Your one-stop shop for everything related to the Peace of Westphalia

Peace of Westphalia in the news, February, 2022

It occurred to me recently that I could Google Alerts to let me know about new references to the Peace of Westphalia online. Naturally, most of them will probably just reference it as a byword for sovereignty (or, sometimes, balance of power), but there may be more enlightened usages. In any case, it could be interesting to see how people are using the Peace of Westphalia to understand current affairs.

  • Global Times, “Can US’ balancing strategy last after Ukraine crisis?”: a plain equation of the peace with balance of power, alleged also to be the U.S. international strategy at the moment.
  • Eurasia Review, “An Essay On Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine (Part V): Preventing Another Genocide”: this really isn’t so much a direct reference to the Peace of Westphalia, but rather to the “gradual emergence of the nation state as a concept since the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.” It is, however, an interesting article. I believe that similar peoples should have a right to govern themselves; the problem, as the article notes, is that ethnicities are so intertwined in places that there is no good way to divide them up. The article then considers this problem as the origin of genocide, and argues that Ukraine has been more afflicted than any other European region. “Genocide” is peculiar word. The article notes that it was coined in 1944 to describe the National Socialist purge against Judaism. The Holocaust was, however, an almost unique event in which Hitler attempted to eliminate Judaism. Most of the other cases mentioned in the article were attempt to remove an ethnicity from a certain region, by killing or expulsion; or were attacks on an ethnicity that resulted in great losses although they may not have been targeted specifically for their ethnicity (e.g. the Tatars’ selling of Ukrainians as slaves). Even the most egregious attempt to extirpate an ethnicity were almost always limited to a particular piece of territory, whereas Hitler’s vision was to eliminate Judaism everywhere: not only in Germany, or in Germany-controlled territory, but anywhere he could convince people to hand them over.
  • “Long-Term Survival: A New International Security Architecture”: This article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche is mainly a curiousity. She is the widow of Lyndon LaRouche, who is someone that might be fairly described as an extremist and a conspiracy theorist (unlike, say, Joe Rogan) for a number of bizarre theories, including that the British monarchy was at the center of the international drug trade. Helga Zepp-LaRouche seems to follow the same general outlines as her deceased husband. I’m just surprised that Google would bother to consider this site significant enough to mention it (they send an abbreviated list of the “most important” hits, not all of them, to me). I guess a fair number of people must read it. It brings to mind how, when I first started this site, the Schiller Institute’s (a LaRouche organ) page on the Peace of Westphalia was one of the top ten hits on Google.
  • Global Village Space, “Explaining the international system in the context of Ukraine-Russian crises”: this is another completely conventional citation of Westphalia as the origin of the sovereign nation-state. It is peculiar because the one reference to Westphalia is hyperlinked to another article about the visit of Pakistan’s PM to Russia at the time of the invasion to discuss the issue of Kashmir. As far as I can tell, the linked article does not mention Westphalia; I can’t tell if this is a screw-up, or if the site is just spamming links to gin up traffic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.