In the light of the political philosophy of the last two millennia, it may seem odd to find the terms ‘democracy’ and ‘cosmopolis’paired together.footnote1 Democracy is the power of the many and, internally, the rule of the majority. It came into being not as an abstract concept but as a means for taking the most concrete decisions: what government to appoint; what taxes to collect, and from whom; how public money should be spent, or schools and hospitals organized. Another defining feature: for the power of the demos to work, all those who constitute it must belong to the same community. Until a few centuries ago, the members of the few existing democracies—some Greek polis, the Swiss Cantons, a few Italian republican cities—would know each other by sight. The term ‘cosmopolis’ is no less ancient than that of ‘democracy’, but from its very origin it has referred to an ideal condition. The notion that the individual is a citizen of the world and, indeed, that the world might become his or her polis, was an individual aspiration rather than a mass reality. Only merchants, soldiers, the odd intellectual and a few potentates were acquainted with lands, cities and people outside their own native communities. All the rest, the majority—in other words, thedemos—could only imagine what the other parts of the planet were like from legends and travellers’ tales.

The ideas of democracy and cosmopolis have passed through many stages, being progressively modified down the centuries, and there is no shortage of learned treatises charting their semantic, cultural, historical and even anthropological evolution. The first, groundbreaking transformation of democracy was the result of the American Revolution, when the idea was asserted on a hitherto unthinkable geographical scale. The Founding Fathers, however—understanding the term as ‘direct’ democracy—thought it inappropriate for the system they were designing; they preferred to christen their creature a ‘republican’ system. In his celebrated philosophical project Towards Perpetual Peace Kant, too, favours the term ‘republic’.footnote2 Only in the nineteenth century was the modern system of electoral proxy by citizens deemed a form of ‘democracy’—of representative democracy, that is.

The changing fortunes of ‘cosmopolitanism’ have been no less dramatic. Over the millennia it has shed its original, ideal dimensions and materialized into reality. The number of people—merchants, explorers, writers, intellectuals and, ultimately, tourists—able to travel and find out about the world has grown hand-in-hand with the economic expansion and the assertiveness of mass society. These cosmopolitans, as they became acquainted with ‘the other’, developed two attitudes towards it: the first was curiosity—which, as Giambattista Vico reminds us, is the child of ignorance and mother of science—about the habits and customs of non-western societies; the second, parallel to the first, was the idea that different civilizations should ultimately converge towards the best of these. Cosmopolitanism meant not just discovering but also assessing, comparing, selecting and, finally, wherever possible, applying the ways of life deemed most valid. If cosmopolitans have—too often, alas—fallen prey to the conviction that, by coincidence, the best customs are their own, they have never claimed the use of violence to impose their ideals.footnote3

Yet not even in today’s mass society—not even within the narrow confines of the western world—can the epithet ‘cosmopolitan’ be applied to the demos, the majority. In the era of the computer, a third of the inhabitants of our planet have never even used a telephone; cosmopolitanism remains the prerogative of an elite.footnote4 It is certainly curious that the two terms—virtually the product of a twin birth in the Greek cradle of the West—have stayed so resolutely apart from one another over the centuries. Perhaps the cause lay in this intrinsic difference between their social reference points: while one spoke of the many, the people, the other implicitly evoked the privilege of a few. But when, about a decade ago, we began to work on cosmopolitan democracy, new conditions had arisen which arguably justified the conjunction of two such apparent antitheses.footnote5

Apotheosis of globalization

The first of these conditions was the forceful advent of what has been called globalization—a neologism without a precise date of birth, but already, at such a tender age, invoked even more frequently than Rossini’s Figaro. Under this capacious term are classified events that charge into daily life without even knocking at the door. Jobs, mortgage payments, contagious diseases and the style of the shoes sold in the local shops may now depend on decisions taken in remote places: a Japanese manager’s bid to buy a European firm, the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase the interest rate, an African government’s desire to cover up an epidemic, or the creative flair of a handful of designers in Milan.

We tend to find globalization disarming. All we can do is resign ourselves and think of Nietzsche: ‘The world is independent from my will’. But it is not only individuals who feel helpless. Equally unprepared seem the institutions—families, parties, trade unions, associations, churches and, above all, the state—from which he or she might demand protection. States increasingly fail to control their borders, fall victim to the blitzkriegs of financial speculators, or find their political autonomy strictly restrained. Even the United States, the new hegemon, realized on the morning of September 11 that its soil was not a safe haven. The nation-state—the institution that once imposed itself as the oligarch of the planet—is progressively losing its power.

Globalization is far from being a headless monster, and much has been written in recent years to identify the forces which regulate its dynamics. Some have coined new terms—‘international regimes’, ‘control mechanisms’, ‘governance’ and so on—to describe how decisions are taken even where there is no explicit chain of command. David Chandler has pointed out the ways in which a political and military hegemony is being recreated; Peter Gowan has shown that economic interests have been the fastest to reorganize in the new international climate. In both cases, only one country, the United States, has the political, economic and military power to assert its interests. But no country today can escape interactions with other parts of the globe. We are not, of course, living in a situation of international anarchy; nevertheless, many of the decisions that affect our lives are taken behind the scenes, by shadowy figures—people over whom neither we nor, it seems, our governments exercise any control. The state may pose itself as a protective womb, assuaging the anxieties of its population, but it has too often failed to deliver what it has guaranteed. Globalization makes it all the harder for it to fulfil its contract with its citizens.

The disorientation caused by the lack of a visible and recognized political authority should not make us overlook the fact that, at the same time, democracy has asserted itself as the sole legitimate form of government within states. Quantitative data show that 120 sovereign states out of 192 are democratic, embracing 58 per cent of the world’s population. Not all these states achieve the level of democracy we are accustomed to in the West; political scientists have coined the oxymoron democradura to define the mixture of formal democracy and de facto dictatorship in force in many countries of the world.footnote6 The new regimes experience difficulties in keeping their promises: democracy does not automatically generate wealth, reduce infant mortality or eliminate hunger. Nor should we assume that Western democracies are secure: they are always in danger of sliding over the precipices of oligarchy, demagogy and populism. After more than a decade of the new wave of democracy, many problems remain unresolved and new ones have sprung into life.

But although celebrations of democracy’s triumph have been premature, we should recognize that, for the first time in the history of the planet, a single, albeit variegated, form of power management—whereby government is the expression of the majority—has asserted itself as globally legitimate; in theory if not in practice. The cosmopolitans of the Enlightenment might see here a confirmation of their prophecy, that when peoples are placed in contact with one another they ‘naturally’ select the most progressive, advantageous form of government for themselves. For Franklin, Condorcet and Kant, the success of today’s democracy could be considered a fruit of cosmopolitanism.

Yet while globalization has helped to impose democracy inside more states, it has also rendered them less autonomous. Is it possible to reconcile this paradox? Of the many problems of democratic systems still waiting to be solved, one has been stubbornly ignored for decades: why must the principles and rules of democracy stop at the borders of a political community? If the communities on this planet lived in conditions of splendid isolation, we might suppose that each of them would pursue its internal happiness in its own way. But this is far from the case, and the incessant dynamic of globalization will make it even less so. Must we then resign ourselves to a schizophrenic situation in which we make our democracies increasingly sophisticated internally, while refusing to enter into democratic relations with communities external to our own? In the long run, this is unsustainable. The waters in which democracy sails are progressively sinking and, if we fail to replenish them from suitable tributaries, they will dry up altogether. Today new sources can only be found at the level between countries. But when we speak about extending democracy beyond our privileged domestic pond, eyebrows are raised and scepticism reigns.

The political project of cosmopolitan democracy can thus be expressed very simply: it is the attempt to reconcile the phenomenon of globalization with the successes of democracy. It sets out from an acknowledgement of the fact that state-based democracy, the only form we know today, risks being hollowed out by the processes of globalization. At the same time, the dynamics of globalization have to be regulated, and carrying this out exclusively at state level is difficult, sometimes impossible.

Timothy Brennan has argued that, while state communities are known to be manageable units, there is no guarantee that the globe is, too.footnote7 Yet cosmopolitan democracy does not mean replicating, sic et simpliciter, the model we are acquainted with across a broader sphere. Passing from national to planetary democracy is not a mere question of expansion, still less a matter of replacing state by global government. To respond to the challenges facing us today we have to reconstruct democracy, with an effort of the imagination analogous to that of the eighteenth-century passage from direct to representative forms.

Many believe it is too ambitious to expect democracy to embrace the global dimension. Yet the transformations that have taken place in the world over the last few decades are just as vast: the population of the planet has doubled; technological transformations now make it possible to create connexions that were once unthinkable, in both quantity and quality; financial resources—and terror and risk—travel at unprecedented speeds. Political institutions, too, have changed, not only because the democratic model has asserted itself internally, but also because national governments have had to extend their degree of policy co-ordination on questions such as air travel, health, immigration, finance and even public order. But as Marx grasped very clearly, transformations in institutional arrangements are slower than those in the economic and social structure. If we still want our society to be managed in response to the will of citizens, we will have to adjust our institutions to meet socio-economic change.

Vernacular democracy?

Will Kymlicka has gone so far as to propose that a political system must be either democratic or cosmopolitan.footnote8 He has argued that cosmopolitan democracy exaggerates the political consequences of globalization; that public policies should be made more incisive, to ensure that each community remains effectively ‘autonomous’. He exhorts the democratic state to assume additional responsibilities in addressing such issues as migration, capital flow, multiethnic communities and minority rights; and, at the same time, to make a positive contribution to global society by strengthening international human rights and development aid. To exempt existing states from these responsibilities in the name of a non-specific global order, still in the process of being constituted, risks creating a power vacuum.

Kymlicka’s concerns may certainly be shared. This is precisely why, unlike the many world-federalist projects to which it is indebted, cosmopolitan democracy aims to boost the management of human affairs at a planetary level not so much by replacing existing states as by granting more powers to existing institutions, and creating new ones. Democracy, recalls Kymlicka, works much better on the small scale that Pericles and Rousseau had in mind; but when he argues that ‘democratic politics is politics in the vernacular’, he ignores the many aspects of our daily lives that already elude this dimension, at the state level as well as globally. What does vernacular politics mean in India or China—not to mention Rousseau’s native Switzerland? What proportion of the population would be excluded from it in Canada or the United States?

On closer inspection, then, the question of the vernacular is already a problem for state democracy. Hence, we either reduce democratic politics to an exclusively tribal level—leaving the other aspects of collective life to be addressed in non-democratic ways—or we have to invent democratic dimensions that are also meta-vernacular. In their first years, many national parliaments suffered from the lack of a common language. The problem recurs in the UN General Assembly and the European Parliament, and is sure to reappear if a world parliament is set up.footnote9 But to date democracy has been versatile enough to find ways around it, and I am confident that the same will be true in the century ahead. However pertinent, Kymlicka’s point applies to any form of democracy in a multilingual community.

Some believe that we have made improper use of the term ‘cosmopolitan’: Brennan deems ‘internationalism’ more appropriate.footnote10 Concepts count more than words, but I feel I must defend the former epithet as a qualifier of democracy. The word ‘international’, introduced by Jeremy Bentham just prior to the French Revolution, evokes two stages of representation: first, the definition of government inside states; second, the formation of an ‘international society’ based on those governments. Bentham and many others after him felt it was sufficient for nation-state governments to be fully democratic to ensure that the global level would be so too. A similar position is argued today by John Rawls.footnote11

The reason I have preferred to speak of cosmopolitan, as opposed to international, democracy is that I do not believe that the democratization of world affairs can be achieved solely by proxy, through single state governments, however democratic they may be. A set of democratic states does not generate a democratic globe, any more than a set of democratically elected town councils generates a democratic nation-state. National governments have proved too weak—or even too conniving—to forestall imperial dominance of world politics. Existing international organizations, the United Nations first and foremost, still fail to possess the legitimacy needed to oppose the hegemonic states. Just as state-level democracy is based on rules and procedures that differ from those of local authorities, and does not boil down to the sum of their various parts, so global democracy cannot be founded exclusively on democracy within states. It is necessary to add a level of political representation to those that already exist. Citizens will need to play a more active role, with a dual function—within the state they belong to, and the world in which they live.

After the proletariat

Brennan evokes the internationalism of another glorious tradition of which I am very fond, that of the working-class movement and the various international workers’ associations of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their emblem anticipated in the celebrated call, ‘Workers of the world, unite!’ If still an inspiring beacon in the fight for a just global society, the slogan nevertheless needs to be reviewed. Proletarian internationalism presumed that a classless world would be one without organized group conflict, and that no community, dominated by workers, would feel the urge to subjugate another. As a consequence, there was no need to envision international political forms through which conflicts might be mediated and resolved. The sovereignty appealed to by Brennan, Chandler and Gowan would evaporate, it was held, together with its bearer, the bourgeois state. We need to rethink the political programme but not the spirit of proletarian internationalism. Cosmopolitan democracy suggests the creation of institutions and channels of representation for all individuals, not just for a single class. The objective is not the abolition of classes, but the more modest one of ensuring that the demands of citizens, irrespective of their class, are directly represented in global affairs. It means resolutions being taken by the majority, rather than by a single class. Paraphrasing the Communist Manifesto, Ulrich Beck has issued a new call: ‘Cosmopolitans of the world, unite!’ To be a cosmopolitan now is no longer simply to feel oneself a citizen of the world but also, and above all, a citizen for the world.

The programme of cosmopolitan democracy is not politically neutral. Substantial disparities exist in access to global resources: some already have global fora at their command. The big multinational companies, defence apparatuses and state administrations co-ordinate their policies across the world. While there can be an element of transparency, in practice decisions are usually only taken by a handful of oligarchs (e.g. the UN Security Council), while elsewhere (the G8 or NATO spring to mind) there is a higher degree of secrecy than at national level. Then there are those—effectively defined by Brennan as ‘unofficial party organizations across national frontiers’—that operate without any form of control: we have no idea what decisions are taken, or when, or where.

These hidden centres of power are nothing new. They operate within all states, including the most refined democracies. But the goal of state-democratic procedures has been to limit their range of action; it is the absence of accountable institutions at the global level that allows these shadowy practices to prevail—a democratic vacuum that needs to be filled. Today cosmopolitan democracy would largely benefit those excluded from decision-making processes—the majority of the planet. Chandler, Brennan and Gowan rightly point to the dangers inherent in a new hegemony founded on the predominance of the United States, for whom institutions such as NATO, the IMF and WTO provide effective instruments. Disagreement here is not over the analysis of this new world order but over the political project needed to counter it. One cannot help remarking that these authors devote far more space to critical analysis of the present situation than to concrete proposals for a way out of it. Rashly, the supporters of cosmopolitan democracy think it more effective to counter this hegemonic design by imposing a global network of democratic control, rather than by shutting themselves inside existing state communities.

Politics and power

Another line of criticism—more directly realist—accuses cosmopolitan democracy of ignoring the fact that political authority is generated only by the use of force. Any more intensified form of centralization cannot but translate into a totalitarian world government—an opinion that Geoffrey Hawthorn has voiced in these pages. His line of attack, however, staggers precariously between two views: one which sees the democratization of global society as impossible and another which sees it as dangerous. I agree with Hawthorn when he points out that ‘parties are organizations for power’, but he fails to add that political systems would work better without parties. Would he call for the winding up of the British Labour and Conservative Parties? It seems unlikely. So why be so scandalized at the thought of transnational parties? This seems typical of a form of schizophrenia often found in political thinking: what is taken for granted at home is deemed impracticable or even dangerous abroad.

Students of international politics should be aware of the fact that one of the reasons why political authority was founded on force was the perception of continuous menace, real or presumed, from outside. The existence of democratic global institutions would undermine states’ principal pretext for the misuse of their own coercive power—that of external threat. The strengthening of international organizations and the formation of a world order founded on legality would therefore not only lessen tensions between states, but would favour democratization inside them. As Erasmus and Rousseau grasped, this is precisely the reason why state apparatuses are opposed to more effective international organization. After the Soviet menace, other threats have periodically appeared. Devoid of warriors, the battlefield is now populated by puppets in terrorist masks.

It is not enough to repeat, as Hawthorn does, that force is the principal source of political legitimacy; it is also necessary to ask whether force can be domesticated. The populations of the majority of nation-states have now constituted themselves as citizens of democratic communities. Ballot papers and judicial systems have replaced the cannon fire of the battlefield: antagonistic systems have turned into competitive ones. Why should global society not undergo a similar metamorphosis? Only prophets and astrologers can claim the mission is impossible. Everyone else, sooner or later, will have to take sides. This is not a theoretical question but a political choice. Cosmopolitan dreams are a programmatic counter to the horrors of the modern world.

Some, however, have argued that such dreams have served to ease the passage from Cold War bipolarism to the new American hegemony. Chandler has effectively, if somewhat speciously, described how the old world order, founded on the formal sovereign equality of states, is being replaced by one that sanctifies a one-sided military interventionism, albeit gilded with ‘humanitarian’ motives. Eluding the self-defence limits set by the UN Charter, the United States and its allies have carved out for themselves a new right to the use of force. Although Chandler admits that the practical application of ‘sovereignty’ has been, to say the least, dubious, he believes that, in the face of a full-blooded drive towards a new US hegemony, it is still a concept that can be used in the defence of Third World countries against the predations of the wealthiest, most powerful states. Chandler argues that notions of ‘global democratic governance’ have weakened the principle of sovereignty and thus indirectly favoured the increased use of military force. But why then was the US still so ready to go to war before this—not least in Vietnam? Similarly, the overblown military reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 2001 has been justified primarily on traditional self-defence grounds, not in terms of promoting democracy or defending human rights.

Any uncritical re-proposition of the now baroque category of sovereignty as bulwark of autonomy is ineffective both in theory and in practice. When has the sovereignty principle ever guaranteed non-interference? How many times, instead, has it permitted state governments to perpetrate massacres with absolute impunity? Sovereignty has allowed dictators to ‘use’ their subjects at their leisure far more often than it has helped weak states to defend themselves against stronger ones. Of the 200 million people killed in political conflicts in the course of the twentieth century, two thirds were the victims of internal state violence.footnote12 The protection of human life is rightly seen as one of the mainstays of the architecture of a global political system; to assert the principle of sovereignty and non-interference does nothing to protect the victims of violence inside states.

The real problem, as Chandler correctly points out, is that the humanitarian interventions of the last ten years have been a string of incredible failures. At the start of the war in Kosovo, some appeared to be hoping that NATO had turned into the armed branch of Amnesty International. Alas, the outcome of the intervention proved as catastrophic as those in Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere. NATO’s preferred mode of conflict—obsessive aerial bombardment from an altitude of 10,000 metres—is designed to minimize its own losses, with pitiless disregard for those of its presumed ‘enemies’. If there were no victims among NATO’s forces, the human rights of those who were supposed to benefit from the bombing were systematically trodden down. On what grounds is it possible to describe such a process as ‘humanitarian’? More than illegitimate, the interventions of the 1990s were ineffective. Here lies their real failure—not in the violation of the now moribund concept of sovereignty.

The guidelines for genuine humanitarian interventions have yet to be written. For cosmopolitan democracy, these could only be carried out by the institutions and organizations that have the vocation and competence to do so. In the face of ethnic cleansing, we have left the most powerful states free to programme ‘humanitarian’ interventions as they see fit, leaving out the individuals and organizations of civil societies. The principle of non-interference is no solution for the victims of genocide. Rather, the category of sovereignty should be replaced by that of global constitutionalism, in which the use of international force—especially when geared to internal problems—is not only decided upon but actively managed by global institutions who would also be responsible for the recreation of the social fabric after the conflict.

The experience of the 1990s would seem to indicate that, in the absence of institutions and procedures designed to guarantee truly humanitarian interventions, it is better if (Western) states abstain from the use of force. But this obliges us to find non-violent instruments of intervention to prevent genocide, to defend human rights and the freedom of peoples to choose their own governments. Chandler keeps silent precisely when he should speak up: how should we react to daily violations of human rights?

Both Chandler and Gowan are highly sceptical about the possibility of creating a genuine international system of justice, citing the example of the War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia—instrumentalized for US political ends on more than one occasion. I share many of their reservations about these new institutions, but not the idea that there would be greater international justice without them. For all their flaws, existing bodies are the embryos of the more robust ones that will be needed to guarantee global legality. Like the Nuremberg Trials, the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal is based on the recognition that statesmen have to answer for their actions before the law—a principle now being asserted at national levels, as the Pinochet affair demonstrates. A fully-fledged International Criminal Court needs to be set up; in the autumn of 2001 it could have been used to try terrorists, providing a genuine alternative to the bombardment of Afghanistan. The strongest have no need for legality; all they need is force. It is the weakest who need to seek protection under the wing of law.

Knowing the enemy

Before they took up arms to claim their independence from the British crown, American settlers had demanded the right to participate in the political decisions of their community with the slogan: ‘No Taxation without Representation’. ‘No Globalization without Representation’ must be the rallying cry of today.footnote13 The meaning is analogous; but present difficulties are greater. In George III, the Americans had a visible polemical interlocutor. They knew which door to knock on, and who to fight against. Our opponent is more chameleon-like. Who should we protest against, if we are to achieve greater accountability in global choices? The governments of the strongest countries? The most important multinational companies? Powers so strong that they are invisible?

In Seattle, Prague, Gothenburg, Genoa, recent intergovernmental summits have been met by lively counter-demonstrations—in fact, the most conspicuous effect of these meetings of the powerful seems to have been to reawaken the spirit of opposition. But protest prevails over proposal. One marked feature of these confrontations has been the extreme use of violence by the state apparatuses—not just in Italy, where Berlusconi’s police felt the need to teach the ‘law of the truncheon’ to the Genoa demonstrators, but also in civilized Sweden. The hysterical reaction against anti-globalization protesters reflects the paranoia of governments fearful that their most recondite secret—that not even they have control over globalization—is about to be revealed.

American settlers learnt first-hand that their political battle could not only be won by revolt. To free themselves from the British crown, they had to draw up a charter of rights and a constitution. Today the motley movement that is fighting the hegemonic project of capitalism has to pass from revolt to project. It is not enough to be against what is happening; it is also necessary to propose workable solutions. The cosmopolitan project intends to follow the long and winding road to global society, founded on the values of legality and democracy. But the fact that we are still a long way from our destination does not mean that there are no concrete objectives to deal with here and now; it is on the basis of these that we need to select our allies and adversaries.

After the welter of commentary that followed September 11, it hardly needs to be restated here that globalization encompasses not only finance and fashion but also terror. No corner of the world is safe any more. Cosmopolis is not only a utopia but a nightmare, too. Yet the terrorist attacks and the US military reaction both serve to confirm that what we need is democratic management of global events, not high-tech reprisals. The fall of the Berlin Wall raised expectations that world politics might be moving from the rule of force towards a global society founded on legality. The last decade has fallen short of these in many respects. Nonetheless, September 11 should not be allowed to erase the hopes of the last ten years forever. In the face of both that day’s terrorist attack and the months-long bombardment of Afghanistan, the cosmopolitan perspective remains what it was during the Gulf War and the crisis in the former Yugoslavia: a criminal act is not enough to justify the unleashing of brute force.

Terrorists cannot be fought with their own arms; the democratic states must target only those directly responsible for criminal acts. The terrorists and their accomplices will be best equipped to escape bombardment, whereas ordinary Afghanis, already worn out by a seemingly interminable civil war and a hysterical, bloody regime, are certainly the ones to suffer most from Western military intervention. If and when the casualties are ever totalled, it will surely emerge that the vast majority are civilian ‘collateral’ (to use the sinister euphemism), with perhaps a few hundred armed and illiterate fanatics, and only a tiny handful of terrorists connected with the events of September 11.footnote14 Democratic cosmopolitanism would propose exactly the opposite course to that which the US government has taken: the use of police, international tribunals and the UN to punish criminal terrorists. Pace sceptics such as Chandler, these institutions are the best tools we have to defend civilians from the indiscriminate use of force.

The United States has obtained virtual unanimity among governments, not only on the condemnation of terrorism but also on the reprisals: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Libya, the Palestinian authorities have all come out in favour of military intervention. Yet at the same time, numerous masses of the world’s outcasts are singing the praises of a petty paranoid criminal, Osama bin Laden; the danger is that the ranks of potential terrorists will be swollen with new recruits. In fighting one monster you risk generating others. Saddam Hussein was armed to contain Iran, bin Laden and the Taliban to counter the Soviet invasion. After September it was the new nuclear power, Pakistan, that enjoyed the indiscriminate support of the West. Golems turn against their masters sooner or later, and sometimes become fiercer than the enemies they were created to annihilate. Cosmopolitan democracy has been called ingenuous and ineffective; but after years of Realpolitik, what is the result? A new conflict has moved onto history’s stage, one that the political and military supremacy of the United States and the West has proved incapable of preventing. There could not be a clearer argument for turning to the politics of cosmopolitan dreams.

1My article ‘Cosmopolitical Democracy’, NLR 4, received the critical comments of Geoffrey Hawthorn, ‘Running the World through Windows’, NLR 5; David Chandler, ‘International Justice’, NLR 6; Timothy Brennan, ‘Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism’, NLR 7; and Peter Gowan, ‘Neoliberal Cosmopolitanism’, NLR 11.
2Hawthorn, NLR 5, p. 103, fails to grasp the philological question: for Kant, what we call direct democracy can become a form of despotism. Hawthorn also accuses me of ‘misdescribing’ Kant’s position, but the view he ascribes to me does not correspond to my interpretation of Kant’s texts. I believe, in fact, that Kant suggests an international system midway between a confederation of states and a federal state. See my ‘Models of International Organizations in Perpetual Peace Projects’, Review of International Studies, vol. 18, 1992, pp. 295–317, and ‘Immanuel Kant, Peace and Cosmopolitan Law’, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 1, 1995, pp. 42956.
3Gowan (NLR 11) describes the international hegemonic design of the last decade very well. But I believe he is over-gracious to call it ‘the new liberal cosmopolitanism’ rather than, more crudely, ‘the new imperialism’.
4United Nations Development Report, Making New Technologies Work for Human Development, New York 2001.
5Cosmopolitan democracy has been a collective political project, jointly conceived by David Held, Mary Kaldor, Richard Falk and myself. See Daniele Archibugi and David Held, eds, Cosmopolitan Democracy, Cambridge 1995.
6Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe Schmitter and Laurence Whitehead, eds, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule, vol. 1, Baltimore 1986, p. 17.
7‘Cosmopolitanism and Internationalism’, NLR 7.
8Will Kymlicka, ‘Citizenship in an Era of Globalization: Commentary on Held’, in Ian Shapiro and Casiano Hacker-Cordón, eds, Democracy’s Edges, New York 1999.
9This ancient and utopian ideal is reproposed by Richard Falk and Andrew Strauss in ‘Toward Global Parliament’, Foreign Affairs, Jan–Feb 2001.
10In a similar vein, Alan Gilbert puts forward the idea of ‘international democracy from below’. See his thoughtful book Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?, Princeton 1999.
11The Law of Peoples, Cambridge, MA 1999.
12Rudolph Rummel, ‘Power, Genocide and Mass Murder’, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 31, no. 1, 1994, pp. 1–10. Although these data are controversial—Michael Mann, for example, has pointed out that a majority of internal state massacres have occurred in times of war—it remains the case that sovereign state borders have been no bulwark against political violence. See ‘The Dark Side of Democracy: The Modern Tradition of Ethnic and Political Cleansing’, NLR I/235, May–June 1999, pp. 18–45.
13I plagiarize Ian Clark, Globalization and Fragmentation, Oxford 1997.
14Contrary to Richard Falk, I do not see how this war could ever have been turned into a just one. See his ‘In Defence of “Just War” Thinking’, The Nation, 24 December 2001.