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European Journal of International Relations

http://ejt.sagepub.com A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm: Back to Bentham?
Tomas Baum European Journal of International Relations 2008; 14; 431 DOI: 10.1177/1354066108092306 The online version of this article can be found at: http://ejt.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/14/3/431

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A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm: Back to Bentham?


TOMAS BAUM Flemish Peace Institute, Brussels, Belgium

It is a fundamental dictum in the canon of IR theory that democracies do not wage war against each other. The philosopher Immanuel Kant is given credit for having originally advanced this essentially liberal research agenda in his essay entitled Perpetual Peace. The present article intends to offer a reassessment of this view by examining Kants critical proposition, confronting it with the contemporary liberal perspective of Jeremy Bentham, and evaluating its implications on policy recommendations that are based on Kantian ideas. We will see how fundamental epistemological and ethical perspectives are the formative principles of Kants peace essay and how these are not compatible with a liberal point of view. Benthams Plan for a Universal and Perpetual Peace provides for a more genuine liberal inspiration. The differences that exist between both philosophers will disclose a normative predicament. KEY WORDS critical philosophy democratic peace liberalism political violence ethics

The names albeit not always the ideas of Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Rousseau or Kant not infrequently appear in present-day articles published in the paradigm of IR theory. From a rhetorical point of view, these benchmarks seem to offer well-established and recognized points of departure for argumentation. At the same time, they elicit the caveat that accounts of a tradition serve to legitimise and circumscribe what counts as proper scholarship (Walker, 1993: 29). Immanuel Kants contributions are a case in point. Between 1784 and 1795, Kant, at that time already a famous philosopher, wrote some brief essays to oblige the general public. The last of these essays, entitled Perpetual Peace1 suggests, among other things, that

European Journal of International Relations Copyright 2008 SAGE Publications and ECPR-European Consortium for Political Research, Vol. 14(3): 431453 [DOI: 10.1177/1354066108092306]

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) constitutional republics favour peaceful coexistence. This qualitative statement, which is based on ethical and juridical considerations, is translated by many into the now famous dictum: Democracies do not wage war against each other.2 Currently, the idea of democratic peace is at a premium. The overall importance of the debate on democratic peace is acknowledged in the field of IR theory (Maliniak et al., 2007: 20) and as an influential and intellectually useful idea found its way into foreign policy circles where it serves to justify choices already made or in the making (Fukuyama, 2006; Rice, 2005; Ish-Shalom, 2006). In the current neo-liberal consensus, the associated qualification often spells liberal democratic peace: fundamental civic rights and representative government are supplemented with rights of private property and access to the global market. The normative scope of the liberal approach to democratic peace3 is the object of the following inquiry. The War over Perpetual Peace, a comprehensive survey of (English language) interpretations of Kants peace essay, notes that Michael Doyle is the first author to mention Perpetual Peace as the intellectual forebear of the liberal peace phenomenon, that a large number of studies followed his Kant, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs4 (Doyle, 1983a, 1983b), and that many of these studies view Kants ideas as having laid the theoretical groundwork for the liberal peace claim (Easley, 2005). Doyle notes an encouraging record in relations between states with a liberal regime, observing that constitutionally secure liberal states have yet to engage in war with one another. Various strategic and realistic arguments offer cogent explanations for the peaceful coexistence among liberal democracies, but he is looking for a specific argument that explains the working of liberalism among its own kind a special pacification of the state of war resting on liberalism and nothing either more specific or more general. To strengthen his case, Doyle refers to Kant as: one of the greatest liberal philosophers and a source of insight, policy, and hope (Doyle, 1983a: 20824). It is an interesting question, indeed a fundamental one, whether liberal and Kantian principles can readily be united. Kant can be read in ways that question the fundamental assumptions on which claims about a liberal interpretation are based. A reconsideration of the arguments in Michael Doyles 1983 article will prove interesting, especially with regard to issues of policy. In my view, the appeal to Kant in Doyles liberal democratic theory falls short in the areas of epistemology and ethics. The Kantian idea of perpetual peace is understood as an empirical model (an unwarranted move into a critical frame of thought) and Kants proposals are interpreted in a way that does not conform to his ethical point of view. In addition, the roots of classic laissez-faire liberalism are traced back to Kant, whereas his texts offer inconclusive references to substantiate such a claim. Fortunately, a contemporary of Kant can offer the 432

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm liberal democratic argument an alternative intellectual foundation. In the history of philosophy, the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham the founding father of utilitarianism is a representative liberal thinker. The overarching framework of my critique on Doyles 1983 interpretation will be a comparison of the insights of Kant and Bentham.5 Such a comparison is useful for three reasons. First, both authors were Enlightenment thinkers living in the same era and both advanced emancipatory ideas based on the use of reason. Furthermore, Bentham also wrote on world peace under the title A Plan for a Universal and Perpetual Peace.6 A comparison of Benthams plan and Kants sketch readily suggests itself. Finally, the implications of the divergence between these two authors regarding epistemological and ethical issues will prove relevant to the current debate on liberal democratic peace. In his book International Relations Theory: New Normative Approaches, Chris Brown has confronted the Kantian perspective with a Benthamite approach. He offers an incisive judgement of the issues, yet without entering into a detailed reasoning of the fundamental philosophical questions at stake (Brown, 1992). A re-examination of the work of both philosophers with a view to assessing the normative and epistemological starting principles of their thinking on International Relations will allow us to expose certain fallacious assumptions about basic precepts of the workings of liberalism. It is not surprising that the interpretation of Kants oeuvre is subject to much dispute and, indeed, we find a number of competing readings of the Perpetual Peace essay in the field of IR theory (Easley, 2005; Franceschet, 2001). Over the years, several authors have modified the mainstream liberal understanding of Kant that is often based on an uncritical acceptance of Doyles interpretation. I agree with Cecilia Lynch that Kants conceptions of reason and duty play an important role in the peace essay and that these conceptions have been underestimated in the liberal approach. In addition, I share her concern regarding the interventionist implications of some of the analyses (Lynch, 1994: 3958). John MacMillan has argued convincingly that the predominant interpretation of Kants writings in the inter-liberal state peace discourse manifests some very un-Kantian characteristics. When advocating a rereading of Kant, he tries to place the notion of perpetual peace inside a broader moral and political context. I take his suggestion to heart that one ought to reflect on the big picture (MacMillan, 1994: 54962). Georg Cavallar has criticized Michael Doyle for taking Kants transcendental claims as statements that can be verified empirically. According to Cavallar, this results in an inversion of the Kantian framework (Cavallar, 2001: 248). We will challenge a principal interpretation of Kant that has been seminal in the liberal democratic peace debate and is prima facie considered normative (Rengger, 2000: 762) yet fails to live up to its promise. 433

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) The following argument offers contemporary theorists of liberal peace an incentive to question their own epistemological and ethical assumptions. In view of the fact that the vocabulary we draw upon to understand and judge the present has remained tributary to the tenets that pervade the Age of Enlightenment (Bartelson, 1995: 262), it is beneficial to look into the theoretical groundwork of two original thinkers of this period. The first section of this article offers an integrated epistemological and ethical account that illustrates how Immanuel Kants peace essay can be understood in the light of the rest of his oeuvre. And, indeed, rather to our surprise, we find ourselves in favour of elaborating on a thought of the typical Realist thinker Kenneth Waltz that there is a unity in Kants ideas that is hard to grasp (Waltz, 1962: 33140). In the second section, we turn to the purer liberal thinking of Jeremy Bentham. A review of the epistemological and ethical groundwork is followed by a survey of his peace plan. A comparison with Kants ideas will reveal pronounced differences. In the third section, the acquis of the former sections is used to illustrate the inaccurate reading of Perpetual Peace by Michael Doyle. In addition, we argue for a reorientation towards Bentham as a more suitable source of insight, policy, and hope, a source that is sensitive to the workings of liberalism among its own kind but amalgamates empirical and normative claims.

A Guarantee for Perpetual Peace


Perpetual Peace is a plea for international co-operation at a time when Europe was the stage for several wars aimed at maintaining or restoring the balance of power. Although the essay is often read as a timeless plea for the suspension of war, some elements of specifically relevant contemporary import in it should be stressed. Kant, who had instigated an epistemological revolution with his Critique of Pure Reason, was very sympathetic towards the ideas that nurtured the French Revolution, albeit from a spectators point of view only. During the last decade of the 18th century, the ideas born out of the Age of Enlightenment had already gathered significant influence in the German-speaking part of Europe. Herder had written his Letters concerning the Progress of Humanity in 1793, and the young Fichte produced his Contribution to the Rectification of the Publics Judgement of the French Revolution in the same year. The publication of Kants Perpetual Peace in 1795 may be viewed in line with the writings of both these authors as the culminating point in the perception of the merits of the French Revolution (Gebhardt, 1965: 15). Moreover, it is very likely that the Treaty of Basle establishing peace between authoritarian Prussia and revolutionary France was the occasion that prompted the publication of Perpetual Peace (Saner, 1967: 435; Caranti, 2006: 346). Kant modelled the sketch 434

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm after the format of a typical 18th-century peace treaty. The first edition consists of a preamble, six preliminary articles, three definitive articles, and an appendix containing a guarantee. In the second edition, he added a secret article and a postscript on the tension between morals and politics. The preliminary articles denounce the contemporary policies of the European powers.7 Kant rejects secret agreements, territorial expansion on hereditary basis, standing armies, the contraction of national debts to finance wars, interference in the internal affairs of other states, and dishonourable tactics. Prohibitive articles precede the constructive part: before looking ahead, one must look back. When looking at the future, Kant primarily sees the potential of the ideals that nurtured the French Revolution. The first definitive article The civil constitution in every state shall be republican (204) will thus be outspokenly inspired by the republican ideas. In relation to each other, states should abide by the tenet that International law shall be based on federalism of free states (208), as it is stated in the second definitive article. On the level of the individual citizen, Kant provides a rather limited requirement in the third and final definitive article: The cosmopolitan law of citizenship shall be limited to conditions of general hospitality (213). The republican inspiration of the first article should not surprise us. In Kants view, the French Revolution was a sign of the reality of human progress, a philosophical event (Jaspers, 1962: 127; Bartelson, 1995: 273). Nonetheless, Kant acknowledges the injustice of rebellion (246) and claims that, even should a ruler be found to be unjust, the people do not have the right to depose him by force of arms. Reason harbours a moral element that is anchored in a legislative (227) stance. It is reason that constitutes the basis for the engagement of the philosopher. Kants lifework a description of the functions, limits, and the potentiality of reason is contained in three monumental critiques that focus on three elementary questions: What can I know? What shall I do? What may I hope for? The connection between these critiques is both the point of departure and the closing note of the guarantee of the perpetual peace treaty.
The guarantee of perpetual peace is provided by nothing less than that great artist called Nature. In Natures mechanical progress we see that her aim is to produce a harmony among men, against their will and actually through their discord. As a necessity working according to laws we do not know, we submit to it as Destiny. But, considering its design in world history, we call it Providence, in as much as we discern in it the profound wisdom of a higher cause that predetermines the course of Nature and directs it to the objective final end of mankind. We do not know or infer this Providence from the cunning contrivances of Nature, but, as in questions of the relation of the form of things to ends in general, we can and must supply it out of our own minds in

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3)


order to conceive of its possibility by analogy to actions of human art. (21718, emphasis added) It is in this manner that Nature guarantees perpetual peace through the mechanisms of human propensities themselves, and though the assurance which she gives us thereof is not sufficient to predict the advent of peace in a theoretical way, it suffices in a practical perspective and makes it our duty to work towards this (not merely a chimerical) aim. (227, emphasis added)

These quotations from the first supplement demonstrate how the entire range of the critical philosophy informs the idea of perpetual peace. In the first quote, Kant emphasizes the limits of knowledge we do not know or infer the existence of Providence that lie at the centre of his Critique of Pure Reason (1781). The teleology related to questions of the relation of the form of things to ends in general is the subject of his Critique of Judgement (1790): the idea of a divine plan opens up a perspective on the significance of leading a moral life. The second quote introduces the practical perspective and the concept of duty that is central to the formal ethics in the Critique of Practical Reason (1788). In order to be able to properly value the guarantee, an inquiry into Kants critical oeuvre is required since different perspectives on the use of reason and judgement are closely interwoven.8 What can I know? At the end of the 18th century, the epistemological debate was dominated by rationalism and empiricism, philosophical schools of thought of which, respectively, Ren Descartes and David Hume are the most famous representatives. Descartes takes universal doubt as a starting point to arrive at a certainty: the famous adage Cogito ergo sum. Hume starts with the certainty of sense perception to ultimately end up in universal scepticism. An intermediary is found in Immanuel Kant. In his Critique of Pure Reason, he advances the view that one can say something about the world that is absolutely true, before actually experiencing it, but not without a reference to our sensory apparatus. Like Hume, he does not doubt the reality of sense perception. Space and time the conditions of perception are proverbially fixed glasses upon our noses. Kant values sense perception, but if we want to know the limits of knowledge, we need to go beyond sense perception and appeal to our rational potential. True knowledge stands on two legs: perception and thinking. In the relationship between these two faculties, perception informs thinking and thinking informs perception. The result is an epistemological revolution. Whereas, previously, the hypothesis was that a person had to penetrate reality in order to acquire knowledge, it now appears that a person can actively subject an object to his or her own conceptual scheme. This cognitive capacity results in true statements when the claims to truth confine themselves to the phenomenal world, but this active cognitive ability tends to pass beyond the bounds of perceived 436

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm phenomena and excessively abstracts from reality. As a consequence, when the level of abstraction becomes too high, pure reason generates speculative illusions such as attributing an existence to the ideas of a world, an Ego, or God. Likewise, perpetual peace, or harmony between people, is a speculative illusion, an idea that exceeds our knowledge apparatus (227). Therefore, we cannot verify whether or not we are moving in the right direction. A limitation on the legitimate use of reason in an epistemological perspective does not, however, imply a sceptical outcome. In a practical way, the ideas acquire a regulative status and an ethical dimension appears. This brings Kant to another question: What shall I do? Engaging in action implies making choices: we as individuals decide upon our actions. Decisions are neither true nor false, but still they are like knowledge dependent on the use of reason.9 People are not only cognizant of their actions, they can also question them and such questioning calls for a rational answer. The question Why did I do this? does not refer so much to the cause of my action as to the motive that precipitates it. Changes we perceive in nature are embedded in the laws of causality, but, when taking decisions, people like to think that they themselves are the originators of the actions they have decided upon: the ability to decide on what actions to take is what they refer to as their individual freedom. The essence of Kants moral quest in his Critique of Practical Reason is precisely this freedom. Freedom cannot be fully contextualized in the world of knowledge (the world of pure reason): practical reason does not contemplate but rather urges towards action. In an absolute mode, a motive takes the form of an imperative or a moral law. The well-known categorical imperative urges a rational being to act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. The categorical imperative is unconditional and should be distinguished from the hypothetical imperative. The conditional nature of the latter if you want B you must do A makes this imperative unfit to act as a moral compass because it is not universally applicable and invariably dependent upon concrete circumstances. Kant rejects instrumental ethics. An ethical imperative must be categorical. The categorical imperative originates in personal autonomy, yet has to assume the character of reality in the physical world with its inherent laws of causality. Reason, therefore, deals with the world in two different ways: by describing the world conceptually and by interfering in its course (Jaspers, 1962: 63; Bartelson, 1995: 264). In the first case, reason is theoretical; in the latter, it is practical. However, this gives rise to an unbearable tension: on the one hand, one has to avoid an excess of abstraction from a theoretical point of view, while, on the other, the absolute abstraction of particular circumstances becomes a necessity to our leading an ethical life. 437

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) When we relate our moral qualities to the physical world, the human mind seems to be caught in a deadlock. Through a free play of our rational faculties, however, the idea of a teleological nature becomes accessible and bridges the world of knowledge and the realm of ethics (Deleuze, 1995: 68). By inquiring into the idea of a teleological nature, we come closer to answering Kants third question: What may we hope for? The Critique of Judgement, the third critique, attempts to deal with the aforementioned tension by offering a reflection on our relation with totality. The Critique of Judgement proposes that the idea of totality exceeds our faculty for knowledge but asks if such an idea might be accessible in a different way. According to Kant, the aesthetic experiences allow a limited and mortal human being to gain an intuitive insight into a meaningful whole that is called Nature. In order to illustrate this possibility, the Critique of Judgement deals with two different types of judgement: an aesthetic judgement and a teleological one. The first, also called a judgement of taste, aims at universally valid recognition yet is not cognitive since it appeals to feelings rather than to reason. Imagination can grasp an idea without formulating it conceptually. Important for our inquiry is the status of the teleological judgement. Living organisms of which all parts are reciprocally both means and ends reveal a purposiveness in nature. Mechanical principles alone do not suffice to do justice to the particularity of living organisms, yet to speak of a purposiveness of Nature exceeds our faculty of knowledge. Nonetheless, teleological ideas can take on meaning when they are considered in analogy with creative (artistic) activities. Creative acts have a specific immanent purposiveness. Accordingly, we are justified in regarding Nature as if she is, indeed, the oeuvre of a creator acting according to a supernatural plan. In the guarantee of Perpetual Peace, Kant returns to the line of reasoning he developed in his Critique of Judgement (Cavallar, 1992: 254). Here again we find Nature, has already become familiar to us, providing the guarantee by visibly exhibiting a design with an inherent purposiveness. The reader of Perpetual Peace is immediately warned of the limits of human reason by the caveat: do not label this visible design Providence. After making the epistemological restrictions explicit (21719), Kant asks how Nature advances the moral propensity of men. He distinguishes three purposeful initiatives: Nature has provided man with the opportunity to live anywhere on earth; she has dispersed people all over the world and, at the same time, has forced them to engage to a lesser or fuller extent in lawful relations (21922).10 Nevertheless, a teleological perspective threatens the absolute and unconditional freedom required for ethical action. Consequently, Kant safeguards freedom from the deterministic implications of his appeal to Nature.11 Our practical reason is provided with a horizon, an outlook. Natures purposive character is something that we add from our own minds (218) in order to 438

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm make conceivable the idea of a meaningful totality. In this way, Nature corroborates the (speculative) idea of perpetual peace (227). Is a more adequate formulation of regulative ideas possible? The preceding overview of the relationship between the three critiques lies rooted in the guarantee offered in the Perpetual Peace essay. According to Kant, the three faculties of our rational mind are coexisting and cannot be viewed in individual isolation: our knowledge apparatus is limited in its ability to deal with totality and the future, our own mind supplies the moral law from within ourselves in order to engage the world as free persons, and the idea of a divine plan sustains the significance of our leading a moral life. In the words of Chris Brown: Kants social philosophy is all of a piece; his international theory is an essential part of his political theory, which emerges out of his moral philosophy, itself locked into his philosophy of science and pure reason (Brown, 1992: 47). An authentic liberal view differs from the sketched-out critical endeavour, which brings us to the point where it is instructive to take a look at the work of Jeremy Bentham, a classic liberal thinker.

The Desirability of Universal Peace


Like Kants critical undertaking, Jeremy Benthams liberal project is based on epistemological and ethical foundations. Bentham did not develop a new epistemological approach but, instead, built on the work of John Locke as Hume did and radicalized these ideas under the influence of the French sensualist Helvetius (Mack, 1969: xvii). His moral and juridical thinking is greatly informed by his empirical orientation. Sense perception is the source of all ideas, impressions, or knowledge. Bentham does not doubt the existence of an objective outer world. However, the formulation of propositions about this world is much more problematic: every general proposition going beyond the particularity of an observation is a fiction. According to Bentham, all general propositions suggest that there exists something beyond what actually exists in reality. Language causes deception out of her own nature by having us assume a relation between words and entities. Some entities that we discuss as if they actually do exist are not always part of the sensible world. For instance, through force of habit, when triggered by a name, the mind may conceive of an object and automatically take its existence for granted. The name gives the object an identity and acts as a certification of its actual reality, which subsequently may well lead to dispute and animosity. How to avoid this entanglement? Language analysis brings us closer to a verifiable truth. Most of the concepts in science (e.g. movement, rest, and quality), morals (e.g. good and obligation), and the juridical sphere (e.g. power and law) are precisely fictive entities, and issues of great 439

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) importance are dependent upon the meaning of these words. Bentham proposes that fictive entities used in ethical, political, and juridical discourse should be imbued with a clear and univocal meaning. According to Bentham (Bentham, 1977: 495), the method of exposition or paraphrase provides a proper instrument to rid ourselves of the impurities that contaminate the relationship between language and reality. When confronted with a word signifying a fictive entity, we should construe it into a proposition in order to clarify its meaning in the context within which it is being used. Subsequently, we reformulate this proposition into another one that contains a reference to a real entity and that will render its meaning verifiable. The exposition of obligation is illustrative. The word obligation is, per se, a fictitious notion. Turned into a proposition, it might read as follows: An obligation is incumbent on a man (Harrison, 1983: 579). The paraphrase means: An obligation weighs upon a man. The meaning of obligation is now observable: something heavy weighs upon a man so that he is restricted in his movement. A fictitious notion is thus translated into a concept that is empirically grounded. Normative statements are deduced from or reduced to empirical statements. According to Bentham, exposition makes ethical and juridical discourse more scientific. The interconnectedness of the different faculties of our rational mind is a given fact. [G]reat is the light thrown upon the whole field of logic, and thereby over the whole field of art and science, more especially the psychical, and thence the ethical or moral branch of science (Bentham, 2000a). Sensory perception is not only the source of knowledge; it is also the referent for ethical action in Benthams perspective. His anthropological starting point is simple: human beings strive for the experience of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. The empirical character of this starting point is twofold: Bentham has found that this proposition is verifiably true and that ethical action has an empirical foundation. However, I can only experience pleasure through my own senses and a propensity towards self-interest is the natural consequence. The impressions of others are not directly verifiable and thus less real to me. Every person can, however, value his/her own feelings subjectively and express this valuation vis-a-vis other people. Benthams ethic will incorporate a social component on the basis of subjective appreciation. The quintessence of this moral and political perspective is contained in the famous phrase the greatest happiness of the greatest number (Bentham, 1977: 393). How this should be realized is explained in An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Benthams central work published in 1789. The well-being of society is perceived as the sum of the well-being of its individual members, and the enhancement of this well-being is a task to be pursued by the individual as well as by the entire community. Selfinterest properly conceived, that is to say, an enlightened self-interest, entails 440

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm the awareness that individual actions fit within a bigger whole and that pure egoism serves no beneficial purpose. In the review of Benthams epistemological starting principle, we learned that the ethical and juridical discourse is interspersed with fictive entities and that we should verify their meaning in order to bring clarity to the concept. Once the terms have been clarified, a quantitative scientific formula to weigh the desirability of an action can be drawn up. Bentham develops a moral arithmetic on a rational basis. The value of pleasure or pain can be assessed by an individual and subsequently is assigned a positive or negative quantitative mark. In the first instance, intensity, duration, (in)certitude, and distance are the relevant parameters; fertility and purity are considered next. The social dimension is simply introduced by taking into account the number of people being affected and the effect on the balance of their well-being (Bentham, 1970: 3841). If all values are known, it then becomes merely a matter of calculation. That all interests will harmonize within the bigger whole is an assumption. A proper moral action is the result of a rational calculation; an immoral action, on the other hand, is just the consequence of a misinterpreted self-interest. Nevertheless, the principle of utility rests upon a consequential validation: an action is not judged by valuing its underlying intention or the means employed to pursue it, but rather by examining its resulting consequences.12 This refers to the hypothetical imperative if you want B to happen, you should do A a position that Kant rejects. In Benthams view, the relation between morals and legislation should be very intimate. The philosopher and the jurist enter into an agreement: through education, the philosopher will try to promote the understanding and acceptance of the principle of utility, while the jurist (the representative of the sovereign) will sanction the misunderstood self-interest by means of corrective action. The element that vindicates the pact between philosopher and jurist is their mutual reliance on empirical elements. Seen from an epistemological perspective, one needs to deal with the real (verifiable) entity. In an ethical perspective, people are characterized as being affective in two ways: pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain. A utilitarian approach justifies the use of violence as long as, ultimately, the sum of happiness increases. Moreover, committing violence may be necessary because, as a rational being, one is expected to promote the general well-being. With regard to the disposition of the use of violence, Kant explicitly recognizes a distinction between the philosopher and the jurist. Does not the disposition of power act upon ones inclination to pass an objective judgement on the merits of arguments? (228). The reality of power makes discussion a mere optional tool and it seems quite superfluous to question the right of the stronger. The foregoing illustrates the danger of the convergence of normative and empirical claims into one dimension. By acknowledging the difference between knowing something 441

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) and knowing what to do, Kant retains the possibility of questioning the right of the stronger. Bentham deduces the normative from the empirical. In doing so, he pays a price: the ruling power is above questioning; it can only be instrumentally countered by another power. The consequences of such a confrontation will show which side can subsequently claim the right of the stronger. Yet, Kant will expose the instrumental line of reasoning as the sophist maxim Fac et excusa13 and renounce it: to avoid sophist maxims, normative claims have to pass beyond their empirical conditions. Both Bentham and Kant take the potential for emancipation as a quality that is universal to all human beings. To Kant, the emancipation starts from a moral claim that recognizes the principle of freedom, while Bentham starts from the recognition of a self-interest properly conceived. An immoral act is, in the perspective of enlightened self-interest, a mere miscalculation. The individual has misjudged the entire situation and if he/she had only been aware that act X would have had Z as an unintended consequence following the impact of Y, the intended consequence, the rational consideration would have been based on a different approach. It is precisely Kants understanding that totality as such surpasses our understanding. The idea of freedom as advocated in the Critique of Practical Reason is complemented by the idea of a teleological nature, thus providing the individual with a horizon to look towards: Kants perpetual peace is an idea allowing for a hopeful vision of the future. Inspired by a more pragmatic spirit, Bentham prefers a plan. A Plan for a Universal and Perpetual Peace, Benthams vision of the future, translates the utilitarian framework into an international context. The utility of universal and perpetual peace is beyond doubt: it will advance general welfare. Benthams proposals are intended to inform policy and are specifically directed at the two hegemonic powers, i.e. Great Britain and France: The ensuing sheets are dedicated to the common welfare of all civilized nations; but more particularly of Great Britain and France (Bentham, 2000b: 1). This stands in sharp contrast with Kant, who addressed his plea to all states and their citizens. The preliminary articles of Kants essay are thus framed in general terms (e.g. No state shall by force interfere with either the constitution or government of another state), whereas Benthams proposals are advanced in the terms of an enlightened self-interest of the hegemonic power (e.g. That it is not the interest of Great Britain to have any foreign dependencies whatsoever). Self-interest properly conceived, and likewise the principles of utility, remain the leitmotivs throughout Benthams peace plan. From an ethical point of view, Bentham does not doubt that in a larger framework the interests of individuals harmonize. In an international context, Bentham defends the idea of free trade. In essence, his peace plan is a plea for the free market: all trade is essentially advantageous, even for the party for which it is less advantageous (Bentham, 2000b: 69). Kants peace 442

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm essay, by contrast, advocates an international juridical framework by means of definitive articles for perpetual peace: the civil constitution in every state shall be republican; international law shall be based on the federalism of free states; and the cosmopolitan law of citizenship shall be limited to conditions of general hospitality. The spirit of commerce and the role of trade are mentioned in Perpetual Peace as providing a counterbalance to war and conflict, but without their being developed in detail.14 Specifically within the context of the guarantee, we have to keep in mind that the briefly mentioned relation between trade and war serves as an illustration of the purposive character of Nature and remains marginal to the general argument. In more abstract terms, the difference between Kant and Bentham (and the relevance of the inquiry at hand) revolves around the possibility of normative judgements. Kant separates the order of knowing and the order of acting in order to subsequently blend them again in an intuitive understanding of a meaningful totality. The concept of hope has a substantial meaning in his discourse: it represents an anticipating desire for a better world, and this in spite of a double limitation: with regard to knowledge, totality escapes us and, with respect to our actions, we often become conscious of the negligible impact of our personal involvement in the world that surrounds us. The intuitive insight into the possibility of a better world supports the idea of personal freedom as the normative standard for action. The pact between empiricism and utilitarianism, resulting in the quantification of normative data and accompanied by a belief in the laws of the market, reduces all findings in Benthams programme to only one dimension. Empirical verification is both the motto of his epistemological starting point and the basis for his ethics. The order of the verifiable offers the only standard for an ethical life in which the anticipated impact stipulates the desirability of an action. On the one hand, Bentham objectively observes that people pursue pleasure and seek to avoid pain. On the other hand, this objective observation becomes without further ado a normative and guiding principle for action. A discussion about the normative side of the issue is avoided by an emphasis on verifiable elements. The normative aspect is the concealed premise of a pact that requires the actor to be objective, rational, and scientific in order to realize the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Benthams hope can only be translated in observed success, perceived as being a conformity with an arbitrarily chosen model. On the personal level, a utilitarian can only hope that his perceived interest is properly conceived, as the instruments to engage in critical reflection concerning the future are missing. Somewhat simplified, this means that reflection is not useful and that rational assessment means quantifying verifiable sensations. Especially in the ethical realm, the pre-eminently normative dimension and limitations of 443

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) Benthams liberal ethic become clear. If the utilitarian is mistaken, his error is confined to only a miscalculation and the end result is a decrease in the net sum of good fortune in the world. Frequently, others pay the price for his mistake. The loss of momentum of utilitarian approaches becomes obvious when violence becomes an element in the assessment of the means to an end and it can no longer be rejected. A violent action that ought to be avoided in one case because of the pain it causes may suddenly be judged acceptable or even worse, necessary within the same logic. For all of his ignorance, the utilitarian cannot escape intervening in any of the areas where he thinks happiness can be promoted. It is peculiar that, taken together, four constitutive liberal elements (empiricism, utilitarianism, quantification of normatively informed data, and a belief in the working of the market) guarantee a pact that does not allow for discord between epistemological and ethical questioning. This is a discord that, as we have seen, is constitutive for Kants approach. Ultimately, this will imply that the notion of hope will become redundant in a liberal logic.15 In spite of its sceptical potential empiricism, the epistemological basis of social hedonism entails a belief in instrumental rationality. However, one cannot reduce the moral field to instrumental control or the wish to achieve it. Empiricism, utilitarianism, the quantifying of normative data, and a belief in the functioning of the market become complementary concepts that inform each other reciprocally and avoid normative and reflective judgements. The foregoing exposition showed two different paradigms, both rooted in ideas of Enlightenment and advancing the possibility of emancipation through the use of reason. Universal rationality gains a distinct position and is given an interpretation in the oeuvre of both authors, and the implications of their divergences are significant for our understanding of the respective peace essays.

Bentham, Liberal Legacies and Foreign Affairs


The work of Jeremy Bentham expresses a somewhat crude form of laissezfaire liberalism, but the liberal body of thought cannot distance itself completely from the work of one of its founding fathers.16 The tradition of liberal democracy was first of all liberal (aimed at checking state power over society), and then democratic (aimed at the creation of structures that provided holders of state power with a mandate of the people) (Sorensen, 1993: 5). Throughout their history, theories on liberal democracies have been troubled by this dual inheritance, leading to two strands of thought: laissez-faire liberalism and social-welfare liberalism. It seems to be a constant feature that the more liberal a theory is, the less democratic it becomes. It is illustrative that Bentham modifies the democratic character of his own project to the point 444

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm where a restriction of universal suffrage is not a fundamental problem (Macpherson, 1977: 347). Liberalism can be understood in political and philosophical terms and has acquired a broad meaning. However, one principle seems essential to all forms of liberalism: the importance of the freedom of the individual (Doyle, 1983a: 206). In Doyles view, this principle is safeguarded by a commitment to three rights: negative freedom, positive freedom, and democratic participation. According to Doyle, the success of liberalism in the domestic realm remains undisputed. Four institutional roots mitigate the tensions that exist among the different interests in society: fundamental civic rights, representative government, the rights of private property, and the free market. On the international level, relations between states with a liberal regime show an encouraging record, for it is found that constitutionally secure liberal states have yet to engage in war with one another. Various strategic and realistic arguments may well explain the peaceful co-existence of liberal democracies, but Doyle seeks a specific argument that explains the working of liberalism among its own kind a special pacification of the state of war resting on liberalism and nothing either more specific or more general. To strengthen his case, Doyle appeals to Kant as being one of the greatest liberal philosophers (Doyle, 1983a: 206). But is it not rather Bentham who is to be credited with inspiring the liberal discourse? Doyles argument contains substantial formal and intrinsic elements that relate his work to the oeuvre of Bentham. In a methodological perspective, he agrees with the latter in applying a quantitative approach to a normative inquiry. The emphasis on the working of the free market economy, as found in Doyles article, is also a particular feature of Benthams peace proposal. As the latters liberal precursor, Doyle adopts the perspective of the hegemonic power, and his text shows a clear preference for utilitarian reasoning. Before examining his liberal position, we should analyse where his interpretation of Kant went wrong. A central issue in Doyles Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs is the maintenance and gradual expansion of a peaceful liberal zone (Doyle, 1983a: 21315). Empirical verification does not suffice and Doyle turns to Kant who allegedly argued that Perpetual Peace will be guaranteed by the ever-widening acceptance of the three definitive articles of peace (Doyle, 1983a: 225). In the original essay we find, however, that Nature guarantees the idea of perpetual peace. As we have argued, Kants teleological view on Nature bridges the gap between knowledge and action. By ignoring Kants own guarantee, Doyle is unable to value the merit of the critical element that permeates the essay. His analysis is unable to account for Kants strong normative understanding, which is related to a bigger whole. In his second article, Doyle argues that international peace is not a utopian ideal to be 445

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) reached . . . it is a condition that liberal states have already experienced in their relations with each other (Doyle, 1983b: 349). The success of liberal regimes, both on the domestic and global fronts, proves, according to Doyle, that Kants predictions have become reality. On the basis of the observed liberal success, Doyle unravels the secret plan of Mother Nature and is able, with the help of a pacific calculus, to predict global peace in 2113 at the earliest (Doyle, 1983b: 352). Kant, for his part, considered it irrelevant to engage in a quantitative scientific debate on peace since the speculative idea of peace provides a horizon for a meaningful moral life. The fallacy of Doyles interpretation becomes clearly noticeable when Doyle deals with the moral element: in his view, the possibility of perpetual peace constitutes a plea urging us towards a moral obligation (Doyle, 1983a: 228). This is a plain reversal of the Kantian logic: according to Kant, the moral imperative should not aim at an end. The categorical imperative reveals the absolute inner freedom that ought to transcend the heteronomous character of the empirical world. When one takes the verifiable possibility of peace as a starting point, one cannot escape the conditions dictated by the world as we know it. The categorical imperative, however, is unconditional. Doyle formulates his normative device in utilitarian terms: the goal of concerned liberals must be to reduce the harmful impact of the dilemmas without undermining the successes (Doyle, 1983b: 344). As a conclusion to Doyles Kant interpretation, we note that Kant pays some attention to trade and commerce in the Perpetual Peace essay, but accepting him as a proponent or representative of laissez faire liberalism, as Doyle would like us to (Doyle, 1983a: 208), seems a bridge too far. The more we find Doyles views deviating from a Kantian perspective, the more striking becomes the resulting correspondence with the spirit of Bentham.17 The pacific calculus can be related to Benthams moral calculus. A continuous growth of the number of liberal democracies is measured with the help of arbitrary18 parameters, but the qualitative dimensions perish in the course of the measuring process.19 At the end of the 18th century, Doyle counts three liberal democracies, and in 1978 he already identifies 49. The list contains, among other states, France during the Reign of Terror, and the United States as of 1865 (Doyle, 1983a: 20912), just about a century before the Rosa Parks incident. These regimes do not live up to liberal democratic standards as advanced at the outset of the article. In his neglect of the qualitative dimension, Bentham also leads the way: he altered the democratic character of his undertaking for the sake of expediency (Macpherson, 1977: 347). This quantitative approach allows covering up the blurring of qualitative distinctions in a scientific way because all the relevant data have to fit the verification mould to be counted, and their substantial content and meaning is lost in the process. 446

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm The emphasis on the workings of the free market as found in Benthams plan also informs Doyles endeavour to a great extent (Doyle, 1983b: 347). By emphasizing that liberal principles should inform domestic and foreign policy, Doyle, in taking the laissez-faire position, proves himself theoretically very consistent. Within liberal political theory, there is an ongoing debate between authentic liberals and proponents of a social correction. The discussion concerns the desirability of a minimal framework (the vigilant state) or a maximal one (fostering participatory abilities). While Doyle first gives an encompassing definition of liberalism that harbours both views, he subsequently tries to find common elements in order to proceed with the analysis (Doyle, 1983a: 2078). In doing so, he reduces liberalism to its minimal definition and accounts only for the laissez-faire version. This becomes patently clear when he discusses the normative claims advanced by welfare liberals concerning poverty in the world. Every claim is confronted with empirical conditions that make action impossible or inconvenient (Doyle, 1983b: 33842). The formulation of the desirable is subordinated to the knowledge of the possible. Consequently, Doyle, like Bentham, adopts the perspective of the hegemonic power. There exists a zone of peace and cooperation that collaborates under US leadership, and foreign policy needs to envisage the expansion of this zone, although he does add the rider that The interests of the United States must be consistent with its principles (Doyle, 1983b: 3445). In a utilitarian logic, however, interests play a decisive part in the decision-making process and often supersede a more principled approach. The quest for the workings of liberalism among its own kind takes place within the boundaries of what I have called an empirical pact.20 The article Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs does not explicitly deal with all the elements of this pact, but, nevertheless, we see the heritage of the classic raw liberalism of Bentham still playing a significant role. Starting from the comparison of the ideas of Kant and Bentham, we can identify the normative import of liberal thought more adequately. Liberals consider it their responsibility to promote democracy in the world; by doing so they promote peace, and peace is one of the most fundamental of political values (Jackson and Sorensen, 2003: 121). Yet, in a consideration of the means to realize it, peace does not always prove itself to be such a fundamental value. Notwithstanding some inherent awareness of responsibility, liberalism is stuck with an inability to be truly normative.

Concluding Remarks
On the basis of the sketched-out differences in the epistemological and ethical approaches, one senses the mutually exclusive nature of the notions of hope and plan. The disparity between knowing something and knowing 447

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European Journal of International Relations 14(3) what to do is relevant for our relationship with a totality that cannot be fully comprehended or mastered. When we remain conscious of our limitations, hope can still be a meaningful horizon for personal involvement. When knowing something and knowing what to do coincide, the future becomes just a plan that calls for completion. In this case, we are left with the expectation of a linear progress that has to be realized on the basis of what we can verify empirically as feasible at the present time. Unfortunately, we have no view of totality and, insofar as the existing power relations determine the current state of affairs, they also inform the ways of the world. But what do the words hope and freedom mean when the existing power relations are vindicated or sanctified? An update of Kants oeuvre should account for critical and ethical concerns. In the final section of his Perpetual Peace, Kant reiterates that perpetual peace is not an empty idea: If we are summoned to the task, if there exists a realistic hope of attaining the state of public law, albeit only in an approximation yet ever near and pressing, then perpetual peace . . . is not an empty idea, but an assignment (251). This final consideration can only be interpreted in a meaningful way when the scope of the three critiques is taken into full account. The idea of Nature offers an intuitive insight into a meaningful horizon for human action and a juridical ideal supports moral autonomy. Whereas for Bentham the future of international relations looks like plain sailing, to Kant it suggested the toughest of voyages inescapable, imperative, yet with some hope of safety across a literally endless sea. These words are used by W.B Gallie to illustrate that Kant is a deeper thinker than Bentham (Gallie, 1978: 356) and we can unreservedly agree. In addition, Benthams philosophy reflects the thrust of the liberal argument better than the Kantian flag that is generally used by liberal scholars, as became clear in the analysis of Michael Doyles article. The liberal inheritance must be seen for what it is: a vision that is unable to question its own assumptions and replaces the normative debate concerning the desirability of certain objectives by a descriptive debate on the feasibility of its model. Kant does not make a good liberal. The implications of the divergence between Bentham and Kant are far-reaching: liberals will find it hard to distance themselves from the work of Bentham and will have a hard time accounting for the normative intent of Kants ethic. The contrast between the Benthamite and the Kantian approach becomes patently obvious when we consider how both philosophers understand their own roles. In Benthams view the philosopher and the jurist the latter being the representative of the sovereign enter into an agreement: by educative means, the philosopher will try to promote the understanding and acceptance of the principle of utility, while the jurist will sanction the misunderstood self-interest by corrective action. Power, policy, and advice are closely interwoven. Kants essay Perpetual Peace contains a secret article 448

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Baum: A Quest for Inspiration in the Liberal Peace Paradigm (2278) that amounts to a performative contradiction. But through it, Kant is able to exemplify the role of the philosopher. Whereas the ability to exercise control over power guarantees the existing order, it does so by ultimately relying on the use of violence; on the other hand, there is the consideration that power corrupts, which turns the use of violence into an element in the deliberation of interests. The ability to exercise power interferes with the untrammelled judgement of reason. It is hard to call into question the right exercised by the victor in a conflict or the legitimacy of the hegemonic state. The objective reality of power and violence makes all advice an optional recourse only and the philosopher is reduced to playing the mere role of a servant. But a servant can serve his mistress in various ways: he can precede his mistress and carry the torch, or he can follow her and bear her train. The way in which Immanuel Kant, the pre-eminent philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment, wants to serve is fairly unambiguous. Notes
I would like to thank Ido Oren, Andreas Benkhe, Beate Jahn, the research staff at the Flemish Peace Institute and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. 1. Citations in the text are translated from the German original Zum ewigen Frieden (Kant, 1968: 195251). References to the pages are in brackets throughout the text. Various English translations were consulted. 2. The motto is supported by historical evidence and even aspires to the status of an empirical law in international politics (Levy, 1988: 662). 3. The concept of liberal democratic peace will be the main focus of this article, though some of the arguments are also valid to support the discussion on related concepts such as republican peace, stable peace and separate peace. 4. Doyle has repeated his main theses about Kant on a regular basis; his interpretation of Kant did not change substantially. See Doyle (1997: 251300) and Cavallar (2001: 230). 5. Beate Jahn has explained how the liberal research agenda has very un-Kantian characteristics and she finds a forebear in the work of John Stuart Mill. See Jahn (2005: 177207). It is worth noting that Jeremy Bentham was the intellectual godfather of Mill and that the lineage can thus be traced back further as I am doing in this article. 6. The published plan is a synthesis of three original essays by Benthams first publisher John Bowring. See Hoogensen (2001). 7. For a detailed account of these policies, see Schroeder (1994: 10050). 8. Authors arguing for comprehensive interpretations of Kants critical oeuvre are, among others, Bartelson (1995), Cavallar (1992), Jaspers (1962), Deleuze (1995), Saner (1967), Gerhardt (1995), and Renaut (1997). 9. There is a difference between knowing a verifiable truth and knowing what to do.

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10. Juridical aspects will form an essential regulative complement to the moral perspective. Man is by nature a rational and thus an ethical being and on this basis enters into lawful relationships. When practical reason wants to be normative in an external world, a juridical frame is needed. When he proposes the three definitive articles in Perpetual Peace, Kant describes an ideal institutional structure to relate different actors, people, and states on a world scale. A treatment of the relation between morality and law can be found in Cavallar (1992, 2001), Kersting (1992) and Gerhardt (1995). 11. The ethical perspective is central in the composition of the peace essay. Seek first the kingdom of pure practical reason and its righteousness, and your end (the blessing of perpetual peace) will necessarily follow (240). The paraphrase of Matthew 6:33, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you, means that respect for the moral law replaces respect for God. The ethical dimension of the relation to a totality that goes beyond our theoretical understanding is thus emphasized. 12. The essence of a utilitarian validation of action is the phrase the end justifies the means. A different assessment is articulated in the phrase the ends and the means justify the means (Honderich, 2006). 13. First act and then proffer an excuse. Seize the favorable opportunity of usurping a right. After the action, its justification will be made with greater ease and elegance and the violence can be extenuated (Kant, 1968: 236). 14. The labelling of Kant as a proponent of the idea that free trade is a condition for peace is a tempting but perilous move. Herewith three considerations that call for further attention: (1) acknowledgement of peaceful relational aspects of trade as can be found in Perpetual Peace is one thing, endorsement of free trade as a means to peace is another; (2) in Kants Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View we find that the spirit of commerce causes hate and is in itself asocial; (3) in the Critique of Judgment we find that the commercial spirit brings with it a debasing self-interest and tends to degrade the character of the nation. However, in the structure of the argument developed here it suffices to assert that, in summo, Kants Peace essay is not a plea for free trade. 15. Norberto Bobbio argues that within the Anglo-Saxon intellectual tradition utilitarianism and liberalism were to proceed in parallel from the time of Bentham onwards, with utilitarianism becoming the major theoretical ally of the liberal state (Bobbio, 2005: 58). 16. Doyle has engaged with Benthams legacy but focuses in a rather brief treatment on the way this approach complements Lockes legal institutionalism. The utilitarian line of reasoning and the epistemological background are not questioned (Doyle, 1997: 2268). 17. On the arbitrary nature of parameters, see (Goenner, 2004: 592). Ido Oren found that the current empirical measures of democracy came to be selected through a subtle historical process, whereby objective dimensions in which America resembled its enemies were eliminated, whereas those on which America differed the most from its enemies became privileged (Oren, 1995: 14784).

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18. The insignificance of the liberal peace claim in quantitative terms has been exposed by Spiro (1994: 5086). He develops an idea formulated by John Mearsheimer: democracies have been few in number over the past two centuries and thus there have not been many cases where two democracies were in a position to fight each other (Mearsheimer, 1990: 501). It is very peculiar that the idea of socialist pacification is not investigated by Doyle (Doyle, 1983a: 222) precisely because socialist societies are too limited in numbers. 19. John MacMillan notes a tendency towards homogenization of domestic political systems in the liberal discourse (MacMillan, 1994: 553). One could go further and argue that the homogenization of epistemology and morals is an underlying principle. It is noteworthy in this perspective that Benthams plan aspired to bring universal and perpetual peace.

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