing part of the worldwide anti-terrorism network. it is .” and he added that “Taiwan is part of China .

Self-Identification.” Beijing fiercely objected to this new position. Taipei’s series of moves made Beijing less confident about the future of the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship.” promoting peaceful national reunification.” Taiwan and China. part of the old “self. Lindemann & Ringmar. and it is effectively a form of self-denial—Mainland China.54 Just before the election in February 2000. and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation. the Taiwan Affair’s Office of the State Council published a white paper with the title “The One-China Principle and the Taiwan Issue. This development demonstrates that when a state’s identity based on its self-identification clashes with how others define it. The PRC. although greater integration in both social and economic spheres generated hope within the PRC government that time might be on its side. Taipei identified the issue as one concerning Taiwan’s survival as an independent and sovereign nation. preserving China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. which is subject to no interference by any outside forces. Taipei once again failed to gain diplomatic recognition in the international community. to one in which China’s sovereignty was shared between Taipei and Beijing. it may lead to instabilities and conflicts. and the relationship across the strait went from bad to worse. By questioning and denying China’s sovereignty over Taiwan. This was the first time that Beijing attempted to solve the cross-Taiwan Strait problems under a legal framework.indb 163 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and its joint efforts with the United States. maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  163 Taipei involved inflaming relations with the PRC and the cost was simply too high. the DPP intends to legitimize its long-pursued identity for Taiwan—a sovereign and independent state. But Taipei’s efforts to differentiate itself from the mainland and diminish its Chineseness proved increasingly unsettling for Beijing. still failed to prevent the DPP government from carrying on with its attempts to acquire international recognition as an independent state. the policy of the DPP government failed.”57 The DPP re-drew the boundary between self and other—the demarcation under Chen’s administration was between two separate “nations. and further to the view that China’s sovereignty does not include Taipei.” has actually become the “other. the gradual change in Taipei’s self-identification exhausted Beijing’s patience and the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship became increasingly bitter. emphasizing the theoretical point that a state’s claim on its identity is weak as long as it remains unrecognized by others. Indeed. which glorified China.”56 It clarified that “Solving the Taiwan question and achieving national reunification is China’s internal affair. However.” and raised the three “ifs. Without recognition from outsiders. Taipei had gone far beyond what Beijing was willing to tolerate. The purpose of this law was “opposing and checking Taiwan’s secession from China.55 Beijing also issued a law banning secession. This represents a radical shift from the original position in 1949. China’s sovereignty had gone through dramatic changes in Taipei’s narratives since the 1940s—from the position that China’s sovereignty could not be divided and was represented by Taipei. and it was the Hu Jintao administration’s first step toward approaching the Taiwan issue.” reiterating the conditions under which the PRC would use military forces to block Taiwan’s separation.

none of the aforementioned properties that the government in Taipei has attributed to Taiwan are effectual. in comparison to the other “divided nations” after the WWII. neither side denied their German identity. The shift of a state’s self-identification calls for changes of external recognition. The nature of identification determines how the boundaries of the self are drawn.” in Wendt’s term. the very nature of the division was revolving around their social identities. Taipei has gone beyond identity enhancement or preservation—it re-drew the boundary between “self” and “other. To form an identity.60 Since mainstream constructivists do not examine identity through a historical lens. A state’s struggle for external recognition based on its self-identification has huge impacts on international relations—once rejected.59 People attribute identity in the process of social interaction—a people claim their identity and audiences make judgments about the claimant. external recognition matters a great deal to a state’s identity. Lindemann & Ringmar. instability and insecurity might set in. new recognition is needed. Even before the unification had taken place. they cannot explain identity change and its impact on international relations. and it failed to operate as an independent and sovereign state under the DPP government. it failed to cohabit with Beijing as “an equal” in international society under Lee’s tenure. How a state identifies itself is meaningless when they are not recognized by others—it does not matter whether the non-recognition is caused by de-recognition or an inability to acquire recognition in the first place. Identity construction is an ongoing and fluid process. The attributes embedded in an identity are not stagnant.61 This new development reflected the anomalous nature of the Taiwan case.” Taipei’s self-identification has changed dramatically. Identities do indeed have historical roots and they evolve across time. Although scholars such as Gebhard Schweigler62 argued that separate identities were formed in two Germanys. and when a state reidentifies itself. From “the sole legitimate government of China” to “Taipei and Beijing are equals” to “Taiwan is sovereign and independent from China. The success of this process always depends on how the self is being seen and judged. the members of a group need to identify with each other to form a “self” and also identify against out-groups to form an “other” (or “others”). Without external recognition.” Taipei was in essence attempting to re-identify its “corporate identity. Although fully equipped with ideological clashes. neither of the Koreas denied their Koreanness. Taipei failed to acquire diplomatic recognition in the international community—it failed to maintain its position as the “the sole legitimate government of China” in the early days.164  ✻  Yana Zuo Conclusion As this chapter has demonstrated. The Germans moved far ahead.indb 164 4/18/11 12:36 PM .58 Identification is more about the image “we” portray in the eyes of others—the process of identification involves how “others” see and judge “our” self-recognition. It is particularly true when the shift of self-identification involves self/other boundary re-drawing. Neither of them was attempting to alter their corporate identity and their Germanness.

the soul of them. Thomas Lindemann. both Taipei and Beijing defined themselves as the legitimate government representing the whole nation of China and the other one as an illegal and illegitimate entity. Self—the ROC—does not include the mainland any more since then. the cross-Taiwan Strait confrontation would not demise.Self-Identification. Kuomingtang. 2. 1. How will the KMT prepare for the next presidential election and react to the DPP’s identity politics while Ma’s popularity plummets because of Taiwan’s deteriorating economy. Foreign Ministry of the PRC 2000. Hopf 2002. Taipei and Beijing are jointly making efforts to break the deadlock again since the KMT took the office in 2008 with the election of Ma Ying-jeou. 4. can eventually come together. Taiwan’s return to its conventional Chinese identity is called for to prevent cross-strait conflicts. Germany’s unification showed that differences embedded in social identities do not prevent national unification—two political entities who recognize the common corporate identify. The leaderships across the Taiwan Strait are still facing severe tests. Notes I would like to express my gratitude to Shuyong Guo. it is hard to believe that the cross-Taiwan Strait relationship is going to be smooth from now on and that “Chinese Taipei” is the permanent solution for the cross debates over Taiwan’s identity. For a long period of time since 1949. The relationship across the Taiwan Strait has been intensified due to Taipei’s radical move to re-identify itself. The conception of “self” remains the same for Beijing. Ma’s administration re-identifies Taiwan’s future with the mainland and pulled back from the DPP’s radical independent position to the conception of “Greater China. An independent Taiwan clashes with how Beijing sees Taiwan’s identity in relation to the mainland.indb 165 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and Erik Ringmar for their insightful comments. Beijing rejects being excluded from “self” and rejects Taipei’s new demarcation between the mainland and Taiwan. However. The very start of Taiwan’s attempt to alter the conventional corporate identity of being a Chinese state was during Lee Teng-hui’s tenure. Lindemann & Ringmar. Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  165 The Chinese case paralleled the other aforementioned cases until the early 1990s. along with the recent global financial crisis? How will Beijing handle issues with regard to Taiwan’s membership in international organizations while it has to maintain a benevolent interaction with Taipei? As long as there is a chance that Taipei would struggle for international recognition for an independent identity. Bukovansky 1999. also known as the Chinese Nationalist Party. 3. which still identified itself as the legitimate governing body of the Chinese nation. when the ROC government first retreated to Taiwan. John Pella. CCP: the Chinese Communist Party. KMT.” Taipei accepted the WHO’s invitation to join the organization under the name of “Chinese Taipei” in May 2009. Richard Little.

See Bush 2004. as two states. 31. Referring to the ROC. but Jingguo was the head of the Executive Yuan and the real leader of the ROC from the mid-1960s. Chiang. Emphasis added. 24. Zhang 1996. 28. 11. localization of the KMT. Lee 2004. 19. Garver 2000. Chang 1995. 17. 33. Tien 1989. 32. Taipei did not attend the annual conferences until 1989 as a gesture of protest against the ADB’s decision to lower its international status. and so on.166  ✻  Yana Zuo 5. Chiang Ching-kuo. Romberg 2003. See Taylor 2000. 26. Tien 1989. For example. 23. Qian 2003. Kan 2007. 27. Su 2003. 10. Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1994. quoted in Bush 2004. Romberg 2003. 14. Washington proposed a concept of “divided China” and suggested the creation of a new member in the UN for Beijing. resolved to abolish the Temporary Provisions Lindemann & Ringmar. Cai and Wu 1989. 34. 15. Lee 1999. 13. See Zhang 1996. and the Kennedy and Johnson administrations proposed more substantial approaches with the main points that the ROC and the PRC. 12. The ROC had been a member of the ADB since 1966. See Taylor 2000 for details about the US involvement in the post WWII KMT-CCP conflict. For example. direct presidential elections. For more details about the process of democratization in Taiwan. 30. Guibernau 1999. it was the vice president Yan Jiagan who succeeded. 170–190. Taylor 2000. Also it is worth noting that the Chinese version for Chinese Taipei is different across the strait—Zhonghua Taipei in Taiwan and Zhongguo Taipei in the mainland. Wei 1993. 25. 62. The former is more of a cultural/ethnic term and the latter is more of a political term. 20. 18. Chiang 1971. see Chao and Myers 1994. 29. 2002. 37. Key steps of Taiwan’s democratization include: legalizing opposition parties. 243. 6. 14 16. Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2008. See Cai and Wu 1989. 36. 83.11–36 7. Chiang Kai-shek’s son. The National Assembly on April 22. took the presidency in 1978. Under the Eisenhower administration. 8. Lee 1995. a term used in the Senate Report. 1991. 14. 115–122. 21. 108. See Tien 1989. When Chiang Kai-shek died in 1975. See Chao et al. the name of the ROC would not be acceptable for Beijing. 262.indb 166 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Chiang 1967. 9. 2. had succeeded China. 35. 22.

for example. Government Information Office 2004. Lindemann & Ringmar. 62. a standard usage within the field of China studies.Self-Identification. and self-organizing in quality. such as state identity 55.222. 44. Chad (the second time). There are certainly other sources pushing Taipei to re-identify itself.imf. intrinsic. 54. 56. 46. including both social and cultural factors as well as political factors. Nauru. 1. Chineseness. Christensen 2007. Dumbaugh and Sullivan 2005. 384–396. “[I]f a grave turn of events occurs leading to the separation of Taiwan from China in any name. For more details. 50. Chien 2002 and Tung 2007. 43. The GDP (in US $billion) of Taiwan and the mainland between 2003 and 2008 is as follows: 305.3/3. See for example. Macedonia. 45. Grenada. 40.” Taiwan Affairs Office and Information Office of the State Council 2000. 57.931.indb 167 4/18/11 12:36 PM .0. 42.641. see Zuo 2009. Lee Teng-hui announced that it would be terminated on May 1. 48. 61..1/1.8. The Congressional Research Service Report. 331. it is constitutionally exogenous to otherness and represents only one aspect of a state’s identity. is singular. 47. including the use of force. Ibid. The MOFA’s newsletters revealed that during this period of time. 356. 51. See Xie 2009. in Wendt’s discussions. Senegal. Anti-Secession Law: article 1. see http://www. Arguments along this line were drawn by various Taiwanese leaders.2/2. Tien 2000.1/4.4. the peaceful settlement of cross-Straits reunification through negotiations. See NCP 2005. to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and fulfill the great cause of reunification. Schweigler 1975. Costa Rica and Malawi switched their recognition from Taipei to Beijing.235. Hsu 2007. Figures are from the World Bank statistics.5/2. For example Huang 2006. the Gilbert Islands. Libya (the third time). Added emphasis. and on April 30. Chen 2007. Dominica. it is the “site” or “platform” for other identities. 383.657. switched from Beijing to Taipei with Nauru also re-recognizing Taipei in 2005.org/external/ ns/cs. Ibid. 49. See Wendt 1994.8. 58. 365. Saint Lucia. describes everything Chinese. Wang 2007. 41. 424. Taiwan was invited by the WHO to join the organization as an observer in May 2009. or if Taiwan is invaded and occupied by foreign countries. See. Foundation of Medical Professional Alliance in Taiwan 2008. Government Information Office 2003.aspx?id=28. sine die. See Wendt 1994.4/1. 4–5. 38. 52. then the Chinese government will only be forced to adopt all drastic measures possible. Corporate identity.280. 53. However. 59. 39. Recognition and Conflicts  ✻  167 Effective during the Period of Communist Rebellion. such as domestic politics and structural forces.6. 60. ibid. article 3. or if the Taiwan authorities refuse. Ibid.2.

“U.” http://www . Richard C.” Review of International Studies 25 (2): 197–216. President Chen Shui-bian’s Letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon. Hsu. 2002. Lindemann & Ringmar. Chao. 2000. Seattle: University of Washington Press.168  ✻  Yana Zuo Bibliography Bukovansky. Kerry. “Russian Identity and Russian Foreign Policy in Estonia and Uzbekistan. Taipei: Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Evaluations and Suggestions on Foreign Relations of the ROC. Face Off: China. 121–23. “The Harm of Taiwanese Human Right.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/join_who/2003/who12. Kai-shek. Taipei: ROC Office of the President. Mlada. Boulder: Westview Press. and Taiwan’s Democratization.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 15 (1): 115–122. 2004. 2007.-Taiwan Business Council. 63–90. and Rongxi Wu.asp?id=3. Guibernau.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942. 2008. ———. 2007. “Support Taiwan’s entry into the World Health Organization.” In ROC White Papers on Defense and Foreign Policy. Bush. Zhengwen.tw/taiwan-website/5-gp/join_who/2004/who11. 147–72. Chiang. Montserrat. Thomas J. 259–263. Christensen. 2000.” In Qin Xiao-Yi: The Thoughts and Speeches Collection of President Chiang Kai-shek. 1986–1994. “A China Divided Since the Turnover of Political Power in Taiwan. Foundation of Medical Professional Alliance in Taiwan. Government Information Office.” Taiwan Journal. edited by Celeste A.S. Jaw-ling.S. “Address to the Nation on the Withdrawal from the United Nations. At Cross Purposes: U. the United States.org.” In The Sources Of Russian Foreign Policy After The Cold War. Sharpe. Taipei: Yeqiang Publishing House. Ramon Myers. 2004. “How Clinton Bashed Taiwan—and Why.tw/chinese/say/say_area/content. Taipei: Executive Yuan. Ted. Wallander and Anne Wildermuth. 2003. Nations without States: Political Communities in a Global Age. CRS Report for Congress.gio. Identities and Foreign Policies. Shui-bian. 1994. “The Altered State and the State of Nature: The French Revolution and International Politics. ———. 1995. The ROC’s 2002 Report on Foreign Policy. Official’s Comments on Taiwan’s Status Cause Uproar.taiwan-for-who. Japan. China’s Growing Interest in Latin America. ROC/Archives 34.” http://www. Social Construction of International Politics.htm. Chao. 1989. Dumbaugh. “A Strong and Moderate Taiwan U.S. 1967. 2005.indb 168 4/18/11 12:36 PM .gio. Linda. Garver. Chen. ———. Foreign Ministry of the PRC. and Ramon Myers. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. the Minister of Foreign Ministry. and Mark P. Hopf. Cai.gov. H. Allen. September 6. ROC/Archives 40. Moscow 1955 and 1999. 2002. Armonk: M.htm. Taipei: Executive Yuan. 2007. “Health for All: Let Taiwan Join the Who. John W.” In Qin Xiao-Yi: The Thoughts and Speeches Collection of President Chiang Kai-shek. The PRC’s Glorious Journey on Developing Foreign Relations. Linda. and Jialin Zhuang. “An Excerpt from Jiang’s Meeting with Sado.gov. “The First Chinese Democracy: Political Development of the Republic of China on Taiwan. 1999. 1999. Chien You-hsin. 2002.” Asia Survey 34 (3): 213–230.” Annapolis: American Institute in Taiwan. Sullivan. 1996. Cambridge: Polity.” http:// www. Chang. 1971.” Orbis 39 (4).E.

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Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 170 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

individual choices by states and their national identity do not heavily matter.Chapter 9 Recognition. and the non-proliferation regime is the device states have found to tackle this problem.indb 171 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and Proliferation Crises Alexandre Hummel Nuclear proliferation is generally seen as a security problem. both schools of thought share a common rationalist. their alliances. the Non-Proliferation Regime. which is an amended version of the security dilemma: a mechanistic increase in states’ military capabilities provoked by a spiral of reciprocal fear and hostility. For most proliferation analysts. Liberals are somewhat more optimistic and think that an effective regime can be decisive in avoiding a suboptimal situation of generalized proliferation. what is most important is the geo-strategic position of states. and costs when considering nuclearization and/or adhesion to the non-proliferation regime. and the state of the international non-proliferation regime. Realists stress that states in a threatening environment will inevitably seek a nuclear security guarantee that can only be obtained through nuclearization or alliance with a nuclear power. are most commonly explained with at least some reference to the notion of “threat. or to prevent other states from acquiring them. “strategic-chain reaction” will take place because acquisition of nuclear weapons by a state is likely to provoke repercussions elsewhere. States that do not want nuclear weapons have every 171 Lindemann & Ringmar. Nevertheless.” The idea that nuclear weapons are a response to a threat and themselves create threats for others is at the core of the “proliferation” concept. and decisions by states to develop nuclear weapons. rewards. utility-maximizing perspective about nuclear choices: states will balance between threats. According to this conventional logic.

which means that international tension can exist and grow in ways that a purely security-based approach would not have expected. States that do want nuclear weapons will only join the regime to cheat and will try to violate it at a lesser cost and maximum benefit. In such a case. this should not be a problem: these states will comply because it is in their interest to do so.172  ✻  Alexandre Hummel incentive to join the nuclear non-proliferation regime and to strengthen it in order to avoid nuclearization by their neighbors. This is especially true when the state suspected of regime-violating behavior claims a very elevated self-image. and considerations about international fairness. especially when a vast majority of states in the world are not engaged in any sense toward nuclearization but nevertheless face pressure and increasingly stringent controls. I want to show that choices about non-conventional weapons are not only a response to threats or inducements but also involve patterns of recognition-denial and face-saving. I argue that proliferation crises—when two or more states enter a confrontation because of proliferation. a closer look at the symbolic side of the story shows that the current status of the regime is deeply resented outside of the Western world. In other words. In this chapter. real or suspected—are not only caused by security considerations but also frequently encompass emotional dimensions. national identity conceptions. According to a traditional perspective. there is some evidence that.indb 172 4/18/11 12:36 PM . This is because simply giving in to the international diktat Lindemann & Ringmar. This is particularly true in the nuclear field because the non-proliferation regime is one of the very few examples of discrimination in international law. it therefore inevitably clashes with a central feature of the international scene: the myth of sovereign equality. an important feature of this debate in the post-1991 world is how a vast ensemble of states feels genuinely hurt by the inconsistencies of non-proliferation and the attitude of the nuclear weapon states (NWS) that emphasize a tough line on counter-proliferation while keeping and developing their own nuclear arsenals. the wide gap between the lowly status of a “rogue” state and claimed identity can encourage leaders to engage in confrontational behavior that one cannot only explain through material considerations. These crises can be precipitated and aggravated by patterns of struggle for recognition. they also increasingly resent the unfairness of counter-proliferation policies. Non-proliferation advocates thus concentrate their efforts on the strengthening of verification provisions in order to distinguish cheaters from honest participants. for example. while many states are truly committed to non-proliferation. This tension if further aggravated by the symbolic dimension that nuclear weapons have taken—states tend to be far more passionate in this field than a cold-blooded security analysis would suggest. Such normative inconsistencies can be considered a source of symbolic violence. a key cause in the failure of the 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference where states were not even able to agree on an agenda due to acrimonious disagreements. However. This chapter focuses far more on states’ individual choices. Approaches focusing on recognition-denial and symbolic violence can thus be mobilized to understand even hard-core security problems like tensions linked to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Indeed. Normative frustration was.

there is wide acceptance of a norm that is first declaratory: states will not openly recognize that they seek nuclear weapons or even that they want to obtain a military nuclear capability. the spread of nuclear weapons was not viewed as a particularly horrendous thing. countries like France and the People’s Republic of China were openly proclaiming. I will first detail how the normative context surrounding nuclear weapons and non-proliferation can be a source of frustration and resentment for states. The second is the case of states that may twist toward a quest of nuclear weapons at least in part as a tool for self-affirmation. The first is the case of states that may fail to comply with the non-proliferation regime despite having no military nuclear ambitions. while the ones that have been the most eager to cooperate are states with a freshly renewed self-image—South Africa. At the same time. especially if allies were concerned. exceptional country. export controls or the proposed Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). I will then present two paths that can lead to increased international tension and proliferation crises at least in part through the struggle for recognition. This pattern could explain why most proliferation crises since the 1960s have involved countries with a peculiar sense of national identity. the NPT has gained almost universal adherence and was extended indefinitely in 1995.Recognition. The Setting: Normative Ambiguities and Nuclear Weapons (Non-) Proliferation On the surface. Proliferation was unanimously labeled as a “threat to international peace and security” by the Security Council in 2004. reflecting an international consensus on this point. Ukraine. which all start from the premise that an increase in the number of states armed with nuclear weapons would be detrimental to regional and global security.1 This widespread agreement has been progressively emerging and reinforcing itself since the middle of the 1960s when the idea of non-proliferation first took off as an international priority. If a state sees itself as a proud. India was the first country to proclaim that its test was a “peaceful nuclear explosion. nuclear weapons free zones (NWFZ). The main evidence pointing to the existence of a taboo stigmatizing open declaration of nuclear ambitions is the fact that all nuclear powers outside of the five NWS took great care to dissimulate the true nature of their nuclear programs at least until their first nuclear tests. and only a few academics and military experts publicly endorse the opposite view that selective proliferation could act as a stabilizing force in the international system. It has been supplemented by other agreements like International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. The further spread of nuclear weapons is generally considered to be a bad thing. Since then. pressures exerted in the name of the non-proliferation regime thus have every chance to backfire. Belarus. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  173 would be equated with a loss of face.indb 173 4/18/11 12:36 PM . In 1974. their nuclear ambitions. and even boasting. and Kazakhstan all gave away their nuclear weapons in the early 1990s. Before that.” Israel has always refused to admit that it possesses Lindemann & Ringmar.

174  ✻  Alexandre Hummel a nuclear force. Proliferation is now opaque because it is widely considered to be bad.5 It can be described as an individual inclination for states to abstain from building nuclear weapons and to avoid helping other states to attain this goal. This does not mean that all states will refrain from building nuclear weapons all the time. The NPT is nowadays the arms-control agreement that is the closest to universality. Many pessimistic anticipations have indeed been proved wrong over the years.” is one of the main differences between the first nuclear era and the second nuclear age. as expressed by the rules specified in articles I and II of the NPT. Israel. or “opaque proliferation. Jumping through the threshold in 2006 has not significantly harmed North Korea’s situation. citing imperious security reasons and re-affirming their ultimate commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. It might even be in the established nuclear powers’ interest to assist the newcomers in order to obtain “safe” proliferation. The fight against proliferation is not always as intense as declarations of intentions suggest and at least depends on other strategic considerations. or at least that they say so. The wide diffusion and internalization of this belief would provide another explanation for the absence of proper nuclear “proliferation” that has puzzled strategic theorists since 1945. as evidenced by American cooperation with India.3 However. resorting to ambiguous statements.indb 174 4/18/11 12:36 PM . a quick look at recent history reveals that power politics alone cannot explain states’ unusual shyness when it comes to nuclear ambitions. forcing states to explore subterranean ways to procure nuclear materials and know-how in order to avoid sanctions and stigmatization. Even states that finally openly reveal their possession of nuclear weapons somehow feel the need to justify themselves. Ultimately. This attachment to ambiguity goes far beyond cosmetics as exemplified by the case of Mordechai Vanunu. According to this logic. prescriptive norm pushing aside the acquisition of a nuclear force. unilateral renunciations Lindemann & Ringmar. an Israeli citizen who was convicted of treason and espionage and served eighteen years in prison for revealing details of the country’s nuclear program. it seems more prudent for most states not to embark on the nuclearization course. The South African nuclear program was also kept clandestine until its dismantlement was announced in 1993. and Pakistan. This pattern of concealment. as nuclear weapons have actually been spreading quite slowly.2. successful proliferators have been tacitly accepted into the nuclear club even by the most vocal proponent of counter-proliferation. denial of military intentions and concealment of existing weapons could also signal the existence of a wider. or that nuclear weapons possession is stigmatized. NWFZ. if non-proliferation is valued by the great powers to the point that they are ready to intervene militarily to defend it.4 Since the fight against proliferation is not always as resolute as it may seem at first. This necessity for proliferators to hide before crossing the threshold and to justify themselves afterward is usually explained by the fact that most great powers place non-proliferation as one of their top foreign policy priorities and are ready to punish states seen as embarking on nuclearization. but rather that a vast majority of states do not consider nuclearization as a legitimate option and expect their counterparts to do the same. with 191 state parties. for example—quite the contrary.

while many non-nuclear weapons states (NNWS) were increasingly sensible to radical Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) rhetoric. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  175 to nuclear weapons.11 Agreements that are deemed to be fair have. Indeed.indb 175 4/18/11 12:36 PM . states do not look only at their self-interest but pay attention to broader considerations of fairness. This failure of the review process is a direct result of the radicalization of positions on each side.7 The latter suggests the active repression of a drive to do something perceived as at least partly attractive. responsible nations. in many fields of international negotiation. while the former is a more passive or even unconscious decision not to do something. Nuclear abstention embedded in the NPT does not seriously constrain most states’ strategic choices and is therefore easily embraced. In 2005. and even the dismantling of existing arsenals are further signs pointing toward the rise of the abstention norm. a “standard of oughtness” offering states a possibility to affirm their identity as peaceloving.10 Empirical research has shown that. The regime is currently under strain with a widening rift between the nuclear “haves”—NWS.”12 The symbolic and emotional dimension renders the debates about the NPT more passionate and far-reaching than other arms-control issues. Another important difference between non-nuclearization and non-proliferation is that. and their allies—on one side. this possible abstention norm is somewhat different from the abstinence perspective found in most realist and liberal accounts of states without nuclear weapons. including the weak.6 The effectiveness of this norm and its constraining effect on state behavior are questionable since it has suffered notable exceptions. However. Western NWS refused to even consider discussion on nuclear disarmament. This abstention—or non-nuclearization—norm should be carefully distinguished from the non-proliferation regime that is partially built on it. Even a realist like Scott Sagan concurs in saying that “to be most effective over the long term.Recognition. or are not yet. even strong powers must craft their policies to take into account the ethical concerns of other actors. while the former is uncontroversially admitted. which is. but the opposite is impossible. especially the Western ones. Practical considerations Lindemann & Ringmar. on an equal-interest basis. whereas nuclear abstention is an individual prescription that states may feel is legitimate to respect independently of treaty provisions. States can adhere to the norm while rejecting the regime. A regime is an institution designed to allow and facilitate cooperation between states.8 This is exemplified by the attitude of states that claim to respect the norm even if they are not. members of the regime. this relative weakness actually contributes to its popularity because nuclear abstention is a cheap and easy way for most states to proclaim good faith and dedication to international peace. as many other norms. more chance of being accepted and implemented. and most states that respect it do not have the capacities or the utility to build nuclear weapons anyway. there is a growing disagreement between states on the latter. This trend was evidenced at the 2005 NPT Review Conference when states were unable to agree on a final document. and the “have-nots” on the other side.9 Things are further complicated by the fact that some non-proliferation regime specifications have become “symbols of condensation” in the international diplomatic arena—they have been reified and acquired a substance of their own.

or export controls. Here. for the radical NNWS. which is explicitly linked to the economic-development issue. the nuclear abstention norm can be superseded by considerations about sovereignty: a state may have no nuclear weapons but nevertheless be reluctant to dissipate suspicions because swift compliance with the regime would be seen as humiliating and detrimental to national independence. be only one element in a whole web of norms and rules dedicated to disarmament and development. pay great attention to provision about the “inalienable right” to the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.indb 176 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Hence. The disarmament component in non-proliferation has for example become a symbol of international equality and justice.” the idea that the problem is not so much nuclear weapons as the states that possess them. NNWS. as suggested by proliferation pessimists. This normative battle provides the setting for two paths that can lead to increased international tensions through patterns of struggle for recognition.15 This position is in sharp contradiction with the disarmament provisions in the NPT. especially those from the South. but also somewhat in disagreement with the non-proliferation grammar—the idea that every additional nuclearization is bad. Because of this normative row and the perceived unfairness of their attitude. a tool to tackle a security problem. These inconsistencies weaken the public position of NWS: they are increasingly perceived as following egoistically their national interest to the detriment of the common good. In extreme consequences. especially during multilateral meetings. non-nuclearization should. the main one being the issue of restrictive safeguards on nuclear installations promoted by Western NWS and denounced by the NAM as a violation of article IV. The gap between a widely accepted norm and a deficient regime can be interpreted as a source of symbolic violence. Similarly. This resentment is worsened by the fact that NWS pursue policies outside the regime that aggravate the existing discrimination between “haves” and “have-nots.” especially export controls and the Proliferation Security Initiative. This deep dichotomy between the “South” and the “West” leads to multiple divergences both inside and outside the regime.13 On the other hand. The first one happens when a state will respect the norm but refuse to comply with regime provisions because it feels that these violate its sovereignty.176  ✻  Alexandre Hummel are mixed with broader feelings about the international order. Other disagreements include the extent of sanctions. “political relativism. Western NWS are frequently under fire. whereas Western NWS see it primarily as an end in itself. a strong non-proliferation policy can hardly escape reflection on the dangers of all nuclear weapons. security guarantees.14 NWS ignore this abstract debate and continue to openly rely on deterrence while at the same time promoting stricter non-proliferation rules. Their position rests on an unresolved underlying tension—the contradiction between deterrence and non-proliferation. If one really believes in deterrence. a state might even prefer to refuse to acknowledge that it has no nuclear weapons in Lindemann & Ringmar. They resort to a third approach to the consequences of proliferation. The refusal of NWS to even discuss the question is therefore taken as an insult and easily leads to accusations of imperialism and arrogance that reveal resentment far beyond the issue of nuclear weapons. it is not coherent to oppose proliferation as deterrence optimists have long argued.

rather than to verification. A state may refuse to adhere to the NPT because it does not want any infringement on its sovereignty. or because it considers the ability to engage in whatever activity it likes its right. In order to fully understand this apparent enigma. Verification provisions are among the most wildly discussed. This reluctance to cooperate in the face of external pressure can lead to a spiral of suspicion and resentment. Unwillingness to comply with verification provisions of the non-proliferation regime when a state is not trying to violate the non-nuclearization norm cannot easily be explained by power or security considerations. with several cases of states suspected as proliferators actually having no intention to build nuclear weapons and no functioning program underway. if a state has nothing to hide.indb 177 4/18/11 12:36 PM . ­however. However.Recognition. States advocating a tougher line on proliferation and monitoring institutions hold the opposite view and promote a strengthening of verification provisions and safeguards to combat nuclear trafficking. or groups inside states. This debate about rules and procedures has for a long time been one of the most acrimonious within the non-proliferation regime and may explain why some states prefer to stay outside or on the margins of it. nuclear abstention is an individual prescription states feel is legitimate to respect. Heavy Words Are So Lightly Thrown: Proliferation Suspicions and National Pride As noted earlier. whereas the non-proliferation regime presents itself as a cooperation device designed to tackle agency problems like free-riding. because it is reluctant to have its sites visited by foreign inspectors at any time. with some states considering them insufficient and others finding them already too intrusive and in contradiction with NPT’s article IV. states would respect a norm that has been widely internalized. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  177 front of international pressure because to do so would be equated with a loss of face. but then ultimately feel frustrated by the balance between verification and assistance. feel that they suffer from recognition-denial because of the non-proliferation regime and therefore come to consider nuclearization as a tool for national affirmation. the IAEA should ideally be an institution dedicated mainly to assistance. it will have no difficulty cooperating with international monitoring agencies and will easily accept inspections on its soil. Lindemann & Ringmar. It is therefore possible to refuse monitoring of nuclear activities while harboring no real military intentions. According to the NAM line. its original mission. or at least a way to gain international attention. On the surface. one has to concentrate on patterns of recognition-denial and face-saving. A state may also ratify the NPT hoping to benefit from article IV’s provisions on free access to nuclear technology. the historical record reveals that this is not that simple. a way to redress the inequality inherent in the regime. Hence. a state may consider that the verification and monitoring provisions included in the regime are superfluous. or even that the regime itself is pointless because even in its absence. The second path happens when states. The underlying logic is that.

on the “usual suspects” list of proliferators. Argentina’s attitude is described by Jacques Hymans as a typical example of “sportsmanlike nationalism” where leaders will be very sensitive to national rights and autonomy while not seriously considering equipping themselves with a nuclear force. According to a former Atomic Energy Commission head. since clarification and pure compliance could be understood to mean a loss of face. there is at least one prominent example of a state refusing to fully cooperate with international inspectors while having no prohibited activities under way: Iraq. together with its neighbor Brazil. and no nuclear bomb program was launched. Argentina’s leaders refused to consider signing the NPT at the time of its inception—a move that would have been profitable to the national nuclear industry—because they felt this would mean a “diminution of [their] dignity. The 1990 agreement between Buenos Aires and Brasilia. The situation indeed appeared like a possible textbook-case of proliferation.indb 178 4/18/11 12:36 PM . during the lead-up to the 2003 war. Here again. and ultimately. The country was for more than twenty years. Clandestine research on uranium enrichment also caused concern. two states of concern were finally joining the non-proliferation regime. the most recent research on the Argentinean nuclear program reveals the absence of any coherent scheme to build a nuclear weapon. suspicion. were therefore generally saluted as successes of non-proliferation. Argentina is a good example of a state that has been unduly suspected of proliferation. The whole “carrot-and-sticks” approach to non-proliferation often privileged by Western experts can thus be considered humiliating by a state with a strong sense of national pride. states will value their self-image over the potential benefits of joining the non-proliferation regime. The reluctance of these states to accept inspections may of course be explained by the fact that they harbor clandestine activities. with two rival regional powers seeking sensible materials and technologies outside of the non-proliferation regime.”18 Non-proliferation pressures in this context therefore have the potential to backfire. conflict. The country’s only military research in the nuclear field was conduced on submarine propulsion. and the subsequent ratification of the NPT and the Tlatelolco treaty on the Latin America NWFZ by both countries. in which a state will deny having nuclear intentions at least until it has a well-advanced enough program to intimidate other states. However.16 As it appeared. the discrepancy between norm and regime can lead to tension. pushing the suspected state even further toward nuclear ambiguity. Argentina’s acquisition of natural uranium-fueled reactors aroused suspicion. The unwillingness of Saddam Hussein’s regime to swiftly accept extensive inspections Lindemann & Ringmar. as these were known to be less cost-efficient but to produce more plutonium than concurrent devices.17 In this perspective. However. Their case is therefore somewhat less problematic than the one of states that are parties to various treaties but do not fully comply with the verification and monitoring obligations to which they have voluntarily agreed. they cannot be accused of violating international law and obviously cannot face sanctions in this respect. Although states staying outside the NPT or other arms-control regimes may arouse suspicion.178  ✻  Alexandre Hummel this attitude is difficult to distinguish from covered proliferation. sending a clear signal to other states still outside of it.

In the absence of first-hand source material.indb 179 4/18/11 12:36 PM . it would quickly have complied with non-proliferation when asked to do so.23 This idea also appears in the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) findings.Recognition. Ultimately. Saddam Hussein’s image as a ruthless.22 Although Blix never clearly says that Iraq could simply not openly give in to international and American pressure or admit that its efforts toward WMD were inconclusive because this would mean a loss of face. and independent leader would have been badly damaged. the idea is suggested in his book.20 For example. With such an approach in mind. Hans Blix frequently insists on the absolute necessity for inspection teams to avoid humiliating the Iraqis when making requests for access and information. The Iraqi leader could well have decided that it was Lindemann & Ringmar. In his personal account of the 2002 to 2003 events. Rapid disclosure of information and full acceptance of inspections would not have avoided the invasion with certainty. The only coherent power-based explanation is that Iraq wanted to maintain some doubt on its WMD capacities in order to benefit from existential deterrence. Acrimonious words and deeds on both sides also rendered the issue very emotional. if Iraq really had nothing to hide.24 We can assume that. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  179 and provide a comprehensive clarification about its activities linked to WMD was one of the main arguments of those militating for a tough line toward Iraq. According to the logic. We can nevertheless assume that Saddam Hussein’s attitude was not driven by security considerations. diplomatic manner preserving at least the appearance of Iraqi sovereignty. thereby making a cold-blooded assessment of the situation impossible. the fact that aerial surveillance of Iraqi sites was to be conducted not only by American planes but also by French and Russian aircrafts helped to gain acceptance of the overflights. in the case of pure and simple submission. it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions about what exactly provoked Iraqi reluctance to fully cooperate and dismiss doubts about suspect activities. it makes no sense to seek it when one is already targeted. with the main casus belli being precisely this quest for a deterrent. Iraq’s alleged failure to comply was taken as the main argument in support of the invasion. Iraqi proclamations of good faith and willingness to cooperate were dismissed as pure hypocrisy. but this makes little sense since the United States was publicly committed to going to war because Iraq was suspected to have WMD. He shows that cooperation was more easily obtained when demands where formulated in a respectful. but it would at least have deprived the US administration of a potent argument and thus weakened support for a war that was already divisive. We therefore need to look at the symbolic side of the story to try to find some logic behind the events. Iraq’s half-hearted cooperation with inspection teams could only be interpreted as a sign that the country clandestinely owned WMD or was secretly seeking them. as it clearly was in Iraq’s national interest to cooperate. a tactic designed to slow down the inspection process and foster division in the international community. especially inside the Iraqi and Arab opinion.21 Inspectors also acceded to an Iraqi demand not to publish any pictures from the destruction of Al Samoud 2 missiles.19 Existential deterrence is something one tries to obtain before a threat surfaces. charismatic.

some leaders may conclude that. Non-proliferation and counter-proliferation advocates often fail to take this possibility into account. some may embark on exactly the opposite course. but this rough conjunction can nevertheless exacerbate some states’ desire for a national deterrent. it is possible to have at the same time a vast majority of states affirming their identities by respecting the non-nuclearization norm and a minority deciding that they have to build a nuclear weapons option for exactly the same reason. they imperiously need to resort to the policy of prestige or at least demonstrate some force.indb 180 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Another negative effect of the regime is that a state may resent its perceived unfairness to such a point that it considers defying the non-nuclearization norm as a way to seek redress and self-affirmation. nuclear weapons are valued more as an end in themselves than as a foreign policy asset.25 In fact. It is a pervasive myth of international politics that possession of nuclear weapons is a key criterion to becoming a true great power. In this case.26 He is careful to note that prestige should not automatically be equated with a frivolous demonstration of force. States can therefore refuse to be fully transparent regarding their nuclear record for reasons other than just a willingness to hide a secret program and cheat on the international non-proliferation regime. but the hypothesis at least deserves attention until further primary material surfaces. Raymond Aron noted that this move had far more to do with considerations about statehood and sovereignty than with national security.28 States with a strong tendency toward exceptionalism are particularly sensible to this status-through-nuclearization logic because they are ready to see themselves as a particular case in the international crowd and may therefore feel legitimate in derogating to the non-nuclearization norm while acknowledging that Lindemann & Ringmar. states may be eager to display their technological abilities and their willingness to play a major role in international politics by mastering the most formidable “absolute” weapon. for various reasons. despite the fact that they are useless to obtaining actual gains. This does not necessarily mean that recognition-denial and face-saving played a decisive role during the crisis. Morgenthau cites nuclear tests as one prominent example of the “policy of prestige” when one state will boast its military capability or its economic might in order to impress its neighbors and rivals and to obtain recognition. Reflecting on France’s acquisition of a nuclear force. emphasizing the acquisition of a nuclear force as not only a security or power benefit but also as a way to foster national assertiveness and to speak on an equal footing with great powers. Catch Me If You Can: Nuclearization and Self-Image While a vast majority of states at least pay lip service to the non-nuclearization norm. possession of nuclear weapons seems to be more a result than a cause of great power status. thus creating spirals of suspicion and hostility.27 In the case of nuclear-weapons acquisition.180  ✻  Alexandre Hummel better and more honorable to lose a war than to simply cede to US pressure. Because perceptions of recognition-denial are essentially inter-subjective.

This position was maintained despite defeat against China in 1962 and the Chinese nuclear tests in 1964. While internal developments may have been more ambiguous. Building nuclear weapons and joining the so-called nuclear “club” can be a clear way to demonstrate assertiveness even though—and indeed just because—this means defying the international regime and a widely accepted norm. As much as a progression toward the bomb. deterrence could not be trusted. can therefore take on a very significant symbolic and emotional dimension where nuclearization is equated with the rejection of an unfair international structure and of a junior position in international politics. Individuals and groups who are very sensible to their country’s perceived position in the world or to moral conceptions of international justice may conclude that the regime is a source of symbolic violence because of its inequity and the duplicity of NWS. Confronted with intense domestic pressure in favor of the bomb. should not be pursued because this would mean acquiescing to the humiliating non-proliferation structure. Acquisition of a nuclear force. This peculiar course cannot be explained through security and power considerations alone. who genuinely abhorred nuclear weapons. India’s nuclearization is the longest of all states. India’s complicated story with nuclear weapons can be interpreted as a succession of decisions not to cross the threshold of nuclear possession. particularly if they think that their country should enjoy a privileged position similar to the one granted to these five great powers. since these would suggest a far quicker process. as Indian leaders refused to rush to the bomb. in some cases. There is a true tendency to reject WMD all the way in India that dates back to Nehru.30 India was a strong supporter of arms control and disarmament with a clear willingness to act as a global voice for peace and justice in international forums. India maintained its official stance throughout the 1960s: nuclear weapons were bad.indb 181 4/18/11 12:36 PM . with a twenty-four-year interval between their first nuclear explosion (1974) and ultimate nuclear testing with the acknowledged possession of weapons (1998).31 Lindemann & Ringmar. contribute to proliferation instead of stopping it. although possibly valuable in itself.29 Moral considerations seem to have played an important part in this process. or at least of a nuclear capacity. or at least as apart from them. never publicly considered the option of building them and was one of the first voices to call for a test-ban treaty in 1954. The discrimination inherent in the international regime may thus encourage the existing tendencies of some states to see themselves as above others. choosing instead to develop only an option. This can lead them to consider that nuclear abstention. Indian leaders refrained first from building nuclear weapons and then from deploying them. The inconsistencies of non-proliferation also exacerbate the tendency of some states to cherish national pride and independence above observance of international norms. India’s first prime minister. India is the main example of such a course among states equipped with nuclear weapons. and the only ultimate solution was to stop and then curb the arms race.Recognition. This leads to a paradoxical effect of the non-proliferation regime that can. pushing alternately toward both nuclearization and restraint. the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  181 general proliferation would certainly be a bad thing.

182  ✻  Alexandre Hummel
Ultimately, India’s alternative conception of arms control failed as a large group
of states, including some non-aligned ones, sided with the conception promoted by
the superpowers—discrimination between NWS and NNWS—in exchange for
some concessions on ultimate disarmament. India refused to sign the treaty. The
non-proliferation debate had a great resonance inside India’s strategic elite, leading
to some resentment against the great powers and a strong feeling of injustice.32 Frustration did not provoke nuclear ambitions, as these clearly predate the NPT, but it
undoubtedly strengthened the position of those who were militating in favor of the
acquisition of a nuclear military capability.33 The growing rift between India, the
international regime, and the United States ultimately led to the 1974 “peaceful nuclear
explosion.” By using this terminology and refraining from building weapons, India
wanted to signal its refusal to obey a rule perceived as unfair while also re-affirming
its Nehruvian abhorrence toward WMD. The country stayed on this line at least
until the 1980s when nuclear weapons were finally built but, at first, not deployed.34
Ultimately, it was again after a heated arms-control debate, the one on CTBT, that
India definitely crossed the threshold of open nuclear weapons possession in 1998.35
This does not mean that India’s nuclearization can unambiguously be described
as a reaction to recognition-denial. India’s attitude in the international discussions
about arms control has frequently displayed characteristics of what Stephen Krasner
calls “organized hypocrisy,” when a state will claim to adhere to a consensual but
ambiguous norm while actually behaving egoistically in terms of national interests.36
The perceived unfairness of non-proliferation has often been exploited as a pretext,
and its imperfections do not automatically lead to the conclusion that nuclearization
should be pursued. Nevertheless, it would be equally erroneous to refuse to take into
consideration the emotional and symbolical dimension of India’s eventual nuclearization. Normative frustration at least provided bomb supporters with a potent argument
to convince their counterparts that India needed a nuclear force even though the
weapons were inherently bad. Recognition-denial may well have been instrumentalized, but this does not mean that it has no analytical validity, quite the contrary: if
feelings about unfairness are so strong that they can be mobilized to provoke a change
of course, their presence stands as a decisive variable to explain variations in national
policy. An exceptionalist state like India that claims an elevated self-image will feel
humiliated if, in return, it gets only a regular position as a minor player among others. The perceived insult is magnified in the case of non-proliferation by the fact that
some states benefit from the favored position that India is denied. Indeed, some in
India have advocated inclusion in the nuclear club, and there are reasons to think
that, if this would be granted, India’s critique of the regime would become milder.37
This collision between non-nuclearization and non-proliferation leading to nuclearization by defiance can be considered the most extreme case of a general pattern in
which states will play along with a non-proliferation regime they resent for reasons
linked to recognition-denial. The case of states that at least tacitly back suspected
proliferators in international arenas because they are equally or more fed-up with the
counter-proliferation policies of Western NWS is a typical example. This mounting

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 182

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Recognition, the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  183
defiance and the subsequent difficulty to even agree on an agenda on arms control
have led the NWS to accentuate their tendency to act outside of the regime to combat
proliferation. This, in turn, accentuates the NNWS’ normative frustration leading
to a perverse spiral further blocking any international agreement on arms control.
Another case of regime defiance is when a state will toy with nuclearization in order to
gain attention and obtain the right to speak on a bilateral footing with great powers.
Nuclear aspirations in North Korea have led to the setting up of a specific diplomatic
mechanism involving all the major powers in the region and dedicated only to this
matter. In addition, a direct negotiation channel between Pyongyang and Washington
has also been opened. Through these diplomatic contacts, North Korea has been able
to exert notable concessions and even ridicule the great powers on several occasions
while escaping strong punishment. This contrasts favorably with the country’s very
limited material capabilities. In this case, the use of nuclear capacities as a bargaining
chip through a form of blackmail has improved North Korea’s position, especially if
one takes into account the overall dire situation of the country. Another case were
nuclear intentions have won some bargaining leverage is Libya, a state that, in 2003,
was able to exchange the end of its little-advanced nuclear program and other WMD
activities against re-integration inside the international community. Like North Korea,
Libya was granted a special status and negotiated directly with great powers before
complying fully with IAEA safeguards and other verification provisions. Both cases
were therefore settled mainly outside of the different arms-control regimes. As Hans
Blix wrote, “Demands for recognition seem to be an important motive. Recognition
and status may be important to governments that, for various reasons, have been
isolated: for example, Libya, North Korea and Iran.”38 In this respect, it is interesting
to note that Teheran has long demanded recognition by the United States and the
opening of high-level bilateral talks.

Conclusion
This chapter does not claim that all proliferation-related crises are linked to struggles
for recognition nor even than most of them are. Material considerations obviously
play an important role in states’ nuclear choices. More modestly, I aim to point to
a somewhat neglected dimension of the (non-) proliferation debate—its emotional
and symbolic dimensions. Demands about disarmament and technological assistance are too easily dismissed as demagogy. There is evidence that a good portion of
the international crowd feels genuinely hurt by ambiguities and inconsistencies in
the non-proliferation regime, most of them being linked to the behavior of NWS.
Immediate nuclear disarmament and free access to technology certainly are utopia
and propaganda themes, but abrupt refusal to even take these highly symbolical issues into consideration appears to have significantly damaged the legitimacy of the
powers that promote a tougher line on non-proliferation. At the 2005 NPT Review
Conference, an Arab state and close US ally, Egypt, was the most virulent critic of

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184  ✻  Alexandre Hummel
the NWS position, heavily contributing to the failure of the whole meeting. Cairo
was thus acting as a tacit ally of Iran. In this normative context, a strictly applied
non-proliferation regime has a clear potential to backfire in the most problematic
cases, which it is actually supposed to solve. There are, consequently, reasons to think
that its presence leads to more international tension than what would exist with the
simple individual observance of the non-nuclearization norm. This leads to the conclusion that the regime is ineffective, albeit not for the reason its detractors usually
invoke—its inefficiency to prevent cheating by proliferators—but rather because the
focus on cheating and excessive suspicion may look like an offense to some states and
like an incitement to proliferate to others.

Notes
1. Nuclear Threat Initiative 2004.
2. Frankel and Cohen 1991, 201ff.
3. This is one of the elements in what T. V. Paul calls “prudential realism.” See Paul 2000,
232ff.
4. Feaver, and Niou 1996, 209–233.
5. This tentative nuclear abstention norm must be carefully distinguished from the far
more established nuclear taboo norm. According to Nina Tannenwald, the taboo stigmatizes
nuclear weapons use but not detention, and its impact on nuclearization choices by states is
only consequential: if the taboo is so strong that no nuclear use can be considered, then deterrence will lose any credibility and nuclear weapons possession will be useless. However, this
is still a remote possibility in Tannenwald’s taboo perspective. See Tannenwald 2007, 472ff.
6. Finnemore and Sikkink 1998, 891–905.
7. For this abstinence perspective, see Paul 1995, 356ff.
8. In a similar vein, Legro has demonstrated that decisions by states to escalate or not
to escalate accidents involving submarine warfare, strategic bombing, and chemical warfare
during World War II were best explained as individual decisions consisting of a confrontation between norm and identity—in this case military culture—rather than by traditional
rationalist and internationalist explanations. See Legro 1997, 31–63.
9. For accounts of the 2005 Review Conference, see Müller 2005, 33–44; Sauer 2006,
333–340.
10. On symbols of condensation, see Edelman 1985, 117–124.
11. Albin 2001, 282ff.
12. Sagan 2004, 77.
13. Waltz 2003, 3–45.
14. Feaver 1992, 160–87; Sagan 2003, 46–87.
15. Lavoy 1995, 695–753.
16. For an overview on Argentina and Brazil up to 1990, see Reiss 1995, 45–88.
17. Hymans 2006, 141–170.
18. Interview with Admiral Oscar Quihillalt in ibid., 144–145.
19. Existential deterrence is a version of minimum deterrence in which the slightest doubt
of its nuclear capabilities could offer a state a degree of protection. See Bundy 1988, 735ff.

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Recognition, the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  185
The Iraq Survey Group report claims that Saddam Hussein held such a view. See Iraq Survey
Group 2004.
20. Blix 2004, 285ff. I am indebted to Thomas Lindemann for this bibliographical
suggestion.
21. “It was as if the humiliation was diminished when the presence of U.S. planes would
be diluted by planes from less hostile countries.” Ibid., 120–122.
22. “The Iraqi side asked us in Baghdad not to publish pictures of the operation, saying
it was painful to them. This might have been true. There was certainly a pride that they had
succeeded in designing and producing these missiles and a corresponding pain in destroying
them. Conceivably this could contain a clue as to why the Iraqis chose to destroy biological
and chemical weapons without inspectors present, as they claimed. They might have felt it
hurt their pride.” Ibid., 189.
23. Blix first evocates this explanation in an interrogative manner: “Now that we feel nearly
certain that there were no weapons to hide in Iraq, the explanations for the Iraqi reluctance
on the two categories of violations, as on many others, must be sought elsewhere than in a
wish to hide weapons. At the time when we encountered and reported on the reluctance, it
undoubtedly hurt the claim of the Iraqis that they were providing immediate cooperation.
Why where they reluctant in these matters? Self-respect? Pride?” Ibid., 151. Later in the book,
he is a bit more affirmative, citing the face-saving hypothesis among “elements [that] may
have been relevant.” “A sense of humiliation might have led the Iraqis to balk at giving the
inspectors access in some cases, especially to various sites they associated with the sovereignty
of their country.” Ibid., 265.
24. “[Saddam Hussein] sought to balance the need to cooperate with UN inspections—to
gain support for lifting sanctions—with his intention to preserve Iraq’s intellectual capital
for WMD with a minimum of foreign intrusiveness and loss of face.” Iraq Survey Group 2004,
1. Emphasis added. “In the late 1990s, Saddam [sic.] realized he had no WMD capabilities but his ego prevented him from publicly acknowledging that the Iraqi WMD program was
ineffective, according to the former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
Humam ‘Abd-al-Khaliq ‘Abd-al-Ghafur.,” Ibid., 35. Emphasis added. Despite these few
twists toward an emotional analysis of Saddam Hussein’s behavior, the ISG report generally
sticks to the deception thesis and does not investigate in detail the reasons for the failure of
Saddam Hussein to find an optimal balance between national security, the lifting of sanctions, and the preservation of a WMD capacity. It concludes that Iraq’s chief objective was
to have sanctions lifted and then only to maintain as much WMD capabilities as possible.
Although this appraisal can coherently explain Iraq’s attitude up to 2002, it clearly does
not stand against the record of the 2002/2003 events when the country was threatened
with immediate war. According to the ISG report, Saddam’s attitude during this period
was plagued by “miscalculation” and “poor decisions,” but the reasons for these errors are
not thoroughly discussed. Ibid., 61.
25. Betts 1987, 240ff; Jervis 1989, 266ff.
26. Morgenthau 2006, 89–90.
27. Ibid., 90–93.
28. Aron 2004, 613–615.
29. Hymans 2006, 171–203.
30. Perkovich 1999, 13–59.
31. Ibid., 60–85.

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. 35. London: Routledge. 324–347. “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations. and Kathryn Sikkink. ———. Blix 2008. Bibliography Albin. 2006.cia. Sumit. Jervis.” International Organization 52 (4). Justice and Fairness in International Negotiation. Edelman. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Feaver. “The negotiations on the NPT in the mid-1960s thus had the paradox effect of further fuelling India’s nuclear program rather than limiting nuclear proliferation.186  ✻  Alexandre Hummel 32. 1998. Opaque Nuclear Proliferation: Methodological and Policy Implications. 2001. London: Bloomsbury. Hymans. Disarming Iraq: The Search for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Ganguly. S. 2008.indb 186 4/18/11 12:36 PM . University of Illinois Press. Volume 1. 49. Betts.gov/duelfer/Iraqs_WMD_Vol1. 1996. Princeton: Princeton University Press. The Meaning of the Nuclear Revolution: Statecraft and the Prospect of Armageddon. Murray. 34. and Avner Cohen. Frey 2004.foia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Raymond. 1988. George. “Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD. Krasner 1999. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Finnemore. Emotions and Foreign Policy. 36. The Iraq Survey Group. Feaver. and Emerson M. The Symbolic Uses of Politics.” International Security 17 (3): 160–187. Richard K. C.” Ibid. 1991. Bundy. or Assist?” International Studies Quarterly 40 (2): 209–233. Cambridge: MIT Press. Frey 2004. 1989. “Managing Nuclear Proliferation: Condemn. “The Strategic Consequences of Nuclear Proliferation. Strike. eds. 2004. Why Nuclear Disarmament Matters. 2004. Martha. Robert. Paris: Calmann-Lévy. Stephen D. Aron. Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy. 223ff. 1st ed. Karsten.” Security Studies 4 (4): 695–753. Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years. 1985. Jacques E. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.” Inaugural Dissertation. 293–94. 2004. 1992.” http://www. 2005. “Elite Perception and Biased Strategic Policy Making: The Case of India’s Nuclear Build-up. 248ff. The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity. Frey writes that. “International Norm Dynamics and Political Change. Ganguly and Hagerty 2006. Cecilia.pdf.. 37. Ibid. 1987. Peter D. Frankel. Lavoy. Lindemann & Ringmar. Hans. Niou. Blix. 33. 2006. Peter R. Nuclear Blackmail and Nuclear Balance. 293–297. Fearful Symmetry: India-Pakistan Crises in the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons. Paix et guerre entre les nations. COMP: keep 1 line for this fn 38. 133–145. Krasner. New York: Brookings Institution Press.. New York: Random House. 1995. Hagerty. Benjamin. Peter D. 1999. Frey. and Devin T.

Harald. “Which Norms Matter? Revisiting the ‘Failure’ of Internationalism. Sagan. Hans J. 2006. 2004. 2007. Waltz. T. Perkovich. “Realist Perspectives on Ethical Norms and Weapons of Mass Destruction. 2006. 3–45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. New York: W. Waltz and Scott D.” In The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed. ———. Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace. V. 2005. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Power Versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons. New York: W. Nuclear Threat Initiative. Sagan.” Peace Review 18 (3). the Non-Proliferation Regime and Proliferation Crises  ✻  187 Legro. Paul.” http://www.nti. 2000. Lee. “A Treaty in Troubled Waters: Reflections on the Failed NPT Review Conference. Berkeley: University of California Press.” International Organization 51 (1): 31–63. “The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime in Crisis. Waltz and Scott D. “UN Resolution 1540. (1981) 2003. Sauer. edited by Kenneth N. Morgenthau. Tannenwald. Reiss. The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945. 1997. Sagan. edited by Sohail H.” International Spectator 40 (3). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. New York: McGraw-Hill. Lindemann & Ringmar. 1999.” In Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives. edited by Kenneth N. Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain Their Nuclear Capabilities. 46–87. Scott D.org/db/1540/index . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995. Jeffrey W.indb 187 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Mitchell. Nina. 2004.Recognition.” In The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate Renewed. Tom. India’s Nuclear Bomb: The Impact on Global Proliferation. “The Perils of Proliferation.html. Kenneth N. Hashmi and Steven P. “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Be Better. Norton. Norton. Müller. George. 2003. W. W.

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 188 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

so far over-looked social mechanism is at play in this act. that is. the horrendous nature of the act in fact gives it meaning. We need. It will focus on the “Event” of 9/11 as the paradigmatic example of such violence. More precisely.”2 Hence. the sublime and horrific nature of its attacks that lead to this interpretation.indb 189 4/18/11 12:36 PM . an act that finished “in the explosive brilliance [éclat] of the beautiful and sublime. Madrid. this essay argues. and other places. and the answers vary significantly. to recognize the role of recognition in al-Qaeda’s actions. 9/11 was an aesthetic act. it is the extraordinary level of violence. that doubled rivalry for sovereignty. indeed quasi-sovereign. To return to this question in this essay and to add to the list of explanations is justified by the conviction that a distinctive. Indeed. we need to understand alQaeda’s desire to become recognized as a political. In this interpretation. rather than criminal actor in the global system.1 To put the matter simply: What sense does it make to fly planes into buildings? What possible political purpose can such an act have? This puzzle has occupied scholars for the last eight years now. as will be argued. rather than making the act incomprehensible and utterly meaningless. 189 Lindemann & Ringmar.Ch apt e r 10 Recognizing the Enemy Terrorism as Symbolic Violence Andreas Behnke Terror and the Problem of Meaning The purpose of this chapter is to return again to the question of meaning in al-Qaeda’s terrorist acts. but the argument is also relevant in a wider context of al-Qaeda-sponsored violence in London.

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 190 4/18/11 12:36 PM . but even out of the realm of war itself. aims at killing people in large numbers. If we take sovereignty to be a contested concept. the act is aestheticized and exalted within a Manichean metaphysics. For both authors. Ignatieff and Sofsky in effect reify sovereignty and define the contest for sovereignty as irrational and meaningless. but a metaphysics. as it elides the crucial role of the sublime in the constitution of sovereign agency. for Ignatieff. For Sofsky too. “The terror campaign [Terrorkrieg] . For Ignatieff. their meaning cannot be reconciled with the authors’ respective notions of the political. however. as an act of pure violence without any purpose beyond itself. therefore. due to its excessive violence. this distinction is both ontologically unstable and analytically unproductive. 9/11.190  ✻  Andreas Behnke The assessment of 9/11 as inherently (an sich) meaningless. By ostracizing the aesthetic and sublime from the horizon of the political. indeed opposition. 9/11 remains outside the realm of politics. frightens. rather. we need to be able to account for the processes involved in claiming and recognizing it. and enthrals. The attack meant nothing.4 And in Sofsky’s words. the sublime. . People serving such exalted goals are not interested in mere politics. .”5 Therefore. deserves closer scrutiny. such order. which culminate in a final battle between good and evil. wants to create a scare. it was an act of destruction without a deeper meaning [Hintersinn]. the aesthetic. as it does not reflect or express any instrumental rationality. “what excites the spectator is the violence itself. such an argument can only declare the (political) irrationality of the act and thus ends up in a mere aesthetics of horror. between the realm of aesthetics and the realm of the political that scholars like Ignatieff and Sofsky employ in order to condemn the event as politically irrational and hence irrelevant.”6 And finally. and the horrible are defined in opposition to the political. What is most interesting about both Ignatieff’s and Sofsky’s statements is that the initial declaration of the meaninglessness of 9/11 ends up bestowing a particular meaning upon the act. becomes a purely aesthetic performance. relies on interpretations of political order that cannot account for the violence involved in the contestation over. not only in terms of its meaning but also regarding its status as a political objective for different groups. and the foundation of. a “political aim could not be discerned. In both cases. The nihilism of their means—the indifference to human costs—takes their actions not only out of the realm of politics. As will be demonstrated. This essay will not contest the aesthetic or sublime nature of 9/11. What it takes issue with is the distinction. a desire to give ultimate meaning to time and history through ever escalating acts of violence. The acts are actually not meaningless at all.8 This point. scholars such as Michael Ignatieff or Wolfgang Sofsky have to deduce the meaning(-lessness) of the act from the act itself and its horrendous characteristics. [w]hat we are up against is apocalyptic nihilism.3 Given this truncated notion of the political.” 7 As Hans Kippenberg has observed. Thus. They are seeking the violent transformation of an irremediably sinful and unjust world. Terror does not express a politics. The apocalyptic nature of their goals makes it absurd to believe they are making political demands at all. to paralyze life through fear. It repulses. entices.

it becomes apparent that they share a Lindemann & Ringmar. “almost automatic” response to the very operation of the global system. If we compare the radical interpretations of Baudrillard and Žižek to the explanations offered by Ignatieff and Sofsky. competed for the definition. both Žižek and Baudrillard appropriate the Event of 9/11 by subsuming it into a systemic logic of which 9/11 becomes but one instance or one case. In Jennifer Bajorek’s words.” The Real is opposed to the plurality and contingency of everyday social reality. indeed terrorist actions. and power consolidated within a technocratic machine and the dogma of globalization. from Nazism to Stalinism to the radical movements of the Left in the 1960s and 1970s. of both the sender and the receiver of the message. and most significantly for the purpose of this essay. the viral. unified. Moreover. and the realization of the Real through radical. Twentieth-century ideologies. of distinctive cultural and social identities against globalization and its “generalized system of exchange. in anticipation of how traces yet to be made will someday be read. while in Žižek’s interpretation.9 Some “post-modern” interpretations turn 9/11 into a sign of the aporias of modernity. these interpretations consider the symbolic nature of the Event. the terror of globalization meets the globalization of terror.”11 While Baudrillard identifies 9/11 as a viral response of the particular or “singular” against the discipline and order of globalization.13 For Baudrillard. in both cases. indicates the fundamental paradox of the “passion for the Real”: “it culminates in its apparent opposite. terrorism is the only viable form of resistance.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  191 Other researchers have offered different interpretations of 9/11 that try to reconcile the extra-ordinary level of violence with a political purpose. . is a calculation. on the basis of future traces. For Jean Baudrillard. It cannot be explained by reference to Islamic ideology.” Faced with a monopolized world.10 As such. Terrorism. 9/11 is. as such conceptual boundaries miss the pervasive nature of terrorism. As such it is more than casually bound up with the complex movements of textuality on both sides—on the side . Its apparently singular and exceptional nature becomes qualified and limited as the expression of a general principle. . the attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York become a symbol of a generalized mode of resistance of the singular. and foundational Truth of the Real. “The globe itself is resistant to globalization. before it is an act. according to Žižek. [The] passion for the Real ends up in the pure semblance of the spectacular effect of the Real. Slavoj Žižek sees the event rather as an expression of the modern “passion for the Real. political agency vanishes from the analysis.”12 While their respective perspectives differ.indb 191 4/18/11 12:36 PM . in a theatrical spectacle—from the Stalinist show trials to spectacular terrorist acts. it appears as the expression of the modern universalist project. therefore. This then. Violence then is the price to be paid “for peeling off the deceptive layers of reality” and to reveal the true. it becomes the instantiation of a general resistance to the modern project of globalization. Rather than focusing on the pure phenomenology of the act itself.

192  ✻  Andreas Behnke commonality. and equally significantly. and for the Islamic community. and Schmitt. Tarik Kochi develops an “ethics of recognition” that accounts for such a constitutive role. For Paul Saurette. Humiliation and respect are therefore secondary and regulatory processes that affect the behavior of ontologically given subjects.15 The Problem of Recognition and Violence: A Hegelian Turn Approaches focusing on recognition have produced a number of fascinating insights into the social grammar of 9/11. Neither side is therefore willing to recognize the monstrosity of the Event. acts like 9/11 can be understood as attempts to gain respect for al-Qaeda. In the international system. Moreover. For Baudrillard and Žižek on the other hand. and more on the increased reputation and respect for al-Qaeda as an organization that “showed it” to the United States. Yet. it also constitutes and establishes their status. with 9/11 defined by its singular meaninglessness. The starting point for this philosophical investigation is the question of how the self Lindemann & Ringmar. recognition does not only influence the conduct of given actors. he outlines an approach within which the Event of 9/11 can be understood as the enactment of a radical claim to sovereignty. as philosophers and political theorists have argued. he demonstrates the inherent relationship between recognition and violence and exclusion. In neither case does the Event become productive. Drawing on Fichte.”16 Reinhard Wolf offers a complementary analysis to Saurette’s “theory of humiliation.17 However.” For him. or by folding the latter into a modernist radical political agenda. In order to function. Both camps dissolve the aporia of the Event in favor of one structural principle.indb 192 4/18/11 12:36 PM . both Saurette and Wolf seem to rely in their respective analyses on an ontologically given subject that is either denied (through humiliation) or granted (through respect) what is duly his.18 Recognition is therefore not only a regulative but also a constitutive mechanism through which the subject comes into being.” between political purpose (be it resistance or revelation) and the experience of the sublime. both humiliation and respect presuppose the status and standing of the subject as subject. Hegel. The focus of his analysis is therefore less the effects the attacks had on the United States. the tension is decided in favor of the latter. Kochi draws on Hegel’s account of the constitution of the self through the delineation of the other. its ineluctable suspension between appropriation and “unappropriability.14 Between these two extremes we can locate approaches that focus in a variety of ways on the role of social mechanisms related to recognition in international politics. its constitutive potential absorbed either by insulating the political against the aesthetic and the sublime. For the latter camp. the Event of 9/11 can be understood as an attempt by al-Qaeda to humiliate the United States and thereby to “discipline the humiliated party’s behaviour. the tension between singularity and appropriation is resolved in favor of the former. In doing so. one theory at least holds that a state is only a state if it is recognized as such by the international community.

”25 What is recognized is not just the other as such. in fact something other?”19 The establishment of the “I” is accomplished by distinguishing it from what it is not. and customs within a defined territory.” or the other. contains an element of recognition within it. but the other in the self. to differentiate yourself from what you do not want or desire to be. violence. the state-sovereign asserts himself in a duel between equals. Through the experience of the non-self and its qualities. the ethical health of nations is preserved in their indifference towards the permanence of finite determinacies. ethics. sovereign entities. They are more an argument about what is.28 As Kochi elaborates. the necessity of the other in the differential constitution of the self.31 War makes states. .20 Knowledge of the self therefore proceeds through knowledge of the other. war plays a productive role in the international system. expressed in the willingness to “put it on the line” and fight for its (continued) existence. destruction. it is imperative to recall the inherent relationship between recognition and violence. peace would also produce among nations. from the “not-I. Hegel can be read as developing “an account of an ethics of exclusion. for the purpose of this essay. “these passages should not be taken as glorifying war. the “I”s act of thinking is always an act of mediation with its self and with its other. “Recognition involves an affirmation by the self that a necessary and essential element of itself resides in the other and the relation of mediation with it.”23 To set yourself apart. .30 As Steven Smith emphasizes. killing. The higher significance of war is that.22 It involves “harm. War in this view becomes the affirmation of such a community. It is not an exercise in pure violence. through its agency. is therefore violent on the ontological as well as ontic level.24 A successful moment of recognition is accomplished when “each self recognizes itself as mutually recognizing the other. as within a state it becomes possible to create and sustain a set of shared norms. contra Fichte—for whom this process takes place only on the mental or cognitive level—that the delineation of the self from its other entails material and physical consequences. not to say perpetual. as much as states make war. just as the movement of the wind preserves the sea from the stagnation which lasting calm would produce—a stagnation which a lasting. but conducted according to rules that recognize the sovereign equality of the opponent. . it becomes important to emphasize. In war. in sovereignty.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  193 can be certain “that what it intuits as itself (the ‘I’) is actually itself and not. the knowing subject and the known object are constituted together. The mediated and therefore always “plural” nature of the self puts recognition at the center of its successful constitution. War can only be declared by.indb 193 4/18/11 12:36 PM . conceptually speaking involved in statehood” and thus. Being is therefore always mediated being. therefore. and conducted between. War in his view produces and re-affirms the ethical-political community that organizes itself within a state.”29 A state constitutes the condition of possibility for such a community. Warfare. the self reflectively acquires knowledge of itself.21 For Hegel.27 For Hegel.”26 While Kochi identifies the sources of a regulative and pacifying role for recognition in this successful moment of recognition. Lindemann & Ringmar.

The foundation of law in political violence “is made in order to hide it. through terror in its different guises. that doubled rivalry for sovereignty that occurs within the blossoming of physis.”33 The designation and de-legitimization of certain forms of violence as “terrorism” draws on and reproduces such a “naturalization” of law. shedding the mythology and fetishization of its self-immanence. The Partisan exposes that all sovereign and therefore legitimate power rests on political violence. – 38 place “in itself. Moreover. if not all. law needs to hide its own foundations in violence and present itself as self-immanent.36 Yet while Kochi considers “terrorism” to be the equivalent to “non-sovereign” war and thus maintains a residue of the reification of sovereignty that his argument seeks to deconstruct. For. the modern (Western) state becomes violent. physis no – or one could say that it never takes longer takes place except as mediated through techne. they view their acts of violence as that which will destroy an old legal order and through which a new order will emerge: they wish to posit. raise up and create a new human order through action. violence is the only available mode. rather than a criminal actor. is in this view a “glorified. we can expand the definition of war as a general act of political violence. Legal violence. and maintained themselves. . different public order. through violence. We can find support for this conceptualization in Jean-Luc Nancy’s argument about war as the techne. War borders on art [as] techne– . and consider “terrorism” to be a more specific strategy of violence. by its essence.37 It is in war that sovereignty comes to itself. as Schmitt reminds us. even terrorist again in order to destroy it. These partisans are completely modern. as emerging from itself. as the execution of its Being. and fetishized form of political violence.indb 194 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the Partisan is a political. but the establishment of a new. “terror” shall be considered the hyper-realization of war and thus. For the Partisan. the law itself. as the carrying out of sovereignty to the limit of its own logic.” or in any other way. Many. Confronted with the Sublime.”34 In order to appear legitimate. Lindemann & Ringmar. the distinction between legal and political violence is irrelevant. political orders have been founded.35 If we reject the mystification and fetishization that produces the semblance of self-immanence of the sovereign. except as the image of the sovereignty of techne. In order to conceptually accommodate the violence this non-state actor brings into the international society. sometimes under the celebration and sublimation of the grand beginnings.– the art of sovereignty. with the violent or the irrational out of which it itself emerged and yet which it can no longer acknowledge. his purpose is not personal enrichment. as a mode of the execution of Being. . it tends to organize amnesia.194  ✻  Andreas Behnke The situation becomes more complicated if we introduce the Partisan. of sovereignty. mystified. Kochi suggests expanding the concept of war to include not only conflict between sovereigns but also conflict about sovereignty.32 One might add that in the contest for sovereignty. and if necessary. for the purpose of this essay. as its mode of finishing in the explosive brilliance [éclat] of the beautiful and sublime.

al-Qaeda has radicalized the mobility of the Partisan. “the Event that suspends and reopens the course of history. is the Event par excellence. These two aspects are. For Schmitt.43 AlQaeda’s cause is no longer defined by the interests of a third party or state. its ties to a particular geographical space and political community. the involvement of a state was historically crucial for the Partisan. In the long run. according to Schmitt. al-Qaeda has thought of it in this way. inherently related.42 With al-Qaeda. the irregular has to find its legitimacy in terms of the regular. and philosophers have only ever thought of it this way.” To successfully claim sovereign status in international politics requires the ability to produce the “explosive brilliance of the sublime. either the recognition by an extant regular authority.” as well as the recognition of the status by the addressee of the Event. Both materially and ideologically. from the involvement of a third party. as we will argue. and in conflict with.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  195 The sovereign right to wage war cannot be subjected to law. usually a state. this sets him apart from the common thief and criminal. a new form of partisan has entered the global political stage. It therefore only has the second option available: to produce Lindemann & Ringmar. the criminal. Our kings. whose motives are aimed at private enrichment. the distinguishing feature of the Partisan is his political nature.44 While the recognition of the political struggle of the traditional Partisan was tied to the support of a third state. It defines its goals independent of. As such. Nancy adds.”39 One might add that lately. or the enforcement of a new regularity by its own means. both as an origin and as an end. the state system. and with that has overcome and transcended his “tellurian” nature. We are now in a position to return to 9/11 as an Event and to understand its role in the contest(-ation) for sovereignty.40 Here Schmitt develops a genealogy that traces the historical development and increasing radicalization of the partisan from the Spanish War of Independence to Mao’s writings. yet it belongs to it. and for this there are only two options. generals. al-Qaeda cannot rely on third party states for the recognition of its political nature. The Partisan fights on a political front.41 As such. The recognition of this public and political motivation derives. we turn to Carl Schmitt’s Theorie des Partisanen. 9/11 is such an Event in which recognition as sovereign is claimed by producing the “explosive brilliance of the sublime. that is. It is this recognition by a third party that prevents the Partisan from sliding back into the realm of the a-political. Claiming Sovereignty In order to understand the operation of al-Qaeda. the sovereign event. that is. Moreover. War. that supports and instrumentalizes the Partisan for its own purposes. al-Qaeda appears to operate without such direct support links to states.indb 195 4/18/11 12:36 PM . too. the Partisan fights a public enemy for a public cause.

It deconstructs the claim to self-immanence of political order and lays bare the foundations of such order in an act of transgression. Whereas. Yet as he points out. provides the aim of sovereignty. It establishes itself through the successful self-designation as the political enemy in a moment of decision against its designated opponents.”45 Terror therefore defines the sublime brilliance of sovereignty in which enemies are made. the Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the form of the word “territory” derives from “terrere”: to frighten. also unjustly terrorizing people is not right. In constituting its own sovereignty. Every country in the world has its own security system and its own security forces. or identification in a figure of (the) death (which is the entirety of what we call sacrifice. As William Connolly observes. and in which al-Qaeda escapes the slide into the realm of the merely criminal. or rather the enactment of terror. its status as a (political) enemy rather than a mere criminal. Following Schmitt. The terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind for it is directed at the tyrants and the aggressors and the enemies of Allah. its own police and its own army.indb 196 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the United States. Sovereignty becomes autopoietic. should be considered the most radical expression of political violence and war. al-Qaeda has to declare its own war to declare its own sovereignty. the tyrants. as it cannot be derived from third parties or from international law. the “territory” of a nation-state is often understood to refer to “terra. the traitors who commit acts of treason against their own countries and their own faith and their own prophet and their own nation. Every state and every civilization and culture has to resort to terrorism under certain circumstances for the purpose of abolishing tyranny and corruption. terrorizing oppressors and criminals and thieves and robbers is necessary for the safety of people and for the protection of their property. Terrifying an innocent person and terrorizing him is objectionable and unjust.”47 Lindemann & Ringmar. It founds al-Qaeda as a representative of a transcendental ummah in a violent act against its other.” that is. In an interview with the American network ABC. terrorism.196  ✻  Andreas Behnke its own sovereign status and to escape the criminalization of its campaign by the international community. with territory being “a place from which people are warned off. that is. As indicated previously. the earth or land on which it rests. “Death. Terrorizing those and punishing them are necessary measures to straighten things and to make them right. of which war is a supreme form). it also deconstructs American sovereignty. he explains [T]errorism can be commendable and it can be reprehensible. terror is but the ultimate expression of such an ontogenetic Event. Unlike traditional partisans. There is no doubt in this. In doing so. Interestingly enough.46 The monstrosity of 9/11 is therefore nothing but a reflection of the monstrosity of sovereignty. They are all designed to terrorize whoever even contemplates to attack that country or its citizens. if political order is based on the production and performance of an intense antagonism that divides and thereby constitutes communities. it actually conducts a double move. Osama bin Laden is employing this grammar of terror in a justification of al-Qaeda’s strategy.

Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  197
Man must fear death as the greatest evil in order for sovereignty to function, to be able
to forget and cover up the void of violence from which it emerges, and to establish an
ontic order.48 Hence the sacrifice of the nineteen al-Qaeda perpetrators on 9/11, their
fearlessness of death, transgresses the limit sovereignty establishes and implodes its
order by inserting radical Islamic belief into its structure. In the words of an al-Qaeda
spokesperson, “[t]here are thousands of the Islamic nation’s youths who are eager to
die just as the Americans are eager to live.”49 In this act of sacrifice that deconstructs
the immanence of one political order, another order, another ethical-political community, is constituted a community “worth dying for.” While the boundaries established by the American sovereign are transgressed and invalidated, a new sovereign
boundary is drawn that does not follow the distinction between life and death, but
the one between Dar al-Islam, the “Abode of Islam,” the metaphysical space defined
by religious and universal truths found in the Koran, and Dar al-Harb, the “Abode
of War,” the site of conflict and infidelity, the area in which Islamic law is not (yet)
observed.50 In the definition of the ethical-political community that is established
in this move, death does not define a terminal limit, but a gateway to the final realization of ethical being. What Western political onto-theology would consider the
“Beyond,” is an integral part of the metaphysical community.51 The deconstruction
of American sovereignty therefore does not aim at the in-statement of a newly defined
secular community, does not define the creation of another state as its goal, but rather
seeks to spread the fear of God among the infidels and demonstrate his superiority.
Here then we encounter the first interplay between terror and recognition in 9/11.
The ethical-political community, and in a sense al-Qaeda as its agent, only become
recognizable in the Event itself. There is no form given to them other than through
the act, no phenomenology other than the experience of the violent strike against
the extant structure of sovereign authority. The specter-like “nature” of al-Qaeda
that has produced so many fruitless discussions about its precise constitution (an
organization, a franchise, a network, an ideology . . . ) refuses and eludes any kind of
fixation. Al-Qaeda only exists through the violent enactment of sovereignty. Whether
this act is ordered by a central core of the organization or executed by self-designated
“franchisees” is immaterial from this point of view. The recognizability of al-Qaeda
and the claim to sovereign status that affects the violence do not depend on the
precisely identifiable source of the order, but on the nature and extremeness of the
violence. The epistemic recognition (Erkennen) is therefore tied into the recognition
of its status (Anerkennen) as sovereign.
The claim to sovereignty that al-Qaeda produced with 9/11 is therefore a pure
transgression. The constitutive move of sovereignty that hides, mystifies, and mythologizes the violence or coup de force at the foundational moment and that constitutes
the possibility of order remains suspended. While “all foundation is transgressive,”
not all transgression is foundational.52 The terror of al-Qaeda, as realized in 9/11,
never aims at converting the Event into Order, converting exteriority into interiority
or transcendence into immanence.53 The tension with sovereignty between Event
and Order is radically resolved in favor of the former. Or more precisely, the Order

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198  ✻  Andreas Behnke
that al-Qaeda envisions can only be constituted in the permanent Event. 9/11 in
particular, and terror in general, therefore constantly mobilizes the supplementary
aspect of sovereignty. All order is constituted in an act of violence, only to disavow
this moment and to produce the semblance of self-immanence. Al-Qaeda’s terror
holds the latter aspect in constant abeyance and constantly reproduces the sublime
moment of the founding of a transcendental community that exceeds the boundaries
of secular political order. In order to assert this sovereignty, the relevant Event has
to be of such sublime power so as to not leave the addressee any choice to deny it.
From this perspective, 9/11 set a “sovereignty trap” that the United States and other
Western nations could not escape. Simply put, it was inconceivable to respond to
9/11 with “normal measures.”

Recognizing Sovereignty
As noted above, the Partisan needs to avoid the criminalization of his practices and
his status. The acts need to be distinctly enacting the Political; they need to produce
exclusive rather than inclusive moves. The act has to be so dramatic and sublime
as to escape the inclusion into the normal criminal and legal disciplinary regime of
states. The act has to become an Event, insubordinate to any extant normative grid.
The Event has to express the “monstrous obscenity” of sovereignty, instantiating the
excess of violence that brings into being political order and community, yet always
also escapes from it.54 How can such an act be recognized? Recognition, after all, is
usually understood as an inclusive move through which previously excluded actors,
or their so-far ignored grievances, are addressed and incorporated in a shared moral
or political structure.55
Contrary to this conceptualization, derived from social and political dynamics
within domestic society, recognition in the international society entails an exclusionary
logic. Sovereignty is recognized in the acknowledgement of the mutually exclusive
authority over territorially defined space. Recognition thus renounces, rather than
produces, a common moral or legal structure, as the latter is secondary and subordinate
to the assertion of sovereignty. As the latter is the constitutive principle of the international society, any commonalities between states are always derivative and parasitic
upon the initial foundational differentiation of states within it. It is only through this
differentiation and mutual alienation that the inclusion into the international society
via the recognition of sovereign statehood can be accomplished. Here, the positivity
of statehood and territoriality are the referent points for the process of recognition.
In the case of non-state sovereignty and of al-Qaeda’s terror, the logic of recognition becomes even more complicated. Al-Qaeda never transmogrifies the violent act
of founding into an (apparently) immanent order. Instead, it constantly reiterates the
sublime brilliance of the founding act. Yet such a transgressive Event does not define a
political space because transgression “is not a site beyond limits but a nonspace devoid
of positive content.”56 Recognition here cannot refer to the positive order established

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Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  199
by the act, it can only refer to the act itself and recognize it as the instantiation of
a global Partisan that emerges in this act [Erkennen] and as the radicalized act of a
political non-state sovereign [Anerkennen].
The latter process can be discerned in the responses of the West in general, and the
United States in particular, to 9/11. To declare a “War on Terror” and to institutionalize exceptional measures as part of this war constitute the “functional equivalent”
of recognizing a claim to sovereignty. The realization that the declaration of a War
on Terror had such an effect among political leaders in the West can be observed in
the recent renunciations of the concept. In 2006, a headline in the British newspaper
Observer read “Britain stops talk of ‘war on terror.’” And the article continued,
A Foreign Office spokesman said the government wanted to “avoid reinforcing and
giving succor to the terrorists’ narrative by using language that, taken out of context,
could be counter-productive. . . . Whitehall officials believe that militants use a sense
of war and crisis and a “clash of civilizations” to recruit supporters, and thus the use of
terms such as “war,” “war on terror,” or “battle” can be counter-productive.57

As Joseph Nye elaborates, “al-Qaeda and affiliated groups use a simple yet effective
narrative to recruit young Muslims to cross the line into violence. . . . [It] is the language of war and a narrative of battle that gives recruits a cult-like sense of status and
larger meaning that leads to action.” And further, “British officials have concluded
that when we use the vocabulary of war and jihad, we simply reinforce al-Qaeda’s
single narrative and help their recruiting efforts.”58
The first such protestation was delivered as early as October 30, 2001, when Michael Howard criticized the “natural but terrible and irrevocable error” of declaring
war on terror. Contrasting it with the British experience in Palestine, Ireland, Malaya,
and Cyprus, he points out that the
terrorists were not dignified with the status of belligerents: they were criminals, to be
regarded as such by the general public and treated as such by the authorities. To declare
war on terrorists or, even more illiterately, on terrorism is at once to accord terrorists
a status and dignity that they seek and that they do not deserve. It confers on them a
kind of legitimacy.59

All three previously noted authors recognize war as a narrative, or as a “discourse
between the human and ‘the other’” in which certain syntactical rules apply.60 What
all three hint at can be further substantiated with reference to Nancy’s definition
of the relationship between war and sovereignty. The conferring of legitimacy that
Howard alludes to is the recognition of the political, rather than criminal, status of the
Partisan, the recognition of his status as a representative of a public cause, and above
all his ability to strike in such a fashion so as to elude the normalizing mechanisms
of domestic and international law. To declare war is the prerogative of the sovereign
against the sovereign, and the recognition that the other cannot be subsumed and

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200  ✻  Andreas Behnke
disciplined within extant legal structures. War returns conflict to the realm of the
political, in which (legal) order is deconstructed, not executed. As noted, terrorism is
but the most radical form of war as a conflict over the ability to define political order.
Could the events of September 11, 2001, have been dealt with differently? Is it
conceivable that the United States could have responded with a criminalization of
the acts, thus escaping al-Qaeda’s sovereignty trap? Howard suggests a
police operation conducted under the auspices of the United Nations on behalf of the
international community as a whole, against a criminal conspiracy whose members
should be hunted down and brought before an international court, where they would
receive a fair trial and, if found guilty, be awarded an appropriate sentence 61

only to dismiss this “ideal world” solution as unlikely, nay, impossible. As he notes,
at stake in the response was also American honor; the outrage and insult that 9/11
meant for the Americans “cried for immediate and spectacular vengeance to be inflicted by America’s own armed forces.”62
From the perspective of this essay, Howard does not go far enough in his insight
into the impossibility of the normalization and criminalization of 9/11. He seems to
underestimate the “meaninglessness” of the Event that is reflected in the interpretations
by Ignatieff, Baudrillard, and Žižek, who either insist on the impossibility of making
sense of it, or who place it within the Grand Narrative of Western Modernity—either
as a virus working against it, or as the radical expression of its logic. In either case,
9/11 remains a void, the Event deprived of any inherent meaning. And as such, it
cannot be subsumed under a criminal or disciplinary regime. Such a move presupposes that the meaning of the act can be ascertained, that a verdict can be passed
on the “appropriate sentence.” But the Event of 9/11 escapes this logic, its “explosive
brilliance of the sublime” blinding our sense of justice.

Conclusion: Re-cognizing Recognition
Recognition has become a central concept in critical theory, where it is more often
than not tied to notions of expanding zones of inclusion of social subjects, and, tied
to this, a concept of moral progress within societies. As such, mutual recognition is
expected to resolve conflicts in a peaceful fashion, address grievances, and re-define
and expand the moral code of ethical-political communities.63
In an interesting turn at the end of his treatise on recognition and violence, Tarik
Kochi tries to import this inclusive logic into the grammar of war and terror. He notes
that judgments on the just nature of war are usually partisan judgments in which particular claims of right, a form of life, or an ethical commitment hide behind claims to
universality. Yet on closer inspection, “partisan judgments on the rightness of war lose
much of their brilliance. They appear more often as confused, limited, self-contradictory claims over the legitimacy of violence.”64 In order to escape this conundrum,

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he calls for a different practice: “recognizing the ethics of the other’s war. Yet on closer inspection. Kochi’s reflections focus exclusively on the regulative aspects of recognition.”67 Kochi is careful not to overstate the role recognition can play as a “conflict resolution” tool. and aims to realize particular potentialities of political life. within a normative structure. Kochi wants to solve the problem of judgment by turning to a praxis of recognition. and violence are obscured. The approach he offers is not an answer to the problem of war. Yet even on these truncated terms. if it is true that most partisan judgments are “confused. The “universal” judgment that is supposed to emerge from the recognition of the other’s ethics of violence is in fact only conceivable. Here. Recognition therefore only pertains to the political or ethical grievances and concerns of extant “others. Firstly. limited. Any act of violence takes place.68 Kochi also seems to overlook a point here that features prominently in his discussion of Hegel’s theory of recognition: the ontological subordination of ethics Lindemann & Ringmar. self-contradictory.” not to the formation of such agents through war. Instead of the usual condemnation of the enemy and its violence. even this modest proposal becomes problematic. The other.” it remains ultimately unclear how the recognition of such judgment on the side of the other can really contribute to a better understanding and open up spaces for political negotiation.”65 This recognition seeks to consider “that there is a certain rightness embodies within the other’s act of war.” or that the other might have a right of his own in his use of war. Secondly. posits an ethical claim. but to the problem of judgment. is not a radical other. in other words. Kochi’s notion of recognition seems to pre-suppose what it claims to produce. the recognition is tied to the constitution of communities and not their regulation. It is difficult to imagine recognition forthcoming for the partisan judgment that lacks these qualities. The normative promise of recognition to provide a peaceful settlement of social and political conflicts cannot be realized within the realm of the international. this process of recognition can lead to an understanding of the rightness of war that at least approaches a certain level of “universality. but it cannot abolish it. and is authorized. As such. The process of recognition that Kochi describes demands a modicum of coherence and normative structure within the other’s judgment.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  201 which only feeds into fanaticism and militancy. Recognition of the possible rightness of the other’s ethical point of view might facilitate the “pragmatics of negotiation” and thus prevent a logic of extermination. Recognition may moderate conflict.66 Such recognition therefore aims at understanding the rightness of our own moral claims and of our violence in relation to the rightness of the violence of the other.indb 201 4/18/11 12:36 PM . The possibility of recognizing some rightness in the other’s violence requires a common set of values according to which such an assessment can be made. war. This is all the more surprising as Kochi tries to develop his concept of recognition through a critical engagement with Hegel. it seems doubtful that recognition can fulfill Kochi’s expectations. his violence does not reflect the extreme ontological rift between friend and enemy that is involved in the constitution of ethical-political communities. if a prior shared moral code is in effect. while the constitutive aspects of recognition.

Prozorov 2005. Any claim to universality is in fact particularistic. 107.” or a case of “suicidal autoimmunity”: “let us not forget that the United States had in effect paved the way for and consolidated the forces of the ‘adversary’ by training people like ‘bin Laden. or a truth. 3.69 Only within a regime of sovereignty can moral-truth claims be articulated and realized in a political context. The United States. One could also say that from a political perspective. Ibid. 11. a law. 8. Baudrillard 2002. in other words. . 1996. and practices out of the aporia of the Event’s interpretations. 9. ethical community. 177.” Nancy 2000. Kippenberg 2004. became the victim of a suicidal. 7. Although focusing more on the role of the United States within the system. I am referring to 9/11 as an “Event” here in the sense that Jacques Derrida does. Borradori and Derrida 2003. As the discussion of al-Qaeda and its terror in this essay has demonstrated. The critique of recognition must instead focus on the constitutive role that it plays in this society and the space it opens for the articulation of new political subjectivities. that is. Cf. 874. 90. as an act that resists immediate subsumption to a given structure of meaning.’ who would here be the most striking example.” Borradori and Derrida 2003. 6. Sofsky. yet demands such a move in a dramatic fashion. Sofsky 2002.indb 202 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and the fellow members of the “Liberal Way of  War” Programme at the University of Reading. in particular Christina Hellmich. for their respective feedback. 2.202  ✻  Andreas Behnke to ­sovereignty. 10. Jacques Derrida comes to a similar conclusion. 107. auto-immunitary aggression on 9/11. 9/11 constitutes a “double suicide. as it establishes new points of references. 1. It is therefore the “Event”-character of this event that induced the search for meaning. Lindemann & Ringmar. Ignatieff 2001. We therefore need to recognize that recognition does not offer a chance to moderate or mitigate the monstrous effects of sovereignty and war. Nancy 2000. Ibid. 4. always offered as an expression of a particular point of view of a distinctive political community. For him. 122. Bajorek 2005. an alternative. Yet this “appropriation” of the Event falters in the absence of a given horizon of anticipation and experience. Notes I would like to thank the editors for their comments on an earlier draft.. an Event “suspends and reopens the course of history. 95.178.70 The judgment on violence and the decision to go to war is therefore first and foremost the expression of a desire for sovereignty and the formation of a different. a critical-theoretical engagement with recognition in the international society should not aim to fulfill the futile and ever-receding goal of replacing its structure of violence with a diagram of morals. 5. structures of meaning.

23. Ibid. Žižek 2002. Cf. 174. 26. 69. Blits 1989. 28. Ibid. Schmitt 1995. 32. Ibid. 230. This is the constitutive theory of recognition. 118. Ibid. 41. 16.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  203 12. 17. 143. 49. 9–10.. as shall become clear from the following. bin Laden 2002. Kochi 2009. 308–11. Ghaith 2001. 141–142. 35. 252.. 50. 21.. 21. 141. 209. which considers the recognition of states to be little more than the confirmation of an already effective statehood. 20. 31.. 43... For the reason why it is ultimately unjustified. Ibid. 213. 139. 143. 30. 39. 78. xxii. Ringmar 2006. cf. 57. 13. Nancy 2000. Lindemann & Ringmar. 139. ibid. 135. Wolf 2008. Smith 1989. Behnke 2004. Ibid. Smith 1989. Derrida 2001. This is of course a dig against Kant’s project of Eternal Peace.. 27.. 107. 158. 25. Kochi 2009. 24. 42. Cf. 47. 159.. Haacke 2005. Nancy 2000. neither theory fully grasps the functioning of recognition. Borradori and Derrida 2003. 122. 2001 (“Last Words of a Terrorist” 2001). 19. 40. Kochi 2009. 44. 45. Ibid. Kochi 2009. 34. Ultimately. 14. 48. Oxford English Dictionary 2008. 33.. 18. 29. 361. see Behnke 2009. Ibid. 28. 51. It is opposed by the declaratory theory. bin Laden 1998. ibid.. Ibid. 22. See the text of the “Spiritual Guidance” and its critical interpretations in Kippenberger and Seidensticker 2004. 37. Hegel 1991. Saurette 2006.160. Cf.. 46.. 143. Ibid. 137–139. 38. Connolly 1995. 503.indb 203 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Nancy 2000. 426. Ibid. 91. 36. 15. An English translation of the text was published in The Observer on September 30. Frow 2003.

William. 60. 62. 59. Ibid. Prozorov 2004. Prozorov 2005. Borradori. Howard 2002. “Autoimmunity: Real and Symbolic Suicides: A Dialogue with Jacques Derrida. 2002. London: Routledge. in which “thick recognition” of the other’s identity becomes a prerequisite for just peace. “L’Esprit du terrorisme. 55. 93. 56. “Al-Qa’ida Recruitment Video. Ibid. html#video. Andreas. Lindemann & Ringmar.terrorism.http://www. May 1998.” In Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader. “Interview: Osama Bin Laden. Jason. Jennifer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 52.’” The Guardian.” Frontline: “Hunting Bin Laden. 256. Prozorov 2005..” In Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida. 1998. 67.uk/politics/2006/dec/10/uk..” Political Theory 17 (3): 417–431.” Millennium 33 (2): 279–312.” Critical Inquiry 31 (4): 874–902. 281. 2003. Baudrillard. Jan H. Hölderlin’s Terrorism.guardian. Roberts 2009. 250. On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness. 70. http://harpers. or. Ibid. Blits. “The Offices of Homeland Security. “Britain Stops Talk of ‘War on Terror. 1989. 69. Jean. Kochi 2009. 8.indb 204 4/18/11 12:36 PM . December 10. 54. Jacques. edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin.org/ archive/2002/02/0079058. See also Allan and Keller’s contribution to this book.. 64. 10. 1995. 65. Burke 2006. “Hobbesian Fear. 68. 2002. Honneth 1995. 58. 61. Mansfield 1982. “Terrorising the Political: 9/11 Within the Context of  The Globalisation of Violence. Bibliography Bajorek. 95. Simons 2000.” Harper’s Magazine. Walker 1993. bin Laden.pbs. 2004. New York: Oxford University Press.204  ✻  Andreas Behnke 52. 100–107. 257. Schmitt 1991. 57.. Giovanna. Haacke 2005. Howard 2002. 63. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Ethos of Pluralization. Osama.co.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/who/interview. 53. Nye 2007. Connolly. Howard 2009. 2005. Behnke. 2001. 66. Burke. 257. Ibid. ———. Derrida. and Jacques Derrida. 63. Cf. Honneth 1995.” http://www. 9. 236. 2006.

%202007&st=cse. October 1.Recognizing the Enemy: Terrorism as Symbolic Violence  ✻  205 Frow. “The Frankfurt School and International Relations: On the Centrality of Recognition. Tarik.html.00.” Millennium 34 (3): 917–933. Suleiman Abu. London: Taylor and Francis. Paul. 2006. Mansfield. 1989. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag. Erik.uk/ world/2001/sep/30/terrorism.oed. 2001). Oxford English Dictionary. Ignatieff. Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Joseph%20S.” Political Theory 37 (2): 296–309. The Struggle for Recognition: Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts. 2004. (October 10. London: Polity Press. ———. http://www. September 2001.” Alternatives 30 (1): 81–112. “Einleitung. Terror im Dienste Gottes: Die “Geistliche Anleitung” der Attentäter des 11. Kochi. Hans G. Text von 1932 mit einem Vorwort und drei Corrolarien.uk/Archive/Article/0.%20Nye%20Jr. Kippenberg. “Last Words of a Terrorist. 2004. 2002.” Review of International Studies 31(1): 181–194. 2005.com. John. Nancy. 2002. “X/Xs: Towards a General Theory of the Exception. Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader. Axel. and Judith Colp Rubin. Haacke. 2003. eds. Barry. Saurette. 2009. Neal. The Other’s War: Recognition and the Violence of Ethics. “You Dissin Me? Humiliation and Post 9/11 Global Politics. Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Ghaith. Howard. Roberts. F. Frankfurt: Campus Verlag.” The Guardian. The Gestalts of War: An Inquiry into Its Origins and Meanings as a Social Institution. 2002.september113. Power.” In Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East: A Documentary Reader. “Recognition. “It’s a War—But It Doesn’t Have to be Dirty. 2001.4267406. 2000. Hegel.” Symploke 11 (1–2): 69–76. “Just Don’t Mention the War on Terrorism. http://www.” In Terror im Dienste Gottes: Die “Geistliche Anleitung” der Attentäter des 11.co.. 1995. 1982. Der Begriff des Politischen. Lindemann & Ringmar. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.http://dictionary. September 2001. G. Being Singular Plural. 1991. Sue. Ringmar.” International Herald Tribune.guardian. Berlin: Duncker & Humblot.” Foreign Affairs 81 (1): 8–13. February 8. 2004. edited by Hans G. Carl. Joseph S. Honneth.” Review of International Studies 32 (3): 495–522. Rubin. Jean-Luc. 2007. “The Uses of Terror and the Limits of Cultural Studies. Michael. “Three Theses on ‘Governance’ and the Political. 2005.4273. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2009. The Observer. Prozorov. Jürgen. 2006. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Kippenberg and Tilman Seidensticker. “Liberal Barbarism and the Oriental Sublime: The European Destruction of the Emperor’s Summer Palace. New York: Oxford University Press. Michael. Kippenberg.indb 205 4/18/11 12:36 PM .com/2007/02/08/opinion/08iht-ednye.4523392 .” Journal of International Relations and Development 7 (3): 267–293. Theorie des Partisanen.co. and Tilman Seidensticker. “Al-Qa’ida Statement. “What’s in a Name? How to Fight Terrorism. W. Hans G.” 2001. 1991.nytimes. ———. New York: Oxford University Press. edited by Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin. September 30. Nye.guardian. Sergei. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Schmitt. 1995. eds. and Agency. New York: Dial Press. http://www.

206  ✻  Andreas Behnke Simons. “Modernist Misapprehensions of Foucault’s Aesthetics. Inside/Outside. 1989. J. 1993. Frankfurt: Fischer. Sofsky. Wolfgang.” Cultural Values 4 (1): 40–57. Jon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hegel’s Critique of Liberalism. 1996.indb 206 4/18/11 12:36 PM . “Respekt: Ein unterschätzter Faktor in den Internationalen Beziehungen. International Relations as Political Theory. Zeiten des Schreckens. R.” Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 15 (1): 5–42. Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Related Dates. Reinhard. Steven B. 2002. Žižek. 2002. Traktat über die Gewalt. 2008. Smith. Walker. Slavoj. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. London: Verso. ———. Frankfurt: Fischer. Wolf. Lindemann & Ringmar. B. 2000.

Part III Conclusions Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 207 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

Lindemann & Ringmar.indb 208 4/18/11 12:36 PM .

In the first section. I will outline some methods to empirically investigate these hypotheses. In a final section. I will propose a definition of non-recognition and explain why the concept of recognition can be applied to interstate relations.C h a p t e r 11 Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition Thomas Lindemann What does recognition mean and how does the concept apply to the empirical study of international conflicts? This book provided some answers based on theoretical considerations as well as on empirical case studies of the origins of international conflict and terrorist violence.indb 209 4/18/11 12:36 PM . I will formulate some hypotheses about the link between non-recognition and the origins of war. I will formulate some testable hypotheses about recognition and the origins of war. In the second section. Non-Recognition in International Relations Almost all of the contributions to this book defended an interactionist conception of non-recognition that includes the offended actors’ self-conceptions as well as their confirmation or non-confirmation by others. Drawing inspiration from sociological theory. we can summarize denials of recognition as the difference between a claimed 209 Lindemann & Ringmar. Drawing on these theoretical and empirical perspectives.

on the other hand. at least in its psychological dimension. and Alexandre Hummel’s study of the discriminatory aspects in the application of the non-proliferation treaty show how the violation of socially accepted standards of recognition fuel aggressive reactions. recognition is for most of the authors in this book not a normative concept but an “independent variable”: what matters is the actors’ subjective feeling that they are not recognized. Ideally we should distinguish between two aspects of non-recognition. actors do not feel recognized because their self-descriptions are not confirmed by other actors. and of the “virile” self-images (that is. we are not recognized.2 The recognition of an actor does not necessarily imply that other actors completely share their self-images but solely that they treat them according to the way they understand themselves. If. However. transporting the concept of recognition to the field of interstate relations still appears relatively problematic. and it is this “symbolic frustration” that is a possible motivation to engage in international conflict. Richard Lebow’s study in this volume suggests that self-glorification often is the result of a process of stigmatization by which excluded actors transform their negative differences into something particularly positive. For many contributions in this book.” and more linked to the subject’s identity than to the disrespectful behavior from others. More than “sincere” recognition. we have a more positive image of ourselves than the image of us projected by others. For example.210  ✻  Thomas Lindemann self-image and the image we perceive others to give us. is it not true that bureaucratic and ­decisional Lindemann & Ringmar. especially those by Axel Honneth and Reinhard Wolf. of the sacred character of Israeli’s self descriptions. the contributions of Charles Doran on Wilhelmian Germany’s difficulty in acquiring responsibilities in line with its potential power. whether the source of nonrecognition be a grossly inflated self-image or a denial of equality.indb 210 4/18/11 12:36 PM . the cult of physical force and the search for domination) attributed to the Bush administration. Does not such a transposition result in an illegitimate anthropomorphism of the state? 7 Why should state decision-makers feel offended when the refusal of recognition is directed at the political entity and not at the person? Only people and not states have a need for affection or for self-esteem. Moreover.5 In the second case.” Some may object that it is confusing to define non-recognition as the negative difference between a self-image and a received image.4 This identity-related denial of recognition is traditionally described as a “struggle for prestige. Indeed. actors may feel as if they have not been recognized because socially expected standards of consideration have been violated. our self-image is recognized.6 These kinds of struggles are best defined as “struggles for dignity” because they are motivated by the desire to be considered as a normal member of a community more than as a special member with a superior identity. what matters to actors is to preserve their face in social interaction. In the first case. transforming a “pariah people” into an “elected people. Struggles for identity and dignity are related to each other. The difficulty in satisfying these hubristic identities (inflated selfdescriptions3) is highlighted by studies of Germany’s self-images before World War II. ethically it would not be justified to recognize actors with inflated self-images.1 If there is a rough equivalence between this self-image and how we are treated. In this volume.

seem to value prestige and power more than wealth. Moreover.12 Interestingly.11 An objection. It is also true that applying the recognition problematic to interstate relations is tricky from an ethical point of view: it is indeed difficult to argue in favor of a state’s basic needs against the rights of individuals. taking hostage of a co-national or massacres inside another state can stimulate emotions in the formation of internal opinion.9 The identification of political officials with their state is all the more probable when the prestige associated with the institution strongly influences their personal prestige.indb 211 4/18/11 12:36 PM . emotions are not necessarily individual but can also be collective. A sociological argument for such an interstate application is made in this volume by Philippe Braud. “the founding references” of groups. Political activities select “alpha” personalities that should be particularly sensitive to recognition denials. However. Thus. In addition. Honneth and Wolf conclude their arguments with a strong plea for the application of the concept of recognition to the study of interstate relations. However. Lindemann & Ringmar.10 The “representative link” (Braud) between the governed and the governing explains why populations seldom are indifferent to attacks on their collective symbols. they could try to appease the adversary’s public opinion through recognition in order to delegitimize war—as suggested by Honneth. or Kim Jong-Il make wounds to their self-esteem an object of contention. interestingly enough. Emotional dynamics initiated by an act of contempt against a state are far from impossible to ignore. especially if the offense is targeted against a head of state in his or her official rather than personal capacity. Indeed. asserts that political decision-makers in modern democracies are so strongly inserted into bureaucratic processes that they should not easily succumb to such emotional dynamics. In the first place. Even an emotionally insensitive decision-maker cannot easily ignore offense felt by his or her community. constitute an “emotionally invested” site. discussed by Honneth and Wolf. political elites. this perspective invites us to take into account the strategic aspects of recognition in political decisions. we cannot assume that decision-makers define interests of power and wealth-maximization independently of the moral expectations of their constituencies. as suggested by Honneth.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  211 logics inside democratic political entities oblige political decision-makers to contend with a multitude of political forces? 8 Such a pluralist configuration of power channels the anger provoked by insults. In order for individuals to be able to embrace a role such as that of government leader. Secondly. The reference markers of collective identity. making it difficult for political decision-makers to remain inactive. Saddam Hussein. who insists on the “identity” value that an abstract institutional entity can possess for the officials of such an institution. Bismarck’s Ems Dispatch13 offers a good illustration of how decision-makers may be able to force a war by insulting a nation. Accordingly. such as religious beliefs. recognition and non-recognition can be exploited to trigger international conflict. political decision-makers often instrumentalize questions of identity and pride to find resonance among public opinion. only dictators like Adolf Hitler. it is necessary for them to be identified at least partially with the institution that has conferred this role. as opposed to economic ones.

First. The success of a “tit for tat” strategy in Robert Axelrod’s famous game theory tournament shows that people with the reputation to respond reasonably to provocations have a better chance to succeed in the competition. The identification with state entities on the part of different actors will always be variable and multidimensional. in a “Kantian” anarchy. State identification cannot be abstractly postulated without investigating sociologically the variety of historical situations.212  ✻  Thomas Lindemann Strategic calculations concerning recognition apply not only to the domestic arena but also to the international. it risks losing its authority and independence. losing a war always signifies humiliation and thus a loss of face. which is the case Lindemann & Ringmar.20 It is thus necessary to consider which types of variables determine the symbolic benefits of peace and war. we know that state leaders may gain reputation and national support even in military defeat—especially when confronted with an overwhelming power.19 Some may argue that for decisionmakers. It is worth investigating whether political entities with strong national identities. applying the recognition problematic to international relations is an empirical question.17 Finally.16 However.15 As the realists would have it.14 Bearing this in mind. Symbolic calculations have their own particular logic and therefore cannot be approached in the same way as material benefits. our calculations could be simplified. War. the symbolic costs depend on identities. will become an option when the perceived net recognition benefits of war are superior to the perceived net recognition benefits of peace. since the most powerful would always be the ones who best preserve their reputation. this same “strategic” interest in preserving a “good reputation” can also play in favor of advocating moderate policies. Leaders calculate. War will be more likely to promote an actor’s self-image if he has a hubristic identity because actors with inflated self-descriptions are easily offended.21 War can also be an attractive option if the instigators have few moral feelings of guilt or shame. If this were true. when a state is not preoccupied with its reputation in international society. it is possible to formulate several hypotheses about the link between non-recognition and armed violence. The Empirical Study: Some Hypotheses on Non-Recognition and International Violence From these premises about a state’s symbolic motivation. Without claiming that it is possible to exactly quantify the recognition benefits of war and peace. the symbolic costs and gains in war. the assumption that decision-makers only consider the economic and strategic costs of war is unrealistic. founded on the rule of non-violence and mutual aid instead of military honor. subconsciously at least. according to the main thesis. holistic conceptions of society and states personified by their leaders—l’ état c’est moi—are more vulnerable to offenses than others. “reputation” and “credibility” are crucially important for a state’s ability to deter aggression. However.indb 212 4/18/11 12:36 PM .18 There is a recognition net benefit when an actor improves his self-image as conveyed by significant others by choosing a policy.

that is. and if they are denied dignity and identity. NationalSocialist pretention of “racial superiority” over other nations is an extreme expression of such hubristic identity because this pretention is very different from great power ambitions to participate in international leadership by virtue of international norms that are formalized.25 However. a socially accepted and generally acknowledged standard of respect.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  213 where the actors fail to positively identify with the victim of the aggressive action. the quest for self-esteem is animated by a strategy of distinction: a positive self-image is cultivated by exaggerating differences with others and in stressing one’s superiority. The first and second hypotheses stress the importance of idealized and shared identities while the third and fourth hypotheses stress the dignity-related aspects of non-recognition. the interest of a state not to resort to force will depend on whether other states or non-state actors treat it according to normal standards of recognition. Second. The fifth links both identity and dignity. an actor’s strategy of distinction is often not a choice but a necessity because the valued community does not accept them.23 Extensive empirical investigations are needed to validate the thesis about the symbolic origins of wars. and the more modest aim here is to show that the historical evidence presented in this volume and elsewhere about the origins of interstate wars is consistent with the hypotheses that follow.indb 213 4/18/11 12:36 PM . The identity-motivated recognition struggles and dignity-motivated recognition struggles represent two modalities of an actor’s quest for self-esteem. For instance. In the second case. In other words. since it is through non-recognition of dignity that actors construct problematic identities that are a possible cause of war. actors seek to obtain self-esteem by identifying with a valued social group and by demonstrating their similarity with other members of a community. like Nazi Germany. In the first case. If actors have hubristic identities and do not identify with other actors. which is not recognized by other major international actors. superiority is recognized by others on the basis of well-established norms.24 Hypothesis 1: Hubristic Identities as a Possible Cause of War Many contributions to this volume suggest that actors with hubristic identities are particularly vulnerable to “narcissistic wounds. one can argue Lindemann & Ringmar. develop idealized and negative identities that especially serve to enhance their self-esteem.22 In the second case. This formula also includes both the emotional and material costs related to non-recognition. The two aspects of recognition are related. All of the following hypotheses are based on the idea that wars often occur when self-images are not recognized. Inflated self-descriptions are not necessarily restricted to “crazy” authoritarian leaders. superiority is totally subjective and hence disconnected from any international norm of recognition. the struggle for recognition is not a struggle for a special identity but for dignity. In this case.” Hubristic identities are defined by the aspiration for recognition by other actors on the international scene of one’s superiority. It is often by stigmatization that actors. we can say that war is a probable option because the symbolic net benefits in favor of war are higher than the symbolic net benefits of peace. In the first case.

piecemeal victories. The attempts to conquer Russia by Napoleonic France. as a consequence. representatives of a culture of prestige are more inclined to take risks. to relative. Thus hubristic identities are exposed to the loss of a sense of continuity of the self (ontological insecurity) in case of their non-confirmation by a significant other. An armed conflict follows when an actor. An entire body of literature in international relations. most willing to resort to force. to which these leaders are accountable. than by dictatorships. “I cannot know what insults me if I do not know who I am. is not satisfied with having a “slave identity. as Wolf explains.214  ✻  Thomas Lindemann that these hubristic self-images are better channeled by democratic institutions. Thus. even at the price of their security and that of their community. Virile identities can be considered a subtype of hubristic identities stressing “physical” and mental. as stressed in this volume by Richard Lebow. particularly how changes in self-identification demand recognition by others. On the other hand. all claims to superiority imply the depreciation of others. has promoted the importance of virile images as a possible cause of armed confrontations. then by Nazi Germany.” Third.26 Even if respected as equals. Moreover. The governmental representatives of a virile culture are the ones most anxious to avoid an admission of weakness and are. virile identities that are the cult of physical force and the search for domination are an important factor in explaining the resort to force. which is more costly but more prestigious.30 Hypothesis 2: The Propensity for Armed Aggression between Political Actors is Higher When There is No Positive Identity Link between Them A collective identity assumes that others belong to the same community as oneself. confronted by another’s identity pretensions.” Communities conveying hubristic identities will take every opportunity to feel humiliated. First. Second. societies characterized by the cult of honor did not have the same possibility to make concessions without compromising their identities as Athens. or contemporary Sweden. Perceiving others’ actions as insults initially depends on actors’ self-image. even if our similarity is reduced merely to the affiliation of mankind. antimilitarist ex-FRG. To paraphrase Alexander Wendt.indb 214 4/18/11 12:36 PM . and not “intellectual” or moral. actors with hubristic identities are easily offended if others refuse to admit their own inferiority.27 Yana Zuo’s study in this volume illustrates the link between ontological insecurity and international conflict in the case of Taiwan. when officials of several states lay claim to superiority over each other. superiority over others.28 They also prefer absolute victory. State officials asserting superiority tend to prefer glory to physical security. even by minor provocations. There are several links between hubristic identities and war.29 Responses to provocations can range from verbal protest to the use of force via economic sanctions. such identities are more vulnerable than egalitarian identities.31 A collective Lindemann & Ringmar. as much psychological as feminist. an identity dilemma emerges—one’s identity assertion implies the non-recognition of the other. are typical examples of such foolish taste for high risks.

forming an “imagined community.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  215 identity also implies identification with others. I can cut them down without compromising my positive self-image. These kinds of recognition struggles are not for a special identity but for dignity. as human beings. Thus 9/11 can be understood as al-Qaeda’s desire “to become recognized as a political.34 The colonial European powers did not have any scruples in waging wars of extermination against African people. In this case.36 Hypothesis 3: The Denials of Accepted Standards of a State’s Universal Dignity to a Particular State Are Likely to Incite Wars States are not only struggling for individuality but also for dignity. meaning that states are striving to be recognized as full members of a community. What counts is instead an awareness of belonging to the same community.”33 The prospect of recognition explains why shared identities are a source of peace.35 The link between the lack of shared identities and recognition through international violence is explored in this volume by Andreas Behnke’s contribution dedicated to al-Qaeda. In this case. in adding to Behnke’s analysis.32 “The Kantian anarchy” of NATO where member states are identified with others is an illustration. it would be pertinent to investigate not only the designers of al-Qaeda’s attacks but also those who carry them out. In this perspective. and therefore to opposite reactions and behaviors. violence is productive in establishing subjectivity.indb 215 4/18/11 12:36 PM . indeed quasi-sovereign. it would be rash to conclude that dignity entirely depends on an actor’s perceptions. For this latter group. whether in the Belgian Congo or German South-West Africa. but a desire to avoid disregard and the unequal affirmation of superiority by others. Actors who resort to force against a friendly state for economic and political reasons contribute to the depreciation of their own image—because I identify others as anathema. rather than criminal actor in the global system. concrete experiences of discrimination—for example. it is not a desire to affirm one’s superiority that is at the origin of a rivalry between states.” However. Indeed in war “the state-sovereign asserts himself in a duel between equals” (Behnke). others represent a threat to our identity. political actors can even presuppose that others convey values that are the exact opposite of their own. When others are stigmatized or when differentiation is valued. protection of their lives. While it is rare Lindemann & Ringmar. by stigmatized Muslims in Western countries—should count more than the abstract social fact of sovereignty in the international system. contestation. Identification rests on the perception that others deserve. In such a system. However. recognition is strongly linked to the problem of justice. At the worst. Many international norms of respect may be open to interpretation. actors may seek recognition through a logic of otherness instead of inclusion. a minimal emotional participation in their distress and their needs. which entails exclusion by the acknowledgement of the mutually exclusive authority over territorially defined space. International society is founded on the affirmation of sovereignty. The empirical identification of a collective identity does not presume that various qualities are objectively shared by two communities.

Equal sovereignty means that each state is its own master and free from any external authority.indb 216 4/18/11 12:36 PM . meaning the abstract respect for an actor as a member of a community of states and not as an actor with special qualities. Finally. Moreover there exist more informal norms of equal dignity among states. A recognized state enjoys the right of territorial integrity. there has been the rule among great powers to integrate all great powers into some common institutions. Nations treated as “parvenu powers” (Lebow) such as Wilhelmian Germany (Murray. such as Communist China until 1971 and the Hamas entity in 2008. the denial of equal dignity is an important motivation for interstate conflicts.37 Even small powers will jealously protect their rights. Thus. In the same way. There are norms that claim respect for the hierarchical status and autonomy of states. The norm of reciprocity is probably one of the universal principal components of moral codes. leading to an intense spiral of symbolic escalation to which Germany responded with increased belligerence. “Thick recognition” means treating other states as equal members of a shared community. such as the immunity of their ambassadors and the preeminence of those ambassadors over lower-ranking diplomats of “big” powers. can trigger violent reactions that aim for the re-establishment of a state’s threatened dignity.” Some norms of international respect are so deeply anchored in social practices and the expectations of state actors that their violation universally triggers feelings of non-recognition. is protected by a great number of conventions. For instance. since the Vienna Alliance (1815) system.40 Punitive and discriminating peace treaties.39 Newly created state-entities. and harsh injunctions. Symmetry in behavior and mutual renouncement (Allan and Keller) means that nobody suffers any discrimination. For Charles Doran. such as ultimatums. This kind of “thin recognition” implies that each party recognizes the other’s right “to exist and to continue to exist as an autonomous subject. often use violence to establish themselves as existing actors in international relations. Michelle Murray shows in her study how Germany’s armament policy before World War I was an attempt to secure identity in light of its non-recognition. The universal dignity of the state.216  ✻  Thomas Lindemann that an actor will feel offended by the refusal to obtain the annexation of its neighbor. German demands to be treated as an equal on par with the other great powers went unrecognized.42 This misrecognition is founded on an “unusual lag between Germany’s Lindemann & Ringmar. it is more than likely that a state actor will feel non-recognized by violations of widely accepted norms.38 Many studies suggest that recognition/non-recognition of accepted standards of visibility and equal dignity is a possible cause of peace and war. such as “non-interference in internal affairs.” to quote the contribution of Pierre Allan and Alexis Keller.41 Non-recognition of great powers that have the means to punish the offender will especially fuel humiliation and violent reactions. normal states are recognized by others and engage in official diplomatic relations with them. verbal depreciation of the other’s status. not fully recognized in the international community. the experience of misrecognition by German decision-makers motivated their brinkmanship in the 1914 July crisis. Doran) or stigmatized powers are more likely to engage in armed conflicts or displays of military might than integrated and accepted powers.

Attacks on specific state identities are identifiable by depreciation of its national values or by the negation of past traumas.43 It is easy to show how often this norm of political tolerance is violated.46 The lack of empathy reveals itself in particular by indifference toward human suffering. such as article 231’s “guilt clause. especially by great powers when they are confronting smaller nations. treated in the first hypothesis.45 Furthermore.” The origins of World War II are also linked to the refusal on the part of the Allies of accepted standards of “great power dignity. Finally. such as those of “peaceful coexistence” during the Cold War. the normative expectations of state and non-state actors. For this reason. offenses against national symbols such as flags are condemned and identified as dommage moral in international law.indb 217 4/18/11 12:36 PM . a state’s struggle for identity is canalized by reference to general international norms and not incompatible with tolerance of the other’s culture. which is especially offensive in the context of the rise of humanitarian norms.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  217 power and role in the international system.”47 Lindemann & Ringmar. However. Some norms of empathy such as respect for traumatic historical experiences and recognition of past crimes shape. In the first case. The development of norms regarding mutual tolerance is linked to the traumatic experience of destructive religious and ideological wars where state actors realized that without a principle of internal sovereignty involving the respect for political independence. states proclaim their right “to determine their political. There exist two forms of a state’s struggle for identity. Other experiences of indifference by state actors can be triggered by stressing others’ difference or insignificance.” than by those inimical to German security. there would be a permanent threat to their survival. economic and social systems. Hypothesis 4: Attacks on Specific Identities such as a State’s Political or Cultural References or a Lack of Empathy Are Also Likely to Encourage the Outbreak of Armed Conflicts Non-recognition may hurt a state’s more “particularistic identity” as an actor with specific values and a right to obtain special attention from other members of the international community.” Lebow’s study shows how Germany’s nationalism was fueled more by those articles of the treaty that were considered offensive to German honor. it is important to examine the reaction of actors if a state suffers a human or natural disaster. which produce identity dilemmas. informal international norms endow states with the right to receive some empathy from others and the reciprocal duty to offer some to others. Thus. without interference. states try to affirm inflated self-descriptions. Many legal and moral norms have progressively been developed in the interstate system to assure respect for a state’s specific identity. at least since the end of the Second World War. as well as indifference toward the suffering of victims in national catastrophes. In the second case.”44 Great powers assure the norm of “internal independence” in relations among themselves by operational rules. normative expectations of internal sovereignty have survived even when violated.

The sentence “anarchy is what states make of it” only makes sense under the assumption that there are behaviors of recognition that are likely to turn Hobbesian anarchy into Kantian anarchy. Lindemann & Ringmar. such as during the Thirty Years War or the French Revolution. through which others transform the initially negative difference into a positive quality. The need for the confirmation of an identity by others explains why actors construct their identities while looking at themselves through the eyes of others.48 Classic Realist scholars such as Hans Morgenthau and Henry Kissinger consider ideological messianism as a cause of war because it neglects power realities. However. such as during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. the “significant others” are normally great powers or neighboring states.50 Peace researchers underline that rhetorical practice stressing differences between “in-group” and “out-group” helps to fuel conflicts. homogeneous international orders are more stable than heterogeneous ones. especially if the latter are governed by powers spreading their ideology. Hubristic and negative identities.52 It is true that state identities are constructed by domestic processes. such as extreme nationalism or religious fundamentalism. Concerning the violation of a state’s internal sovereignty. Some empirical studies also show that indifference toward a state’s fate or its historical traumas fuels aggressive reactions. it is also worth investigating the symbolic effect of political moralism on such state leaders as Kim Jong-Il or Saddam Hussein. but systemic factors such as recognition and non-recognition from great powers have constantly been minimized in works about state chauvinism. the most obvious link connects ideological messianism and armed conflicts. whereas the display of some empathy toward others by stressing a shared identity often is able to pacify international conflicts. Peaceful international crisis management involving powers of different types presupposes the recognition of the coexistence principle.indb 218 4/18/11 12:36 PM .218  ✻  Thomas Lindemann Some empirical evidence—such as the case studies about the Versailles treaty and nuclear non-proliferation presented in this book—supports the thesis that violation of a state’s specific identity may trigger violence. such as humiliating peace treaties. are often the result of a process of stigmatization. Thus. American leaders were deeply offended by Saddam Hussein’s and the Taliban’s state celebrations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.49 State actors seek empathy when they are struck by humanitarian catastrophe. The construction of hubristic and negative identities rests on contemptuous behaviors. Hypothesis 5: Attacks against a State’s Dignity Are Also Likely to Encourage Interstate Violence Via the Formation of Stigmatized Identities which Can Be Transformed into Idealized Identities The more subjective and inter-subjective aspects of recognition—the struggle for inflated self-descriptions and struggle for dignity—are related because it is often through stigmatization that actors develop idealized identities.51 In the interstate system. For instance.

53 These concessions were surely too incremental to be of any tangible effect. it is necessary to objectify non-recognition independently from frustration and mental states expressed by actors. the lack of shared identities among states can be objectified by the existence of messianic great powers with differentiated identity types (for example. International Recognition Study Methods The recognition studies in this volume suggest that all kinds of methods are helpful in understanding or measuring the impact of non-recognition in international politics: correlation studies. overconfidence and self-glorification. show the utility in linking non-recognition through stigmatization and state exclusion on the one hand. Germany’s symbolic humiliation by the Versailles treaty explains partly why National Socialism could exploit honor-related themes.54 Another possible effect of a submissive entourage is that such decision-makers find it difficult to confront the international community that may contradict their inflated self-descriptions. National political leaders are often able to select and reinterpret information from the outside world. To be efficient. and national ceremonies. and construction of idealized and warlike identities on the other. important statues. The development of fundamentalisms is often exacerbated by external threats and by behaviors of stigmatization. In order to investigate a possible co-variation between recognition and international conflict. Permanently flattered people progressively develop inflated self-descriptions and are therefore more easily provoked and prone to risky behavior.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  219 Some empirical studies. such as Lebow’s contribution to this book. case studies. Germany’s public never fully realized the softening of the Versailles treaty induced by the United States and Great Britain that took place in the 1920s and against French opposition.55 In the same way. Thus. authoritarian regimes compared to democratic states) or linguistic analyses such as the frequency of dichotomous discourses (reinforcing an “us and them” rhetoric). Studies of “group-think” have stressed that decision-makers whose views are never contested rapidly develop feelings of invulnerability. it should be noted that even conciliatory movements within a nation—as is suggested by Honneth’s contribution—are not automatically perceived by another nation’s public opinion. and more interpretative methods.indb 219 4/18/11 12:36 PM . For instance. Indoctrinated by the legends of backstabbing and strong resentment about the humiliation of Versailles. However. Willy Brandt’s Kniefall to victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Anwar El Sadat’s speech before the Knesset in 1977 illustrate the important symbolic dimensions of a politics of recognition. It is also worth investigating—as suggested by Wolf in our volume—whether hubristic identities could not result from an excess of recognition. Dignity-related Lindemann & Ringmar. military parades. it is possible to detect idealized self-images by analyzing the architectural characteristics of governmental buildings. a politics of recognition has to address itself quite directly and spectacularly to another state’s public opinion.

and stigmatization of vanquished powers are more war prone than orders that conform to social standards of recognition. It is also worth examining the rapidity of decisions in order to verify whether they are spontaneous and thus possibly fueled by emotions. interaction with the offender and domestic and international audiences. As made clear in this volume. or is it because actors with such identities are more prone to take risks? It is also very interesting to distinguish different steps of the decision-making process: identification of non-recognition. To take public indignations at face value means exposing oneself to the risk of circular reasoning: one identifies the refusal of recognition by violence. For example. it should be possible to measure whether international orders founded on idealized. virile identities. and is their understanding of it comparable with the indicators the researcher has constructed?57 The significance of non-recognition will vary as a function of an actor’s cognitive map. the perpetrators of most wars and international violence justify their actions by the existence of injustices. The study of an actor’s subjective drives and representations is also important for grasping the relationship between variables and to identify intervening steps in the process leading from peace to war. Thus dignity is not an individual mental state that escapes empirical analysis.220  ✻  Thomas Lindemann non-recognition is even more easily detected than identity-related non-recognition because it transgresses inter-subjective standards as opposed to specific ideas held by some “megalomaniac” and idiosyncratic actors. evaluation and risk assessments of different policy alternatives. correlations need to be explained and completed by a study of the ways in which actors understand situations in order to grasp how such objectified nonrecognition is experienced in situ. Doran’s study of Germany’s “powerrole gap” before World War I is a prime example of how to statistically analyze the link between non-recognition and international violence. we can establish co-variation between non-recognition and phenomena such as peace and war. since they get to witness external expressions of feelings of humiliation. it is possible to investigate the extent to which fundamental norms of recognition are formalized in international relations in a given period. which is then explained by the existence of an identity frustration. one should not only focus on the emotional aspects of recognition but also on its strategic motivation.indb 220 4/18/11 12:36 PM . However. harsh punishment. Are they aware of non-recognition. such as outbreaks of anger. different identity types. A first approach to grasping actors’ subjective understanding is to detect feelings of humiliation. the detection of such emotions presents considerable problems for the analyst.58 For example: Why is it that hubristic identities lead to war? Is it because they are more vulnerable to provocations. One way to avoid such circular reasoning is to scrutinize many more private sources from actors. In this way. such as personal documents that may give a better clue to true motives than do public discourses. Policy-makers may rationally evaluate how a decision affects self-image and ­reputation Lindemann & Ringmar.56 As already suggested. However. Once objectified.59 Other clues to actors’ emotions are their inner circles of advisers. The inter-subjective character of identity and dignity makes it possible to grasp the material existence of non-recognition. and the final choice between peace and war.

Whoever studies international conflicts should therefore not only pay attention to what actors want to have but also to how they want to appear and how these self-images are reflected by others. have normative implications for the prevention of war. as Honneth suggests. One should examine in more detail the recognition aspirations of these states. North Korea. “Revenge is a dish best served cold. Yet. as demonstrated by Lebow and Murray’s contributions.60 It is also possible to test explanations in terms of recognition against other explanations. and reputation is a resource in the struggle for power and wealth. Epilogue The contributions in this volume provide tentative evidence for the thesis that non-recognition matters in international politics.Concluding Remarks on the Empirical Study of International Recognition  ✻  221 in domestic and international audiences because their legitimacy depends greatly on these symbolic factors.” More strategic expressions for the quest of recognition can be empirically analyzed by studying the frequency of words such as “reputation” or “credibility” in an actor’s discourses and by paying special attention to whether domestic and international challenges to the symbolic capital of governmental authorities are correlated with a radicalization of decisions related to international security. we should also consider the emotional aspects of recognition as well as its strategic aspects. which means that they try to maximize their self-image and to lessen those of others by instrumentalizing accepted norms for their political purpose.indb 221 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Even actors driven by glory or humiliation may carefully repress immediate emotions to better serve their long-term aims. or Iran. as is well expressed in the popular adage. Against such intuitive understanding of armed conflicts. The works of Frank Schimmelfennig and Honneth and Hummel’s articles in this volume suggest how actors elaborate true presentation strategies. The perspective of recognition suggests an alternative means to the carrot-and-stick approach in the pacification of contentious powers such as China. Such politics of recognition is also aimed Lindemann & Ringmar. to test the value of recognition against realist or liberal approaches. The reduction of the quest for recognition to emotions such as self-esteem will reduce it to a purely psychological approach. Russia. the quest for rationality is often quite strategic. We can contrast the strategic and economic costs and benefits of a decision with recognition-related logics. Such calculations can even be externally deduced by asking questions about the symbolic net benefits of options related to peace and war. However we should avoid turning recognition into a purely residual variable to be used only when rationalist explanations fail. physical violence is often preceded by “symbolic violence” (Braud). stressing the limits of rationality. This diagnosis should also. the evidence presented in this book suggests that the quest for recognition is as much a cause of international conflict as that of security concerns or profits in terms of power and economics. Most of our cases are related to international conflict and are therefore hard cases for recognition because scholars expect that here physical survival should easily come before vanity.61 Thus. In this manner.

and Reinhard Wolf. 6. White 1970. Tickner 1996. Rosen 2005. Philippe Braud. Braud 1996. 21. Ashley 1988. Bismarck “sharpened” the dispatch and released it to the press. The politics of recognition is not expensive. Walker 1993. Adler and Barnett 1996. Goffman 1999. Markey 1999. 1. Tajfel and Turner 1986. 23. It was designed to give the impression that King William I had insulted the French Ambassador Count Benedetti. 2. 11. Lindemann 2008. Peter Koenigs. Steinberg 1996. 22. Saurette 2006. 29. Schelling 1960. 27.indb 222 4/18/11 12:36 PM . Saurette 2006. chapter 6. Crawford 2000. Christian Olsson. 7. Notes I am grateful for comments provided by Michael Ahmed. Plato 2008. Lebow 2008. Alexandre Hummel. 26. O’Neill 2004. Lebow 2008. Ringmar 2002. Braud 1996. Erik Ringmar. Vertzberger 1998. Braud 2004. 17. 18.222  ✻  Thomas Lindemann at internal audiences of the aggressive state in order to delegitimize the war option for the decision-makers of these states. 24. Tang 2004. Lindemann 2010. Axelrod 1984. 15. Elena Aoun. Elisabeth Etienne. 16. Saurette 2006. 3. 50–55. Finnemore 1996. 5. 20. See Erik Ringmar’s introduction. Wendt 298–299. Braud 1996. Ringmar 1996. see Fearon 1995. Mitzen 2006. Justin Cook. Stephen Humphreys. 4. Doran 1991. 19. 30. but its benefits can be huge. 61–72 and chapter 3. Lindemann & Ringmar. 32. Mercer [1996] 2009. Ned Lebow. Rosen 2005. 14. Honneth 1996. 153–169. 85–100. Jervis 1988. On materialist rational choice perspectives. 25. 46–49. The Ems Dispatch was an internal message from the Prussian king to Bismarck related to the French demand that the king should guarantee that he would never approve the candidacy of a Hohenzollern to the Spanish throne. Elias 2009. 10. 12. 28. 9. Wolf 2008. 8. Volker Heins. 45–121. 31. 13.

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