Martin van Creveld is an Israeli military historian and theorist, born in the Netherlands but living in Israel. He is the author of many books on military history and strategy, and has lectured at many strategic institutes around the Western world. I do not always agree with Mr. van Creveld politically. From an Internet search, I noted this quote by him in particular: “Given the balance of forces, it cannot be argued that a nuclear Iran will threaten the United States. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fulminations to the contrary, the Islamic Republic will not even be a threat to Israel.” I strongly disagree. However, van Creveld is an historian by profession and of some repute, and his writings are articulate and to the point. I will use him to highlight some of the criticism made against the nation state today. The following quotes by him are taken from the essays or booklets The State: Its Rise and Decline and The Fate of the State, both of which are available online. To counter some of his arguments, I will use Roger Scruton, the eminent British philosopher and thinker who I personally hold I very high regard. Most of the quotes by Scruton will be from his excellent little book The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat, some of which is also available online. Basically, anything written by Roger Scruton is recommended reading.
Van Creveld starts his tale of the modern state, as do many others, with the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. The Thirty Years’ War, a series of wars beginning in 1618 because of conflicts between Protestants and Catholics and political struggles involving the Holy Roman Empire, was fought mainly in the region we now call Germany. The impact of the wars in central Europe was devastating. In Germany, the mortality rate was perhaps 20 percent or more. The Thirty Years’ War became the last major religious war in Europe. The edicts agreed upon during the Peace of Westphalia helped lay the foundations for what was to become modern nation states, stipulating that the citizens of the respective nations should be subjected primarily to the laws and of their own governments, and in many ways initiated modern diplomacy in the West. According to van Creveld, “what made the system of government that emerged in Europe after the end of the Thirty Years War different was the fact that it was a corporation. Previously, kings and emperors had been the same as the organizations they headed.”
“In my view, the fact that the state, unlike all previous political constructs, was able to separate the ruler from the organization was the secret behind its outstanding success. What made the state unique was that it replaced the ruler with an abstract, anonymous, mechanism made up of laws, rules, and regulations.”
Van Creveld stresses the role played by technology in the birth of the modern nation state:
“The role played by print in the establishment of the state cannot be overestimated. Next, the telegraph and the railways enabled states to bring their populations under control and to cast their networks over entire countries, even continents. The role of technologies such as telephones, teleprinters, computers (first put to use in calculating the results of the US census), highways, and other systems of transportation and communication was even greater than that of their predecessors. Without them it would have been impossible for the state to contemplate the task that it had undertaken since the beginning of the 19th century: to impose its control over every part of society from the highest to the lowest and almost regardless of distance and geographical location.”
The number of ministries, for instance, which during the 17th and 18th centuries had usually been only a handful such as the minister of justice, the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of war, and the minister of the treasury, has now risen to several dozens in many countries.
Martin van Creveld notes, however, that technology bears a Janus face. It gives governments the tools with which to dominate their countries, but it also transcends national borders, obstructing attempts to domination and thus making possible “entirely unprecedented” gains in terms of both freedom and prosperity. And yet, just as modern technology helped facilitate the rise of nation states, it is now, ironically, breaking them down again:
“The third factor working against the state is the process known, in short, as globalization. Essentially globalization is the product of technological change; a convergence of new means of transportation and communication that have made the world much smaller and more interdependent. Some of these technologies, such as radio, television, satellite television, videos, telephones, fax machines, and the internet easily penetrate state-borders. Others, such as the jumbo jets which carry half a million people across the Atlantic each week, can only be used with the greatest efficiency if they are not limited to the borders of any single state. These technologies in turn have made it possible not just for information but for money and people to flow across state-borders to an extent, and at a rate, that defies any attempt to control it; perhaps the factors that did most to bring down the old so-called German Democratic Republic were people’s desire for the D Mark on the one hand and West German Television on the other. They have also made it possible for private corporations that are not states to coordinate and merge on a global scale.”
Some of these changes are definitely real, not hype. I am taking part in technological globalization myself. While Fjordman lives in Europe, my posts and essays are published on websites based in North America, such as Jihad Watch,
faithfreedom.org and the Gates of Vienna blog, and they have readers from India to Australia. The vast majority of those reading my writings live outside my own nation state, and they can also respond to what they read and communicate with the author. This global conversation between ordinary citizens would indeed have been impossible a generation ago.
Van Creveld says:
“Finally, the unprecedented development of electronic information services seems to mark another step toward the coming collapse of the state. Traditionally no state has ever been able to completely control the thoughts of all its citizens; With the advent of computer networks and the consequent democratization of access to information, the battle between freedom and control was irretrievably lost by the latter, much to the regret of numerous governments.” “Contrary to the fears of George Orwell in 1984, modern technology, in the form of nuclear weapons on the one hand and unprecedented means for communication and transportation on the other, has not resulted in the establishment of unshakable totalitarian dictatorships. The net effect has been to make governments lose power in favor of organizations that are not sovereign and are not states.”
Roger Scruton does not disagree that technological globalization is an important force for change. He notes, for instance, that for the first time in centuries Islam appears to be “a single religious movement united around a single goal,” and that “one major factor in producing this unwonted unity is Western civilization and the process of globalization that it has set in motion.” According to him, this is a result of “Western prosperity, Western legal systems, Western forms of banking, and Western communications that human initiatives now reach so easily across frontiers to affect the lives and aspirations of people all over the globe.”
The irony of this is that “Western civilization depends on an idea of citizenship that is not global at all, but rooted in territorial jurisdiction and national loyalty.” By contrast, Islam, which has been until recently remote from the Western world, is founded on an ideal “which is entirely global in its significance.” Globalization, therefore, “offers militant Islam the opportunity that it has lacked since the Ottoman retreat from central Europe.” It has brought into existence “a true Islamic umma, which identifies itself across borders in terms of a global form of legitimacy, and which attaches itself like a parasite to global institutions and techniques that are the by-products of Western democracy.”
Muslims such as Osama bin Laden “are products of the globalizing process, and Western civilization has so amplified their message that it travels with them around the world: […] the techniques and infrastructure on which al Qaeda depends are the gifts of the new global institutions. It is Wall Street and Zurich that produced the network of international finance that enables Osama bin Laden to conceal his wealth and to deploy it anywhere in the world. It is Western enterprise with its multinational outreach that produced the technology that bin Laden has exploited so effectively against us. And it is Western science that developed the weapons of mass destruction he would dearly like to obtain. His wealth, too, would be inconceivable without the vast oil revenues brought to Saudi Arabia from the West, there to precipitate the building boom from which his father profited. And this very building boom, fueled by a population explosion that is itself the result of global trade, is a symbol of the West and its outreach.”
Van Creveld thinks that the nation state, born out of endless wars, originally “was merely a machine for imposing peace and quiet.” During the later years of the eighteenth century, though, it met with nationalism. In the hands of people such as Herder, nationalism started as a harmless nostalgia for one's native customs; it was “a cultural movement, not a political one.” However, between 1914 and 1945 a total of ten years’ fighting between nation states left perhaps 80 million people dead, a legacy that has discredited the idea of the nation state in the eyes of many.
Roger Scruton, on the other hand, tends to view the nation state favorably as an achievement, one that was not the inevitable result of technology but of a combination of many impulses, including cultural and religious institutions a great deal older than the Peace of Westphalia in the 17th century: Roman law and Christianity. From its beginning in the Roman Empire, Christianity “internalized some of the ideas of imperial government;” in particular, it adopted “the greatest of all Roman achievements, which was the universal system of law as a means for the resolution of conflicts.” St. Paul was a Roman citizen, versed in the law.
“The Pauline church was designed, not as a sovereign body, but as a universal citizen, entitled to the protection of the secular and imperial powers but with no claim to displace those powers as the source of legal order. This corresponds to Christ’s own vision: 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s' (Matthew 22:21).”
This separation of church and state was from the outset an accepted doctrine of the church. Indeed, this separation partly created the church. According to Scruton, “the political process is an achievement – one that might not have occurred and has not occurred in those parts of the world where Roman law and Christian doctrine have left no mark.” The Roman law was secular, unconcerned with the individual’s religious status, and “could change in response to changing circumstances.” “That conception of law is perhaps the most important force in the emergence of European forms of sovereignty.”
Roger Scruton believes that what separates “the West from the rest” is our idea of the personal state:
“The personal state is characterized by a constitution, by a rule of law, and by a rotation of office-holders. Its decisions are collectively arrived at by a process that may not be wholly democratic, but which nevertheless includes every citizen and provides the means whereby each citizen can adopt the outcome as his own. Personal states have an inherent preference for negotiation over compulsion, and for peace over war. [The personal state] is answerable to its citizens, and its decisions can be imputed to them not least because they, as citizens, participate in the political process.”
For this democratic, political process to work there has to be a shared sense of identity, a community that can have common interests in the first place. Furthermore, the social contract makes sense only if future generations are included in it, as the purpose is to establish an enduring society.
“There cannot be a society without this experience of membership. For it is this that enables me to regard the interests and needs of strangers as my concern; that enables me to recognize the authority of decisions and laws.” “Take away the experience of membership and the ground of the social contract disappears: social obligations become temporary, troubled, and defeasible, and the idea that one might be called upon to lay down one’s life for a collection of strangers begins to border on the absurd.”
However, this social contract makes sense in the West “only because of the long history that endowed Western communities with a territorial rather than a religious loyalty.” The Constitution of the United States of America starts with the phrase “We, the people ...” And Scruton asks
“Which people? Why, us; we who already belong, whose historic tie is now to be transcribed into law. We can make sense of the social contract only on the assumption of some such precontractual ‘we.’”
To make clear that such a membership in a personal state is far from the inevitable outcome of some impersonal technological development, Roger Scruton points out that it has no real counterpart in Islamic countries, where the ideal is the global Ummah and the Caliphate. Concepts such as the nation state or territorial integrity have no real equivalent in the fiqh, Islamic jurisprudence, which helps explain why democracy is so hard to establish in Muslim countries. This is also a crucial reason why Muslims feel such a hatred for Israel, “an outreach of the West in the dar al-islam. The Islamic militants can therefore be satisfied with nothing short of the total destruction of Israel. For Israel is a nation-state established where no nation-state should be – a place where the only law should be the sharia, and the only loyalty that of Islam.”
Scruton notes, moreover, that this personal state is now under pressure, both from supranational institutions that are destroying the sense of membership from above, and massive immigration without assimilation that is destroying it from below, two trends that are happening at the same time and seemingly related. The European Union, among others, “is rapidly destroying the territorial jurisdictions and national loyalties that have, since the Enlightenment, formed the basis of European legitimacy, while putting no new form of membership in their place.” And although it makes sense for individuals travelling from Third World countries to settle in Europe, they may thus unwittingly contribute to destroying what they came to enjoy the benefits of in the first place:
“The political and economic advantages that lead people to seek asylum in the West are the result of territorial jurisdiction. Yet territorial jurisdictions can survive only if borders are controlled. Transnational legislation, acting together with the culture of repudiation, is therefore rapidly undermining the conditions that make Western freedoms durable.”
Martin van Creveld claims that “the State, which since the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) has been the most important and most characteristic of all modern institutions, is dying. Wherever we look, existing states are either combining into larger communities or falling apart. Inside their borders, it seems that many states will soon no longer be able to protect the political, military, economic, social, and cultural life of their citizens. These developments may lead to upheavals as profound as those that took humanity out of the Middle Ages and into the Modern World.” He thinks that the political construct known as the state “peaked between 1945 and 1975,” and is now declining.
“While many states are either imploding or coming together, all of them face increasing competition from other forms of organization. Some of those organizations are private, others are public.” “In the future, and to a growing extent, more and more these organizations can be expected to emancipate themselves from state control and to play an independent role.”
He also claims that an important factor in this process was the introduction of nuclear weapons. “For the first time in history, nuclear weapons permitted those who possessed them to annihilate each other.” This turned warfare between the major nation states into suicide, thus negating Clausewitz’s definition of it as a continuation of policy with other means. Nuclear armed states cannot so easily go to war against each other in order to extend or defend their interests.
Roger Scruton, however, is deeply worried over this weakening of the nation state, since, as he points out, nobody has really given a convincing answer to what is going to replace it. In Europe in particular, a “process has been set in motion that would expropriate the remaining sovereignty of our parliaments” and yet not replaced them with any functioning, democratic alternative.
“Democracies owe their existence to national loyalties – the loyalties that are supposedly shared by government and opposition, by all political parties, and by the electorate as a whole. Yet everywhere the idea of the nation is under attack – either despised as an atavistic form of social unity, or even condemned as a cause of war and conflict, to be broken down and replaced by more enlightened and more universal forms of jurisdiction. But what, exactly, is supposed to replace the nation and the nation state?”
Scruton is pessimistic of the outcome if this process is allowed to continue:
“We have reached the stage where our national jurisdiction is bombarded by laws from outside [...] even though many of them originate in despotic or criminal governments, and even though hardly any of them are concerned with the maintenance of peace. Even so we, the citizens, are powerless to reject these laws, and they, the legislators, are entirely unanswerable to us, who must obey them [...] The despotism is coming slowly: the anarchy will happen quickly in its wake, when law is finally detached from the experience of membership, becomes ‘theirs’ but not ‘ours’ and so loses all authority in the hearts of those whom it presumes to discipline.”
Personally, I do not disagree with Mr. van Creveld that technology by itself brings about changes. Yes, the nation state will be challenged in the 21st century because of technological globalization. It was the spread of medical advances and other improvements that paved the way for the massive population explosion in the 20th and early 21st centuries, unparalleled in the history of the human race. Technological globalization has also made it easier for these sometimes impoverished masses to see how things are in other parts of the world, and communication technology has made it easier for them to travel to distant lands. The massive migration waves we are witnessing now, large enough to destroy nations or even entire continents, are primarily the result of impersonal forces. This does of course not rule out the possibility that there are those who want to exploit it to further their own agenda, such as Muslims using migration of their excess population for demographic conquest of infidel countries.
One subject where van Creveld seems to hit the nail on the head is the decline in both social and physical security associated with the retreat of the nation state.
“More than anything else, however, the feeling that states are no longer as capable of holding their populations in check as they used to be is the growth of gated communities and a vast private security industry. The former are like medieval cities, presenting fortress-like facades to what their inhabitants obviously feel is the growing disorder outside; the latter has turned into a growth area where fortunes are being made, armed forces raised, weapons acquired, and power accumulated and not seldom projected.”
This steep rise in the number of private security forces is indeed well attested in many Western European nations in recent years, parallel with massive immigration and increased urban insecurity. The state is not doing its job in upholding law and order. Europeans are thus paying for services they don't get, a situation that cannot last forever.
Van Creveld also predicts the retreat of the welfare state and “growing importance of private welfare and charity on the one hand and of the family on the other.” This will probably happen, but it has not happened so far. Taxes and welfare payments remain as high as ever. The irony is that while we are being told that we should accept massive immigration because the nation state is obsolete, we are still supposed to pay for it. Many Western Europeans in 2006 typically pay between 35 to 55% of their income in taxes, and almost all of this goes to projects and institutions on a national level. If the nation state is dead, how come it gets half of my salary? The nation state must be the most expensive corpse in human history. It is also noteworthy that Leftist parties in Europe usually get the overwhelming majority of votes from Third World immigrants, who come precisely to enjoy the economic benefits these countries have to offer. The idea that the border should be kept open, since nation states are obsolete, but that citizens should still pay for it has proven to be a stroke of genius for Leftist parties, who can simply import voters and elect a new people. Native Europeans who pay their high tax rates will thus be funding their own colonization.
Yes, technological globalization and the migration related to it will indeed pose serious challenges to the nation state in the future. They already are. But I am closer to Roger Scruton in not discounting the impact of technology, but in also placing emphasis on the role played by ideas and culture. In addition to the impersonal force of technology, there are also ideological attacks on the nation state as an institution that are very deliberate and not impersonal at all. Mr. van Creveld himself claims that the state “peaked” at some point after WW2. But even at this point, and before it, there were those who wanted to replace the nation state with something else. Marxists had been working towards this end for decades. And the beginnings of what would later become the European Union were laid in the 1950s, based on ideas from at least the 1920s.
We keep hearing that the nation state is not just obsolete from a practical point of view, but an evil institution that divides mankind and creates racism, xenophobia and other intolerable differences. There was nothing “technologically inevitable” about the active establishment of the concept of Multiculturalism, for instance, which has prevented the assimilation of migrants and thus been facilitating the breakdown of the nation state on a micro-level while the EU has been breaking it down on the macro-level. To name one example, there is in Scandinavia a project to give the North European Samis a common law cutting across national borders. “Of a total of 75,000 Samis – formerly known as Lapps or Laplanders – in the Nordic region, 50,000 live in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden and the rest in Finland. Each of the three countries currently applies its own laws to Samis and the new text, after three years of negotiations, aims to harmonize their economic, cultural and linguistic rights regardless of national boundaries.” This is a deliberate step to undermine the nation state, and is not happening by accident.
Likewise, we have heard in Europe for years that further EU integration was inevitable, and that those thinking otherwise were reactionary Europhobes out of touch with reality. As it turns out, it was neither inevitable nor desirable. There were people who had made deliberate plans to create a Euro-federation, and perhaps the unification of both sides of the Mediterranean through Muslim immigration, as Bat Ye'or has demonstrated in her book “Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.” It is quite possible that the European Union will simply fall apart during the coming decade, just as the Soviet Union did before it. But meanwhile, the “inevitable” experiment with a massive, unaccountable bureaucracy and massive immigration has almost brought Europe to its knees.
In 1998, Javier Solana, then Secretary General of NATO, later EU foreign policy chief and known for his good relations with Saudi Arabia and Islamic organizations, stated that “the Westphalian system had its limits.” In place of it, he praised “the European integration process” through the EU and “the willingness of states to cede elements of national sovereignty for the common good of a united Europe.” In 2000, then-German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer argued that the system of European politics set up by Westphalia was obsolete, and that the solution was a “closer meshing of vital interests and the transfer of nation-state sovereign rights to supranational European institutions.” In 2004, the key ideologist of Al Qaeda, Lewis 'Atiyyatullah, said that the balance of power will change; the international system built up by the West since the Treaty of Westphalia will collapse, and a new international system will rise under the leadership of a mighty Islamic state. And all of this will occur within a few years. Shouldn’t it give us pause for some reflection when Western leaders and Islamic terrorists express overlapping goals of undermining the nation state structure?
Martin van Creveld admits quite openly that he has a “Hegelian” outlook, after the philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel who was an important source of inspiration for Karl Marx in formulating his ideas of large, impersonal historical forces that could be scientifically predicted. I immediately become skeptical of people who predict massive changes in our democratic society and claim that this is “inevitable” and that those who think otherwise are “standing against the tide of history.” We all remember how the ultimate triumph of Communism was “inevitable,” and turned out to be nothing of the sort. And yet, tens of millions of people died because of this large-scale social experiment. In the worst case, the belief that one “knows” the way history is moving could lead to totalitarian impulses by trying to force the course of history in a particular direction.
Roger Scruton comments on this trend, too:
“At the same time our political elites speak and behave as though there were no such choice to be made – just as the communists did at the time of the Russian Revolution. They refer to an inevitable process, to irreversible changes, and while at times prepared to distinguish a ‘fast’ from a ‘slow’ track into the future, are clear in their minds that these two tracks lead to a single destination – the destination of transnational government, under a common system of law, in which national loyalty will be no more significant than support for a local football team.”
This sense of “inevitability” is frequently implied in statements by members of the Euro-elites. Before the French referendum in 2005, a severe PM Raffarin warned French voters that if they did not ratify this Constitution, there was no second option. One year after the failed referendum on the EU constitution in the Netherlands, Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende indicated he would try to avoid a second referendum on a possible revised treaty text. Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt pleaded for further ratification of the EU constitution as it stood. “Practically and politically, there is just one option: move forward with the ratification of this constitution,” he stated.
Historically, there have been two types of democracy: Direct democracy, exercised by the people directly without intermediaries, and representative democracy where citizens do not vote on most decisions directly, but elect representatives they trust to do this for them, for a limited and pre-stipulated period of time. Direct democracy is not an exclusively Western idea. Elements of it have existed both in early Indian republics and in the Iroquois Confederacy in North America, to name some examples. However, direct democracies have almost always been relatively small communities, such as the Greek city-states where the word “democracy” itself was coined in the 5th century BC. The most famous was the ancient Athenian democracy, where voting rights were gradually expanded to all citizens, which meant perhaps one tenth of the population of the city. However, lasting democracies on a larger and more complex scale is a modern, Western invention, intimately tied to the nation state structure.
Some thinkers have claimed that the world is now ripe for a “new” type of democracy, after the city-state and the nation state. Yet no-one has so far managed to present a convincing theoretical, far less a practical, example of how such a “post-national” democracy would function. As Scruton points out, in both these traditional types of democracy there has been a demos, a people with a shared sense of community and a pre-political loyalty that binds them together. It is unclear how the Multicultural and supranational European Union, tied together neither by shared language nor by shared history, is going to be democratic. Judging from our experiences with the EU so far, where most of the laws passed in Western Europe are now not made by the elected, national parliaments, but by unelected and unaccountable EU bureaucrats whose agenda is not always known, one is tempted to conclude that a post-national organization will also be post-democratic. One is also tempted to suspect that this will suit some of its creators just fine.
Yes, it is true that the establishment of nation states and national identities were not always peaceful. But nation states have not had a monopoly on wars, which existed long before the nation state as a concept and would probably continue even if we removed it. Besides, we have these nation states now, and they have provided us with the only stable, large scale democracies in human history. Indeed, the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 came about precisely after a series of devastating, pre-national religious wars. It is curious to notice that in our supposedly post-national age, we seem to be on the verge of entering a new religious war, an Islamic Jihad that is not tied to any nation state, but global in scope and in goals. Van Creveld also states that changes as vast as the ones he predicts, with the downfall of state power, “almost cannot take place without bloodshed.” Isn’t it likely that the downfall of the nation state could lead to tribalism and become at least as violent as its creation? It is more probable that abandoning nation states would lead to an end to our democratic system than that it would lead to an end to war. War, thus, is a poor excuse for its abolishment.
Some moderate attachment to your nation state does not have to be aggressive or negative, although it can be in certain circumstances. In fact, given the tensions we are now seeing caused by Multiculturalism and massive immigration, the next major war in Europe could well be triggered in part due to aggressive anti-nationalism, not aggressive nationalism. The downfall of the nation state, if it happens, will not bring us into a brave new world of global peace and brotherhood or the Age of Aquarius. It will be chaotic, painful and quite possibly bloody. More a throwback to the Middle Ages, the period before the rise of the nation states, complete with feudalism and tribalism, Muslim raids and people retreating into their own little fortresses while a few islands of sanity, similar to the monasteries a thousand years ago, will try to keep something of our cultural heritage alive.
As usual, Roger Scruton gives the best answer:
“My case is not that the nation state is the only answer to the problems of modern government, but that it is the only answer that has proved itself. We may feel tempted to experiment with other forms of political order. But experiments on this scale are dangerous, since nobody knows how to predict or to reverse the results of them. The French, Russian and Nazi revolutions were bold experiments; but in each case they led to the collapse of legal order, to mass murder at home and to belligerence abroad. The wise policy is to accept the arrangements, however imperfect, that have evolved through custom and inheritance, to improve them by small adjustments, but not to jeopardise them by large-scale alterations the consequences of which nobody can really envisage. The case for this approach was unanswerably set before us by Burke in his Reflections on the French Revolution, and subsequent history has repeatedly confirmed his view of things. The lesson that we should draw, therefore, is that since the nation state has proved to be a stable foundation of democratic government and secular jurisdiction, we ought to improve it, to adjust it, even to dilute it, but not to throw it away.”
I agree with Roger Scruton: The nation state will indeed be challenged, but that is not an argument for actively trying to get rid of it. It may be able, with some adjustments, to withstand the pressures from migration and globalization, but it will definitely not be able to withstand both this and the additional ideological onslaught we are witnessing now. Scruton believes that we in the West must “do what we can to reinforce the nation-state, which has brought the great benefits that distinguish the West from the rest, including the benefits of personal government, citizenship under a territorial jurisdiction, and government answerable to the people.” This means that we must “constrain the process of globalization.”
For Europeans, that would mean scrapping the European Union, which has transferred dangerous amounts of power to institutions and individuals not accountable to the people. For the West as a whole, it means taking a second look at our immigration policies and our near open borders, and rethinking whether organizations such as the Unites Nations will serve us well in the 21st century.