Coup dâĂ©tat – The Historical Framework of Globalization
by Dr. James Polk
December 29, 2010
Our era is largely defined by two highly interlinked concepts: globalization and the so-called âwar on terrorism.â As geopolitical-economic operatives, both concepts complement each other as significant means to specific ends; both shape important aspects of our daily lives and determine form and content of much that passes for public discourse. Particularly in Europe and in the United States, populations are kept vigilant to the âclear and present dangersâ ostensibly posed by âinternational terrorismâ through mnemonic icons of troop movements in Central Asia and/or strategically deployed bomb plots that are purportedly thwarted âjust in timeâ by our intelligence services. As if copied from the lecture notes of Carl Schmitt, a totalitarian âenemyâ has been constructed which can conveniently be called back into service at a momentâs notice should public memory begin to fade.
Globalization has proceeded by means of three distinct but clearly interwoven interpretations and representations of the world in toto: as the sociopolitical âcosmopolitan momentâ  (to borrow a term coined by Seyla Benhabib) of the globe as the embodiment of our lifeworld; as the stage of operations for multinational corporate/financial interests; and as the battlefield on which incited conflicts are seen as requiring comprehensive, global solutions which are to be achieved through a New World Order. In its current development, the construct of a unified world is largely synonymous with the ideal world government as envisioned in the Sociocracy of French philosopher Auguste Comte in the 19th century , in which international bankers and elitest think tanks determine and execute public policies.
Implied in this global ideal is of course the complete dissolution of the nationstate as such through the gradual but de facto irreversible integration of individual nations into the totalitarian framework of the political, economic, and chief judicial/juridical entities operating on a global scale (most significantly the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Bank for International Settlements, and the World Trade Organization).
The philosophical roots of this integrative process can be found in the determinant factors that led to the Treaty of Westphalia, which ended Europeâs horrendously brutal Thirty Years War. The treaty also buried the eius regio, quius religio principle and reinstated the tolerance of Protestants as spelled out in the Peace of Augsburg (1555), the revocation of which under the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II in the Edict of Restitution (1629) prompted the vicious counter-response from Protestant nobility in Austria and Bohemia. The terms of the peace accord also radically limited the territory and power of the Holy Roman Empire and acknowledged the sovereignty of the many principalities that constituted the realm of German influence, with France and Sweden entrusted as guardians of the peace.
But the Treaty of Westphalia was of major importance for one other significant reason. The councils of minds at MĂŒnster and OsnabrĂŒck were able to establish through rational discourse the concept of a peace accord based on the primacy of reason and rules of law that transcended warring national interests and belief systems, effecting in a truly Kantian sense the regulative idea of attainable peace as a principle of reason to guide all actions of the parties involved, and to which all participants, nolens volens, were to submit. This is clearly evident in the way various clauses in the treaty assumed a meta-normative role. The treaty thus paved the way for an era of secularized thought in which the rule of law and political negotiation served as instruments of conflict resolution and as guidelines of national sovereignty based on principles of reason.