Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace”

An Excerpt:

1. “No Treaty of Peace Shall Be Held Valid in Which There Is Tacitly Reserved Matter for a Future War”

Otherwise a treaty would be only a truce, a suspension of hostilities but not peace, which means the end of all hostilities–so much so that even to attach the word “perpetual” to it is a dubious pleonasm. The causes for making future wars (which are perhaps unknown to the contracting parties) are without exception annihilated by the treaty of peace, even if they should be dug out of dusty documents by acute sleuthing. When one or both parties to a treaty of peace, being too exhausted to continue warring with each other, make a tacit reservation (reservatio mentalis) in regard to old claims to be elaborated only at some more favorable opportunity in the future, the treaty is made in bad faith, and we have an artifice worthy of the casuistry of a Jesuit. Considered by itself, it is beneath the dignity of a sovereign, just as the readiness to indulge in this kind of reasoning is unworthy of the dignity of his minister.

Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace”

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