Year XXVIII, 1986, Number 1, Page 55
Philip Henry Kerr, better known as Lord Lothian, was born in London in 1882 and died in 1940 in the USA, where he was UK ambassador.
An aristocrat by birth, he studied at New College, Oxford and went to South Africa after University. There, with the help of other young Oxfordians, he drew up a plan for federal unity among the four British colonies, the success of which led Lothian and Lionel Curtis to found the Round Table Movement, whose goal was to turn the British Empire into a federation.
Appointed private secretary to Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1916, he helped him throughout the Versailles Conference. Disillusioned by the Conference’s failure to bring lasting peace to Europe and the world, Lord Lothian decided to leave his post and dedicated himself to international politics. The fruits of this labour are to be found in his works which discuss international anarchy, peace and federalism.
The passages published here are taken from one of his works whose title ought to make all those who have taken part in the peace debate or who have worked towards the construction of peace culture pause to think. “Pacifism is not enough”: the idea of disarming this world, which is based on weapons, without eliminating states’ powers to arm themselves, is hollow. Only an end to the international political system as a system of exclusive and armed sovereign powers will turn “negative” peace, i.e. the temporary absence of war, into what Lothian calls “positive” peace, i.e. “that state of society in which political, economic and social issues are settled by constitutional means under the reign of law”.
The need to replace the “kingdom” of force with the “kingdom” of law is all the more urgent, as the rise in production forces has created a world system characterized by increasingly interdependent relationships, by a much wider sphere of international politics and, hence, by greater pressures from anarchy, disorder and authoritarian control.
The possibility of conceiving and planning the future is thus dependent on the possibility of controlling relationships between states by shaping international relationships as a process made by men and subject to men’s decisions. Failing this, conflicts between states will have to be considered as irremovable and international politics, with its characteristic features of war, power relationships and unequal distribution of power, will be beyond our control: we can only know what has happened, but cannot plan what ought to happen.
Lothian believed that the only plan which will make it possible to face world problems constructively and achieve definitive and irreversible peace, is the creation of a world federal state, which, as such, removes states from the blind game of power relationships without removing their individuality.
He reached this conclusion after realizing that the nation state, despite being the institution under which the process of human emancipation occurred during the liberal, democratic and socialist revolutions, had now become completely inappropriate to the development of production forces and, bent on the defence of its own absolute sovereignty, continued to be the primary cause of international anarchy and war.
Lothian wrote: “Until the peace movement realize this central fact and base their long-distance policy upon it, it will stand in the ranks of those who follow Sisyphus. Every time it succeeds, by immense and consecrated effort, in rolling the stone of national sovereignty near to the top of the hill of international co-operation, it will find that stone slipping out of its control and rushing down to overwhelm its leaders and their followers behind them”.
What is war? And what do we really mean by peace? War is armed conflict between sovereign states or states claiming to be sovereign. It may be concerned to bring about political or economic reform, or to satisfy greed or ambition; it may arise from misunderstanding or the necessity of self-defence; or it may spring from accident or a chivalrous desire to help the weak. The occasion of war is irrelevant. War is the ultima ratio regum, the legislative instrument whereby issues between sovereign states, which will not yield to voluntary agreement, can alone be settled. War is a struggle of will between states or groups of states each using every possible resource, including mass destruction of human life, which is necessary to enable one side to enforce its will on the other.
What is peace? Peace is not merely the negative condition in which war is not being waged. It is a positive thing. Peace is that state of society in which political, economic, and social issues are settled by constitutional means under the reign of law, and violence or war between contending individuals, groups, parties, or nations, is prohibited and prevented.
Peace, in the political sense of the word, does not just happen. It is the creation of a specific political institution. That institution is the state. The raison d’être for the state is that it is the instrument which enables human beings to end war and bring about change and reform by constitutional and pacific means. Never from the beginning of recorded history nor on any part of the earth’s surface has there been peace except within a state. The state may be a primitive tribal rulership in Africa or a vast Communist empire like Soviet Russia. It may be an advanced democratic republic like the United States, a totalitarian dictatorship like National Socialist Germany, or a placid constitutional monarchy like modern Sweden. But peace only appears when there is a government whose business it is to consider the interests and command the allegiance of every individual within the confines of its territory, and possessed of the power to make laws regulating society which the citizen is bound to obey and which, where obedience is withheld, it is able to enforce. Until the state appears there is only anarchy and violence and private or public war. And no other institution has ever been devised as a substitute for the state, because the coming into being of the state is itself the ending of war and the substitution for war of the reign of law.
The state, as an institution, is in fundamentals the same under all the different forms I have mentioned. The differences lie in the method whereby and the purposes for which the omnipotent power of the state is used. The director of executive action and legislation may be a single autocratic ruler, an aristocracy, the propertied bourgeoisie, the proletariat, or a majority of the representatives of the people voting by universal suffrage. It makes a great deal of difference to the practical conditions of life how those who wield the power of the state are appointed or elected, for the nature of the laws and the consideration they will give to the interests of the different classes of the community, will depend upon it. Civilization develops in proportion as a free public opinion replaces dictatorship as the controller of the powers of the state. But none of these things affect the principle of the state itself. The state is the institution which ends anarchy and its consequence, war, by creating an organically united community, and sets up legislative, judicial, and executive organs whereby its citizens come to live under the reign of law and are prevented, collectively or individually, from attempting to make their own will prevail by fraud or violence.
The state itself does not eschew violence. On the contrary, it claims that it alone is entitled to use violence. It could not, indeed, exist without the use of violence. It habitually uses violence. Moreover, the violence it uses is irresistible violence. A great number of the laws it enacts and the changes which it brings about are inevitably objected to by individuals or sections of the community. They are often only obeyed by minorities because they know that disobedience involves fines, imprisonment, or death. Yet if the state did not enforce the law, and do so irresistibly, individuals and groups would inevitably begin to use violence or fraud to defend or promote their own rights or interests, and society itself would dissolve in anarchy. In one sense, therefore, the state is violence, but violence only used in accordance with law and, in a democratic and constitutional state, in the interests of the community as a whole and as a result of a decision by a majority of its citizens.
In the modern world the functions of the state are steadily increasing. One reason for this — though not the only one — is that modern scientific invention has immensely increased the flux and change in every aspect of human life. The need for constant legislative and administrative adjustments in order to keep society functioning smoothly and to enable its elements to live in harmony with one another is greater than it has ever been. Unless the laws of the state are changed to meet the needs of the community, revolution follows; that is to say, some group tries to capture the machinery of the state by violence so as to use its power for their own ends or policies.
The need, however, for constant change and adjustment is just as great to-day in the international sphere as the domestic. There was a time when the world was static, when wars were waged between kings and ruling oligarchies to obtain territory and revenue for themselves, while the life of the peasant and the merchant remained almost unaffected. That has disappeared. The world economically has become an interdependent whole. Fewer and fewer people are individually self-supporting. More and more are performing a tiny specialized job in a huge economic process which has its roots and ramifications in every part of the globe. Mankind can now only live in peace and prosperity if the constant adjustments which are necessary inside the state are also made in the international sphere. Yet the world as a whole to-day has no means of making these changes, where negotiation fails, save by resort to war. The state, the instrument of peace and for political and economic adjustment by pacific means, does not exist in the world as a whole.
It is my purpose to-day to attempt to establish three propositions. The first is that war is inherent and cannot be prevented in a world of sovereign states. The second is that the League of Nations and the Kellogg Pact, however valuable they may be as intermediate educative steps, cannot end war or preserve civilization or peace. The third is that peace, in the political sense of the word, that is, the ending of war, can only be established by bringing the whole world under the reign of law, through the creation of a world state, and that until we succeed in creating a federal commonwealth of nations, which need not, at the start, embrace the whole earth, we shall not have laid even the foundation for the ending of the institution of war upon earth. I shall, in conclusion, endeavour to show that events are forcing us to action far more rapidly than most people realize, and I shall make a few observations about the nature and the possible ways of establishing such a federation.
If you asked an intelligent citizen to name the principal causes of war he would probably choose some among the following causes: unjust treaties, racial or religious or cultural differences, maltreatment of minorities, need for raw materials or markets, imperialist ambition, strategic consideration, or the arms traffic, and he might end with one of two omnibus words, capitalism or nationalism. I venture to think that none of these things is the fundamental cause of war.
Most of these so-called causes of war, the grievances of minorities, the pressure of economic competition, class rivalry, differences in race, religion, culture, and language, exist inside states. They produce controversy and political conflict. But they do not produce war. They do not produce war for two reasons. First, because inside the state the government has the power and the duty to legislate and enforce solutions in what it thinks the best interest of the community as a whole. Second, because strategic considerations do not arise. The basic cause of war is that there is no authority to decide international problems from the point of view of the world community as a whole, and that in international negotiation considerations of reason, justice, and goodwill are constantly and inevitably thrust on one side by considerations of security, by the supreme and overriding necessity in a world of-anarchy that nations must think in terms of what will happen to them in the event of the outbreak of war.
Let me apply this argument to the two omnibus explanations of war — capitalism and nationalism.
When people — other than educated socialists — say that capitalism is a cause of war, they mean that in their opinion the present poverty and unemployment and depression, which certainly make powerfully for revolution, dictatorship, and international tension, and therefore for war, are due to the economic failure of the capitalist system to work. Socialists, on the other hand, regard private property in the instruments of production as the root of all evil, and war as the inevitable outcome of the capitalist system.
I venture to take exactly the opposite view. Whatever may be the merits or demerits of capitalism, it is international anarchy which is wrecking capitalism, not capitalism, as a system, which is producing either economic nationalism or war.
The main cause of unemployment in the world to-day is that the international division of labour, the adjustment between world supply and demand, which under a system of free enterprise is brought about by the effect of price in the market, has been interrupted by the action of the sovereign states, in going to war, — a political act — in creating tariffs and other barriers in the name of self-sufficiency, and in refusing to make voluntarily the adjustments in international indebtedness which economic nationalism requires. Looking at the world as a whole, economic nationalism, the characteristic expression of state sovereignty, has gradually turned the traffic lights into toll bars, with the inevitable result that people are being forced to make things in their own countries of which there is already a glut in the world as a whole, and some producers are therefore forced to sell them at prices below the cost of production in the world market or burn them or throw them into the sea. This economic nationalism, the product of state sovereignty, has made impossible that constant movement of capital and labour to those places and occupations where they are producing goods and services which, in sum total, are exchangeable with one another, which is necessary to full employment and a constantly rising standard of living. It is inter-state anarchy which is the fundamental cause of poverty and unemployment, of the partial breakdown of capitalism, and of war, in this modern world.
To say that capitalism is a cause of war seems to me to be a complete fallacy. Capitalism, in itself, is an international force. Business men have few racial or national prejudices in their business. They will trade, build, or bank wherever they can do so profitably. It is perfectly true that both capitalists and trade unions are largely responsible for evermounting tariffs, and endeavour to enlist the support of Foreign Offices in their search for foreign markets or to protect their interests abroad, or their standard of living at home — all of which adds to international tension. It is perfectly true that certain armaments manufacturers and certain newspapers have fomented international suspicion as a method of getting profitable orders or circulation for themselves. But these things are the consequences and not the cause of the division of the world into sixty sovereign states. The division of the world into state sovereignties long antedated modern capitalism. Capitalism does not cause war inside the state. Nor would it produce war inside a federation of nations. It is the division of humanity into sovereign states which disturb the pacific functioning of capitalism as an international force and causes war, not capitalism which is the cause of the division of the world into an anarchy of sovereign states.
Can socialism remedy these evils? Only if it creates a federal commonwealth of nations. In my personal view there are only two basic ways in which it is possible to conduct the economic life of the world. One is communism — a system in which production, distribution, and exchange are planned and carried out as a single whole by an economic general staff, which determines everything as in an army and in which individual initiative and private property are necessarily entirely suppressed because to permit them would dislocate the plan. The other is the system with which we have been familiar hitherto, under which the power of economic initiative and therefore the right to private property is left open to the individual, and production, distribution, and exchange are ultimately governed by the free choice of the consumer as reflected by price in the market, but subject to an increasing social regulation by the state and to a considerable field of monopoly work and development being carried out by public authority.
It is not my purpose to discuss the merits of these two systems to-day. I only want to point out that the international anarchy inherent in state sovereignty makes impossible the functioning of either. The catastrophe which economic nationalism has wrought to the so-called capitalist system is now a commonplace. Everybody admits it. But the problem would not be solved if all the sixty states became socialist states. Sixty socialist sovereign states can no more be self-supporting than can sixty capitalist states. Only Russia and the United States, by tremendous efforts, might make themselves self-contained under either system. Yet it is going to be no more easy for sixty sovereign socialist states to agree upon what each is to produce for and take from the other, with the tremendous consequences involved on the internal standard of living and the distribution of labour employment in each, than it is for sixty capitalist states to arrange barter systems or mutually beneficial tariff systems. Their relations might even become more violent because every economic act would be an act of state which might bring ruin or starvation to other states. The root of our economic as of our political troubles is the division of the world into sovereign states. Neither capitalism nor socialism can function until this anarchy is overcome.
I come now to nationalism. What is nationalism? Is it race, language, culture, religion, or civilization? Or is it, fundamentally, the product of membership of the sovereign states? I have no doubt whatever that in its evil aspect — for nationalism within its right limits is a noble and creative force — it is the product of state sovereignty.
Differences in race, language, culture, religion, or civilization are not, in themselves, necessary foundations of the state, though in the modern world they have tended to become so. There have been many states whose inhabitants have been divided in these ways which have for long maintained unity and peace. The Russian Empire was one. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is another. The British Empire has been a third. The United States have been a fourth. Differences of this kind exist. They will continue to exist for a very long time. It will never be desirable that humanity should become a single uniform nationality. Variety of individuality, collective as well as individual, is the seasoning of an interesting society. These differences admittedly make the union or federation of states extremely difficult. They are, perhaps, the principal impediment in the way. But they are not in themselves incompatible with unity, or the cause of war. They exist, and make for controversy, and sometimes for political conflict, within the state. They exist, indeed, in greater or less degree in every state. Yet they are not a cause of war within the state. Why? Because it is the purpose of the state to make adjustments in the interest of harmony of the whole, and every individual owes loyalty and obedience to the whole before he owes it to the section to which he himself belongs.
What makes these differences seem the cause of war is the fact that so often they coincide with divisions between state sovereignties. Then they immensely inflame every inter-state controversy with fear, hatred, and suspicion. But nationalism, at bottom, is not race or language or culture, though these are important enough; it is the feeling of common citizenship, common loyalty to the state, buttressed in every possible way by the law, by the omnipotence of the legislative and executive authority, by diplomatic antagonisms with other states, by the duty of every citizen to lay down his life in defence of the state, if it is attacked or its rights impugned. Everything in the sovereign state focuses in the state itself.
Hence, it is the anarchy of sovereign states, not race or language or culture, which is the dynamic fountain of nationalism, the factor which stresses the separateness of every citizen from his fellow men elsewhere, which encourages him to look at international problems only from his own national point of view — to view with fear and suspicion every act by another state which may affect his own state’s security or prosperity, to confuse national selfishness and self-consciousness with the great virtue of patriotism. There, to quote an Americanism, is the nigger in the wood pile of war.
It may be said that the growth of democracy has been a factor in intensifying inter-state divisions. This is true in so far as the process of electioneering tends to stimulate appeals to race, language, religion, and other elements of nationalism for vote-catching purposes. Thus it has been the spread of democracy which has intensified Dominion nationalism and has broken the old unity of the British Empire into an association of six, in effect, sovereign states under the Crown. The demand for that national self-determination which has Balkanized Europe has been in some measure a by-product of the democratic movement. It has been the vote, with its consequence that those who can command a majority will wield political power, which has intensified communal divisions in India, and which, if the precedent of Europe prevails, is tending to break India into states based upon race and religion, as the unifying power of Britain is withdrawn. It is certainly true that the peacemakers of 1919 had an infinitely more difficult task than the diplomats of 1815, because they were dependent on majorities in democracies which had been inflamed by four years of one-sided wartime propaganda.
But while hitherto democracy has intensified popular nationalism I do not think that democracy any more than capitalism is a cause of war or a permanent impediment to a world state. Democracy disrupts empire, but if it receives autonomy need not make for separate sovereignties. Thus federation is the remedy for the disruptiveness of provincialism in India, as it is everywhere. All the great federations, in fact, have been democratic. Democracies, indeed, in temperament, are less warlike and less expansionist than dictatorships, for they respect the right of other to govern themselves. They accept more readily, I think, the ideal represented by the League of Nations, the concept of the brotherhood and equality of nations, the basic presuppositions on which an organized world community must rest. In the case of democracy, as in the case of capitalism and nationalism, it is the existence of the sovereign state which is the dynamic cause that makes for war. If the separate state did not exist democracy would not create it. It would only demand provincial autonomy within a federation of nations. [ … ]
Let me now turn to what has happened since 1918. During the war groups of thinkers among the allied nations, notably in Britain, the United States, and France, in seeking for an explanation for the catastrophe which had overtaken civilization and for the remedy, had been driven to the conclusion that the main cause was international anarchy. They realized that war was inherent and would be chronic in a world without government — as it was before 1914 — especially as scientific invention was hourly contracting time and space — and that the only remedy was to end anarchy by creating an ordered world society based upon the reign of law.
The outcome of these deliberations, moulded by the statesmen and politicians assembled at Paris into what was regarded as being practical at that time, was the Covenant of the League of Nations. The Covenant created an assembly intended to include representatives of all the states of the world which was to meet at Geneva once a year to consider the international problems of the time, and it gave that Assembly executive organs in a Council meeting not less than four times a year and a permanent Secretariat. The main function of these bodies was to take cognizance of disputes which might lead to war and to promote a just settlement of them by peaceful means. All members undertook to submit disputes to the International Court, to arbitration or to investigation and report by the Council or Assembly of the League, which was to be rendered within six months, and to refrain from resort to war until three months after presentation of the judgement, award, or report. The Covenant further provided that the Assembly should have the right — under Article XIX — to advise the reconsideration of treaties which had become inapplicable and about international conditions whose continuance might endanger the peace of the world, and — under Article XVI — that members were under the duty to take common action — called sanctions — against any state, member or non-member of the League, which went to war without first resorting to the pacific procedure laid down in the Covenant. One of the primary tasks of the League, recognized to be necessary to its success, was to bring about a measure of universal disarmament.
It is important to note that the Covenant did not forbid resort to war altogether, but only before the pacific procedure laid down in the Covenant had been used. The total renunciation of war as an instrument of policy, which is often erroneously attributed to the Covenant, did not take place until the Kellogg Pact of 1928.
Has this noble ideal succeeded in realizing the hopes of its authors? The League for the first time has made millions realize that it is possible to end war and substitute justice as the ruling principle in world affairs. It has done admirable work in settling disputes of secondary importance and in organizing reforms of a non-political kind. It has given the small nations a place in the councils of mankind. It has been an effective focus for world opinion. What is much more important, perhaps, its existence and activities have broken the old spell of isolated nationalism and have begun to make multitudes of people everywhere think in collective and not merely in national terms. Its establishment unquestionably marked a turning point in world history. But it requires no argument to show that in fundamentals it has so far failed. It has not been able to secure the adherence of all nations. It has not been able to abate economic nationalism and lower the tariffs and restrictions which have caused unemployment everywhere and destroyed democracy in many lands. It has not been able to bring about all-round disarmament. It has not been able to revise the treaties of peace except in ephemeral and minor particulars. It has not been able to mobilize the kind of strength which would enable it to compel one of the great Powers to conform to that public opinion. To-day, international politics are less and less being discussed on their merits, in terms of right or wrong, justice or the reverse, but more and more in terms of power, prestige, and security in the event of war. What is the reason for this? What is it which has thus inexorably destroyed the real effectiveness of the League and is ruthlessly leading the world back to armaments, ever-mounting tariffs, poverty and unemployment, power diplomacy and war?
The answer is perfectly plain. It is not the malignity of any nation. It is not general international ill-will. These factors exist. But what inflames them all, and is more important than all, is that the Covenant, like the Kellogg Pact, is built on the foundation of the complete sovereignty of the signatory and member states. The fact of state sovereignty is the vital flaw in the Covenant. For acceptance of state sovereignty in effect perpetuates anarchy, and therefore, despite all our hopes and professions, tends powerfully to nullify the effect of the other provisions of the Covenant and to let loose the evils to which anarchy inevitably leads. The sovereignty of the national state has been the main cause of the failure of the League and the post-war peace movement, as it was the ultimate cause of the World War and will be the dynamic cause of the next war, unless we can mitigate it in time.
You may reply, with justice, that nothing else was possible, that the idea that the nations, in 1918 or to-day, were or are prepared to abate their sovereign independence is absurd and that you must deal with the world as you find it. I don’t deny this in the least. I was at the Peace Conference and know that nothing else was possible. But it does not lessen in the slightest degree the truth of what I am trying to convince you of to-day — that the League cannot save us from war and that we can never escape from war as long as we build on the sovereignty of the national state.
Until the peace movement realize this central fact and base their long-distance policy upon it, it will stand in the ranks of those who follow Sisyphus. Every time it succeeds, by immense and consecrated effort, in rolling the stone of national sovereignty near to the top of the hill of international co-operation, it will find that stone slipping out of its control and rushing down to overwhelm its leaders and their followers behind them.
Let me first try to justify this view on grounds of theory. There are four main reasons why the League or any system based upon the contractual co-operation of sovereign states is bound sooner or later to fail and to lead back to anarchy and war, as every such system has done from the Confederacy of Delos, through the American Confederation from 1781 to 1789, to the League of Nations to-day and perhaps the British Commonwealth of Nations to-morrow.
The first is because every unit in the League or Confederacy inevitably tends to look at every issue from its own point of view and not from that of the whole. There is no body whose business it is to consider the interests of the whole. Each representative in the Council or Assembly is, in the last resort, the delegate of his own state, controlled by it and responsible to it. Every important problem, therefore, tends to be considered as a conflict of national points of view. The Council and the Assembly are, in essence, diplomatic conferences. Thus the League has done little to create a European or world patriotism. State patriotism is, if anything, stronger to-day than it was in 1920.
The second reason for failure is that the Council or Assembly cannot wield any real power. By the very nature of its constitution it can possess no revenues of its own nor command the obedience of a single citizen. For its revenues and armies it must depend upon the subventions and contingents of the sovereign states. If these are withheld it is powerless. If there is a conflict of opinion between the League and any member or state the allegiance of the individual citizen is owed to the state and not to the League. All experience shows that in Leagues and Confederations sovereign units invariably fail to act together. They may fail because of internal difficulties of their own, because they dislike the policy, or because no direct national interest of their own is involved. Directly one important member defaults others begin to default also. No league of sovereign states can proceed by majority decision. Agreement in critical matters is usually impossible to reach and decisive action is prevented by fear of provoking secession. The League, therefore, is a body incapable either of decision or responsibility. Its meetings may carry moral weight. It may reflect world opinion. But it has none of the attributes of power, either as government, legislature, or court.
The third reason is that neither the Council nor the Assembly can revise any treaty, modify any tariff or commercial discrimination, or remodel in any way the political structure of Europe or the world, except with the voluntary consent of the state or states immediately concerned. This, in important matters, it is never able to obtain. And it is unable to obtain it, not only because sovereign states find it difficult not to behave selfishly, but because in a world of national sovereignties their policy is invariably subordinated to the necessity of security. Moral considerations are thrust aside by strategic considerations. That is why disarmament is impossible under a League system. Disarmament may be possible for a time where all states in a region are satisfied with the political status quo: it is impossible where some nations are dissatisfied and there is no prospect of obtaining a remedy by pacific means.
The fourth and final reason why the League system cannot end war is that the only weapon it can use either to bring about change or to prevent other nations from attempting it by aggression, is war or the threat of war. When the League can mobilize overwhelming economic and military preponderance sanctions may be effective without war. Where it is not overwhelming to use them merely risks turning a local conflict into a world war. Thus Mr. Baldwin, speaking in the House of Commons in July, 1934, said: ‘There is no such thing as a sanction that will work that does not mean war; or in other words, if you are going to adopt a sanction you must prepare for war.’ To use sanctions is to attempt to coerce a sovereign state against its will, and that means war, if the power or powers in question resist. In other words, in the last resort, the instrument of the League is war. It is not a peace system. It is only a system for making war an instrument of collective instead of national policy.
It was this fatal flaw which forced the Philadelphia Convention in 1786 to decide that federation was the only solution of the problem presented to the revolted and independent thirteen American colonies. It saw that not only could the Federal Government not succeed if it had to depend upon the voluntary support of the states, but that even if it was authorized to give them orders the only way in which it could compel them to obey was by war. The essence of the federal system, the only true peace system, is the division of governmental power between two organs each responsible to the people for the exercise of the powers in its own sphere and neither having power over or being responsible to the other.
It is exactly the same on the larger world field. You cannot erect a peace system on a basis of the coercion of governments by governments, because that is trying to build a peace system on a foundation of war. The only basis for a peace system is a pooling of sovereignty for supernational purposes, that is the creation of a common nationhood, above but entirely separate from the diverse local nationhoods. To end war the principle of the state — the instrument of peace — must be applied on a world-wide scale. We must bring into being a constitutional union of nation states with a government able to look at world problems from the point of view of the well-being of the whole, empowered to legislate in matters of common concern, and to wield the irresistible power of the state to enforce obedience to the law not on the governments but on the individual in its own supernational sphere, and entitled to claim the loyalty and obedience of every individual in that sphere.
The pacifist may lay down his life in order to refuse to kill his fellow men. He will have done little to end war. The League of Nations enthusiast may bind himself in the name of collective security to take sanctions and go to war against an aggressor anywhere. He will have done little to end war. He may wage wiser and better wars than national states have done, but he will wage war none the less and run the risk of turning every local conflict into a world war. The isolationist may hope to escape war. He will fail because every war now tends to become a world war and so imperil the security of his own state and compel him to take sides. There is no way of ending war and establishing peace and liberty on earth save by creating a true Federation (not a League) of Nations. That is the central truth which I want pacifists and realists alike to realize. Only then shall we begin to move, however slowly, towards our real goal.