22 April, 2009

International Relations A Christian Perspective

nThe International State System:
Why Nations? Why States?
nAsk the Political Philosophers
State of Nature -- The Realist View
n“Political Community” begins by acquiring and establishing dominion over a particular part of the world

nThe first act of politics is to secure the safety, existence and self-sufficiency of the community

nThis reality is fully appreciated by most political thinkers: “laying its foundation on such principles
and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and
happiness.” - Declaration of Independence
nPlato, Laws, “for everyone there always exists by nature an undeclared war among all states.”

nMachiavelli, Prince, “a prince should have no other object, nor any other thought, nor take anything
else as his art but the art of war and its orders and disciplines.”

nHobbes, Leviathan, the norm for states is “having their weapons pointing, and their eyes fixed on one another.”
nAsk the Hebrew Prophets
State of Nature -- The Biblical View
nOriginal State of Nature – mankind in fellowship with God and dominion over the whole earth.
Original purpose engraved in human nature (natural rights)

nThe Corrupted State of Nature

Mankind’s rebellion and loss of dominion

Genesis 6:6 – “the wickedness of man was great in the earth….and every imagination of the

thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”

nAsk the Hebrew Prophets
State of Nature -- The Biblical View
nEarth filled with violence

Genesis 6:11 – “the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence”

nJudgment of the Flood and Institution of Government - Capital punishment sanctioned
to restrain violence

Genesis 9:6 – “Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God

made He man.”

nTable of Nations (goyim)

Genesis 10 – 70 names…the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth… “By these were the coasts

of the nations divided in their lands” “after their families (race), after their manner of speaking, in

their lands (space) after their nations (ethnicity).”

nAsk the Hebrew Prophets
The Dividing and Scattering of Nations

nDesire for Identity and Recognition

Genesis 11: “let us build a city and a tower….and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered.”

nConfusion of the Languages

Genesis 11 – “Behold, they are one people (am achad), and they have one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withheld from them, which they purpose to do.”

nBoundaries Established

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 - “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel (or bene Elohim Sons of God)”

nThe Nations in God’s Redemptive Plan
nIsraelite Nation Called out as An Example Nation
nTo Egypt
nTo Wilderness
nTo Homeland
nTo Exile, Return, Messianic Role, Dispersion and Future Role
nAppointed Times for all Nations

Acts 17:26 – (Paul speaking) “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and boundaries of their habitation, in order that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

nThe Nations in End Times
nHaggai 2: Strength of the Kingdoms Destroyed

Hagaii 2:21-22 – “I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of

kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow

the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by

the sword of his brother.”

nMessiah Judges the Nations

Romans 11:25 – “when the fullness of the nations be come in.”

Matthew 25:32 – “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one

another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

nMessiah rules as King of Kings

Psalm 72: 11 - “Yea, all kings shall prostrate themselves before him; all nations shall serve him.”

nThe Nations in Eternity

nFinal Deception of the Nations

Revelation 20:8 – “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his

prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth,”

nNew Heaven and New Earth

Revelation 21:1,24 – “then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old

earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there…..the nations will walk by its light, and

the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.”

nLiber Chronicalum
Hartman Schedel 1440-1514
n“Tracking Down Mitichondrial Eve”
US News & World Report, January 29,2001

nFuture Ethno-National Evolution?
Tellus Project: 2335 A.D.
nHalford J. Mackinder
Modern Political Geography
nPolitical Geography
nSir Halford Mackinder, Royal Geographic Society (1904) commented on the close of the “Columbian epoch”:
n400 yrs of discovery and relatively easy expansion
n“virtually complete political appropriation”

n“Post-Columbian” age is a closed political system…every explosion of social forces, instead of being dissipated in a surrounding circuit of unknown space and barbaric chaos, will be sharply re-echoed from the far side of the globe.”

nMackinder’s Geopolitical View

nWorld Ocean: There is “One Ocean” covering 9/12th of the globe

nWorld Island: We can now see that Europe, Asia and Africa are a joint continent – “the World Island – covering 2/12th of the globe

nHeartland: is the dominant geopolitical fact in the World Island – “the greatest natural fortress on earth.”
nThe Inner Crescent: Is the area surrounding the Heartland where most of the World’s population lives

nOuter Crescent: The rest of the land (1/12th) is composed of large and small Islands

nMackinder’s World
nMackinder’s Heartland Theory
n“Heartland” is the “Pivot” region of the world
nunpenetrated from the waterways from the seas
nthere is an open passage to the West

nAround the Heartland lie 4 marginal regions arrayed in a “Crescent”, containing 2/3rds of the world’s population:

- Pacific Monsoon

- Indian Monsoon

- The land of the 5 seas

- Europe

nMackinder’s Heartland Theory

nThis “Crescent” is partly continental, partly oceanic and functions as a vast zone of conflict between the land and sea powers

nBeyond lie the Island Nations

nMackinder’s Observations on British Empire
nSea Power was ascendant in the 19th century
nSteam power had extended the reach of navies
nTelegraph and radio had extended commercial production, control and administration of a maritime empire

nReversal of power to the land of Eurasia was possible
nRussia expanding eastward on new modes of transport
nMan-power and resources could sustain a Eurasian empire
nEast Europe was in command of the Heartland
nUnification of Germany

nBritish strategy must protect the Eurasian Crescent
nfrom Heartland conquest
nto prevent a rimland power from commanding the Heartland.
nAfter Mackinder
nCarl Ritter, German geographer, envisioned a “Divine plan for humanity”, based on regionalism and a constant flow of forms.

nFriedrich Ratzel, science of “nation-states”, influenced by evolutionary theory
nLebensraum: living space to achieve autarky ( raw materials, populations, markets, states must expand or die.
nOrganic nationalism: to every race its place, natural political boundaries, harmony of state and nation.

nAfter Mackinder
nKarl Haushofer, Nazi geographer, defined spheres of natural influence/domination.
nArchitect of “The Eastern Plan” for a Germanic people “without a space”



Many think the medieval ages was a time where one king ruled the land as a tyrant; this is not the case. These kings did have control but they gave their land away to lords in order to have an army, maintain order and be able to manage his kingdom. These lords then had a contract not only with the king but with their own vassals or servants. This system of governance is known as feudalism. This system of government which started in France changed the political, military and socioeconomic environment of Europe forever.

Feudalism was created by the Frankish king Charles Martel. He created the system because the franks were under threat of invasion from the Muslims who had already conquered Spain. The Franks needed an army, yet they had limited resources to spend on the army. The solution that Martel came up with was to give the wealthy upper class gifts of land as long as they pledged military service. This created a social class much like the Germans had; they were known as the Comitatus. These warriors swore an oath of allegiance to the chief or lord to fight for them and follow their orders. This was the creation of the vassal-lord system, also known as the feudal system. (McGill September 2009)

The basis of feudalism is the vassal-lord relationship. This is the basis for the entire system of feudalism, it is based on the ideas that the vassals pledge their allegiance and services to the lord in exchange for a fife. This fife is an amount of land which the vassal will either divide among their vassals or will work the land if they are at the bottom of the hierarchy. The Lord will also provide protection of the vassal and his land. The system was one of inheritance therefore the eldest son will inherit any vassals or lords; if the presents were free they could choose to leave yet the land would be given to another vassal. The vassal-lord system is “to be an institutional structure which regulated the retainer’s obligations, service, and loyalty, to the lord and the lord’s obligations, protection and maintenance, to the retainer.” (Dumolyn June 2007) The “lords possessed of powers to command, judge, and tax were deemed noble ipso facto.” (Bisson, Medieval Lordship 1995) All of these aspects of the system the government was based upon mad the political system very delicate.

There were many implications of this feudal system, one was a very delicate and fragile political system. One of these is the complexity of the layers which the lords had created by having their own vassals. “Kings granted their vassals very large tracts of land. In turn, these vassals granted parts of their own fiefs to sub-vassals, who swore loyalty and military service to the vassals.” (McGill September 2009) All lords just wanted more money the way they obtained this was “to convert their tenants into abject serfs or slaves, and make them mere appendage of the soil, and to be kept forever in a condition of hopeless vassalage, without a prospect of relief.” (The Injustice of Tenant Farming 1844) Due to the perks the job of being a lord brought you it was widely known that many wanted to become lords. In fact “the early crusades, one might almost say, were concocted for men in search of lordly reputation.” (Bisson, Medieval Lordship 1995) These lords need their political power and economic power to raise and maintain an army which can assist in the protection and expansion of lands.

The military was raised by each individual lord and they were at the disposal of the King if he desired to call upon them. Most of the time the King did not require the army so they were used as a means to collect the taxes from the peasants and to expand the lords lands by fighting against other lords. “The feudal system created a wealthy class of land-owing barons. These barons had their own standing armies and controlled politics in their respective regions. These families battled one another over feudal disputes.” (McGill, Survey of the Magna Carta September 2009) The “feudal armies were predominantly instruments for the subjection of the peasantry.” (Barendse 2003) The lords used castles as their residences and to house their army, most of the peasants lived and worked near the castle. Although “erected castles, were not so much built to withstand invasions but to subdue the peasantry by “plunder, rape and armed assault” (as the sources say).” (Barendse2003) The armies were also used to put down any insurrections the peasants may start.

The economy was not centralized around the lords like the politics and the military were. The socioeconomics of the medieval age were centralized around the present family. The “peasant household production: that is, a way of agrarian production where the family is the basic unit of production.” (Barendse2003) The clash between lords was not the only battle that was occurring. “But unlike what Bison argues-The feudal mutation was exclusively a struggle for power within the elites- it was not merely that but a struggle between opposed classes, too.” (Barendse 2003) Although despite the battles within and between classes. “The tenth and eleventh centuries witnessed a great jump forward in trade, agricultural techniques, the diffusion of crops, and an overall rise of agricultural productivity, in western Europe.” (Barendse 2003) The benefits of the feudal system is it was a large step in centralizing Europe’s population, by bringing the rural peasants together. “Hunter-gathers or smaller “tribal” peasant groups were increasingly pushed our of agrarian core lands.” (Barendse 2003) It was also beneficial when the lords concentrated their vassals for easier control and access. Due to the lords lack of economic vision they frequently put themselves in position where they have to sell land or raise taxes, in order to fund their extravagant lifestyles. “Lacking a long term economic vision, many lords neglected, split up and often sold or gave away their demesnes.” (Dumolyn June 2007) The conditions of the socioeconomic climate within Europe at the medieval time period created a very large dichotomy between the socioeconomic classes that still exists today in some countries.

So while this is system of government was not perfect it did allow large nations to be ruled effectively. Wither or not they were ruled justly or unjustly is another conversation but the lords had stability and control over their assigned lands. Feudalism did create several large socioeconomic classes that still exist. Although the populations became more centralized and the overall agricultural output went up under feudalism. It also produced the Magna Carta. So while Feudalism was not perfect and probably an unjust form of governance it was beneficial to the continued development of the society as a whole. It provided a hatred of tyrants that produced the government specifically designed to prevent tyrants from coming to power. So it was a beneficial and necessary step in the development of government.


Barendse, R. J. "The Feudal Mutation: Military and Economic Transformations of the Ethnosphere in the Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries." Journal of World History 14, no. 4 (December 2003): 503-529.

Bisson, Thomas N. "Medieval Lordship." Speculum (Medieval Academy of America) 70, no. 4 (October 1995): 743-759.

Dumolyn, Jan. "The Political and Symbolic Economy of State Feudalism: The Case of Late-Medieval Flanders." Historical Materialism 15, no. 2, June 2007: 105-131.

McGill, Sara Ann. "Survey of the Magna Carta." History Reference Center, September 2009: 1-2.

McGill, Sara Ann. "The Feudal System." History Refrence Center, September 2009: 1-2.

"The Injustice of Tenant Farming." Documents of the Assembly of the State of New-York, 67 Session, 1844, Vol. VII, No. 189.