The Kantian Approach to Dealing With Suspect States: Evaluating the Report By the Un High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change
16 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2005
Date Written: February 2005
Over the last decade, the prestige of the United Nations (UN) has suffered a series of blows, culminating in the decision of the United States and its coalition of the willing to sidestep the international organization in invading Iraq in March 2003.
In response, the UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, appointed a panel of fifteen experts - known as the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change - to evaluate the U.N.'s role in the contemporary international arena and provide recommendations for reform. The report was tabled in December 2004.
In this brief discussion, the panel's report is analyzed, with special emphasis on its recommendations on how to deal with suspect states, i.e., states that threaten other states. The analysis is conducted by applying the thought of Immanuel Kant, the original philosophic inspiration for the UN.
From a Kantian perspective, the panel falls short by not recognizing that a coalition of democracies must lead the development of a viable collective security regime. Also, the right of self-defense should have been broadened to cover non-imminent threats, inasmuch as nation-states continue to operate in a Hobbesian state of nature.
Keywords: Kant, United Nations, international law, democratic peace, war
JEL Classification: D74, K33, F2, N4, N40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation