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The Divided West

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3519-4
248 pages
September 2006, Polity
The Divided West (0745635199) cover image
Make no mistake, the normative authority of the United States of America lies in ruins. Such is the judgment of the most influential thinker in Europe today reflecting on the political repercussions of the war in Iraq. The decision to go to war in Iraq, without the explicit backing of a Security Council Resolution, opened up a deep fissure in the West which continues to divide erstwhile allies and to hinder the attempt to develop a coordinated response to the new threats posed by international terrorism.

In this timely and important volume, Jürgen Habermas responds to the dramatic political events of the period since September 11, 2001, and maps out a way to move the political agenda forward, beyond the acrimonious debates that have pitched opponents of the war against the Bush Administration and its coalition of the willing. What is fundamentally at stake, argues Habermas, is the Kantian project of overcoming the state of nature between states through the constitutionalization of international law.

Habermas develops a detailed multidimensional model of transnational and supranational governance inspired by Kantian cosmopolitanism, situates it in the context of the evolution of international law toward a cosmopolitan constitutional order during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and defends it against the new challenge posed by the hegemonic liberal vision underlying the aggressive unilateralism of the current US administration.

The Divided West is a major intervention by one of the most highly regarded political thinkers of our time. It will be essential reading for students of sociology, politics, international relations, and international law, and it will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the current and future course of European and international politics.

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  • Editor’s Preface
  • Author’s Foreword
  • Part I: After September 11
  • Chapter 1: Fundamentalism and Terror
  • Chapter 2: Interpreting the Fall of a Monument
  • Part II: The Voice of Europe in the Clamour of its Nations
  • Chapter 3: February 15, or: What Binds Europeans
  • Chapter 4: Core Europe as Counterpower? Follow-up Questions
  • Chapter 5: The State of German-Polish Relations
  • Chapter 6: Is the Development of a European Identity Necessary, and Is It Possible?
  • Part III: Views on a Chaotic World
  • Chapter 7: An Interview on War and Peace
  • Part IV: The Kantian Project and the Divided West
  • Chapter 8: Does the Constitutionalisation of International Law Still Have a Chance?
  • Index
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Jurgen Habermas is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Frankfurt.
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  • The Divided West is a major intervention by one of the most highly regarded political thinkers of our time.
  • In this important new volume, Habermas responds to the dramatic political events of the period since 9/11 and maps out a way to move the political agenda forward, beyond the acrimonious debates which have pitched opponents of the war against the Bush Administration and its ‘coalition of the willing'.
  • The author develops a detailed model of transnational and supranational governance inspired by Kantian cosmopolitanism and situates it in the context of the evolution of international law towards a cosmopolitan constitutional order during the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • The book will be essential reading for students of sociology, politics, international relations and international law, and it will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the current and future course of European and international politics.
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“For anyone interested in contemporary intellectual efforts to imagine a more peaceful and equitable world order, The Divided West is a must-read.”
International Studies Review

“Ever since the end of the cold war, Habermas has been trying to define an alternative vision of a new world order. In this collection, he presents that vision in its most accessible and passionate form.”
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

“A useful introduction to Habermas's practical philosophy in the context of some of the most pressing issues of our age.”
Anthony J. Carroll, Heythrop Journal

“No-one articulates the 'European' ideal with greater intellectual clarity, philosophical acumen and humanist fervour than Jürgen Habermas. In this collection of essays and interviews, provocatively entitled The Divided West, Habermas makes a very candid criticism of the current US preoccupation with power.”
S Parvez Manzoor, Muslim World Book Review

“This book is an indispensable guide to anyone seriously interested in how to think about the complex question of terrorism. It exposes subtle and blatant biases that characterize much contemporary discussion of the subject and offers a judicious and closely argued response to terrorism: ultimately the only realistic one.”
Lord Bhikhu Parekh, University of Westminster

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