Europe and Empire: On the Political Forms of Globalization

Europe and Empire: On the Political Forms of Globalization

Europe and Empire: On the Political Forms of Globalization

Europe and Empire: On the Political Forms of Globalization

Synopsis

The European Union and the single currency have given Europe more stability than it has known in the past thousand years, yet Europe seems to be in perpetual crisis about its global role. The many European empires are now reduced to a multiplicity of ethnicities, traditions, and civilizations. Europe will never be One, but to survive as a union it will have to become a federation of "islands" both distinct and connected.

Though drawing on philosophers of Europe's past, Cacciari calls not to resist Europe's sunset but to embrace it. Europe will have to open up to the possibility that in few generations new exiles and an unpredictable cultural hybridism will again change all we know about the European legacy. Though scarcely alive in today's politics, the political unity of Europe is still a necessity, however impossible it seems to achieve.

Excerpt

With the exception of the recent chapter on the katechon, I have written the essays collected in this volume in years when, at least to me, it looked like Europe was getting close to embracing a political and cultural constitution that would have made the European voice heard in the initial stage of the global era, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Third World War. To me and many others it appeared that the construction of European political unity, no matter the different accents and perspectives involved, ought to be guided by an idea and not just by unstoppable, market-driven necessities. It seemed that the twilight of hegemonic will to power, which had been the constant trait of European history, could signal a new beginning—in the wake of great traditions, undoubtedly, for every true innovation is also a reformation. My attention to the idea of empire as opposed to monarchy or, worse, tyranny stemmed from a reconsideration of some key categories of Roman law, especially the concepts of republic (res publica) and city (civitas), which were the soul of the Roman system. I can say the same for my attention to the idea of a universal public authority (publica auctoritas universalis), today often invoked every time the economic and financial globalization, unable to follow any rule except the market law (lex mercatoria), unleashes a new catastrophic crisis.

An idea of Europe as a real, strong political organism made of nations (ex nationibus), founded on the lasting value of their languages and traditions, at the twilight of European will to power—that was the new beginning I was trying to read. Considering the possibility of a new start, I set out to discern a paradigm of international relations among the great areas of the planet. It was an idea of empire as the expression of a groundbreak-

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