Nomos de la Tierra - derecho y política en un sentido planetario


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Para una introducción al sentido político de los flujos y los campos. Derecho y política en un sentido planetario.


The Nomos of the Earth is Schmitt’s most historical and geopolitical work. Published in 1950, it was also one of his final texts. It describes the origin of the Eurocentric global order, which Schmitt dates from the discovery of the New World, discusses its specific character and its contribution to civilization, analyses the reasons for its decline at the end of the 19th century, and concludes with prospects for a new world order. It defends European achievements, not only in creating the first truly global order of international law, but also in limiting war to conflicts among sovereign states, which, in effect, civilized war. In Schmitt’s view, the European sovereign state was the greatest achievement of Occidental rationalism; in becoming the principal agency of secularization, the European state created the modern age.

Notable in Schmitt’s discussion of the European epoch of world history is the role played by the New World, which ultimately replaced the old world as the centre of the Earth and became the arbiter in European and world politics. According to Schmitt, the United States’ internal conflicts between economic presence and political absence, between isolationism and interventionism, are global problems, which today continue to hamper the creation of a new world order. But however critical Schmitt is of American actions at the end of the 19th century and after World War I, he considered the United States to be the only political entity capable of resolving the crisis of global order.


“…but let us also clarify the Jus Publicum Europaeum. From the European inter-state configuration came the notion of relative stability but also the relativization of the concept of «enmity», possible by the eradication of the horizon of international relations from the legal dilemma that the just war represented. Through Jus Publicum Europaeum, war, as a state matter, is deemed to be morally or theologically justifiable and fair. The formation of modern law, admittedly one of the strands of the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age, will be inseparable from a movement of theological demarcation of the public life (Schmitt 1950a, 142). By becoming a state matter, war is separated from the theological notion of justa causa belli, acquiring the non-discriminatory normative concept of justus hostis[9]. Since each state may present itself in a conflict as a public order holder within its borders, war between nations is henceforth a conflict between hostes aequaliter justi. This is to say that equality between just enemies underlies the decisionism that Schmitt describes in his theory of law (Schmitt 1950a, 157), that is, that each sovereign state decides for itself what will be the just cause. This will suffice as a basis for the validation of the regulatory system. The remaining States, which do not take part in the conflict, can always invoke the status of neutrality, thus abstaining from all resolutions.
It was with the emergence of very extensive «free spaces» and of its territorial appropriation that the new law of interstate structure was born, translated in a balance that was based, fundamentally, on the differentiation between firm land and free sea. But the collision between the war on the sea and the war on the land was still unfolding. The opponents are co-present on a relatively homogeneous theater of operations, which extends horizontally. However, with the conquest of airspace, a new element, the air, emerges, and a new, more comprehensive and planned image of the world is produced: a kind of real-time mapping.
In this real-time cartography, observable first with the help of hot air balloons and the airplane, then with the aircraft and the satellites, new spatial concepts and new measurements are established. But just as the sea ceased to be an element to have domains and territories, inscribed horizontally in the regimes of property that are scanned on land, the same happened with the taking [nehmen] of the air, but vertically. For Carl Schmitt, the conquest of airspace has radically changed the «horizontal face-to-face», finally bringing down the ground because the air war has no stage or spectators[10]. It is with this abolition of the flatness of the territory that the nomos of the earth ends.
Considering that every technological advance on a physical medium, on a new element, is effected a modification in the image that we have of the totality of the Earth, this image leads, simultaneously, to the re-composition of the nomos. New capabilities of action, of media speed, new patterns of force and human regimentation are tested and experimented, and the models of circulation and information are modified. Following Schmittian thinking, with each new medium revealed, capacity is altered in the effectiveness of the means (Schmitt 1950a, 54). And due to this, as from World War I, aerial power[11] would finally dissolve the radius of influence of the potential fleet, definitely expanding the war on a planetary scale. From the air came terrorism”.
Catarina Patrício