Saturday, February 02, 2008

Twilight of the Nation-State?

The European Union’s grand project rests on the belief that nationalism is passé, indeed pernicious. Fascism’s mystic nationalism proved, on this view, that the nation-state impedes the spread of human rights, tolerance, and the rational adjudication of disputes — all essential to global peace. The nation-state should therefore give way to organizations like the E.U.: a transnational, secular institution that can bring about peace and prosperity by practicing what French intellectual Chantal Delsol calls “techno-politics” — a rational approach superior to the atavistic passions and superstitions that fired nationalism. But as the political philosopher Pierre Manent argues in a provocative new book, the European project, at least in its current form, represents a serious threat to democratic freedom. “If our nation suddenly disappeared and its bonds were dispersed,” Manent observes, “each of us immediately would become a stranger, a monster, to himself.”

CIA On Torture Memo: 'We Need To Stop Writing This Stuff Down'

WASHINGTON—During a press conference Tuesday, CIA chief Michael Hayden expressed regret over the organization's inhumane interrogation tactics of simulating drowning, removing fingernails with pliers, and lacerating genitals, when he told reporters the practices should never have been committed to paper. "Geez, what the heck were we thinking?" Hayden said. "Our job is to protect the American people from this kind of disturbing stuff, and I don't know why we even jotted it down in the first place. Next time we'll just keep it to ourselves." Hayden also said the agency planned to remove the locations and mailing addresses of secret detention facilities from its official website.