Only deep in rainforests steppes or polar regions did small ethnic groups live

Only deep in rainforests steppes or polar regions did

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supranational regulatory institutions. Only deep in rainforests, steppes, or polar regions did small ethnic groups live without paying tribute to a higher author- ity. Autonomous city-states no longer played any role: Venice, for centuries the epitome of a civic community well capable of defending itself, had lost its inde- pendence in 1797; the Republic of Geneva, after an interlude under French rule (1798–1813), had joined the Swiss Confederation in 1815 as a yet another can- ton. 4 Empires and nation-states provided the framework for the life of society. Only the communities of a few “world” religions—the Societas Christiana or the Muslim umma— had an even wider scope, but no political entity of similar extent corresponded to them. Empires and nation-states also had a second side to them. They were players on the special stage of “international relations.” Driving Forces of International Politics International politics is essentially about questions of war and peace. Until the state-organized mass murders of the twentieth century, war was the worst of man-made evils; its avoidance was therefore especially valued. Although the fame of conquerors might be more dazzling for a time, all civilizations have—at least in retrospect—thought more highly of rulers who created and preserved peace. Those who both won an empire and subsequently brought peace to it have enjoyed the highest esteem of all: Augustus or the Kangxi Emperor, for example. Like the apocalyptic horsemen that bring pestilence and famine, war attacks a society as a whole. Peace—the inconspicuous absence of war—is the basic prerequisite for civil life and material existence. Hence international pol- itics is never an isolated sphere: it has a close interrelationship with all other aspects of reality. War is never without implications for economics, culture, or the environment, and other dramatic moments in history are usually associated with it. Revolutions often arise out of war (as in seventeenth-century England, the Paris Commune of 1871, or the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917) or flow into it (like the French Revolution of 1789). Only a few revolutions, such as those of 1989–91 in the Soviet sphere of hegemony, remained free of military consequences, 5 although the events of 1989–91 had indirect military causes too (the arms race of the “Cold War,” about which no one could ever be sure that it would not escalate into a hot confrontation). This multiple interweaving with the life of society should not make us for- get, however, that in modern Europe international politics has partly followed a logic of its own. There have been specialists in interstate relations ever since the emergence of (European) diplomacy in Renaissance Italy, and their think- ing and values—for example, concepts of reasons of state, dynastic or national interests, or the prestige and honor of a ruler or state—have often been alien
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394 Chapter VIII to the ordinary subject or citizen. They constitute distinctive “codes,” rhetorics, and sets of rules. And it is precisely this ambiguity of autonomy plus social in-
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