ISBN 10: 0-914386-29-8
ISBN 13: 978-0-914386-29-2
ISBN 10: 0-914386-30-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-914386-30-8
The Nomos of the Earth is Carl Schmitt s most historical and geopolitical book. 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, analyzes the reasons for its decline at the end of the 19th century, and concludes with prospects for a new world order. It is a reasoned, yet passionate argument in defense of the European achievement, 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. Since the problematic of a new nomos of the earth has become even more critical with the onset of the postmodern age and postmodern war, Schmitt s text is even more timely and challenging.
Remarkable in Schmitt s discussion of the European epoch of world history is the role played by the New World, whose discovery initiated the rise of the first truly global world order and ultimately replaced the Old World as the center of the earth. Thus, this book has as much to do with the rise of the United States to world power as with the decline of Europe: the two phenomena paralleled each other. In the 16th century, it was England that dared to take the leap from a terrestrial to a maritime existence, and then launched the industrial revolution, in the course of which the earth was newly conceived and measured. But ultimately, the United States (the greater island, as Schmitt calls it) assumed the role of arbiter in European and world politics. According to Schmitt, America s internal conflicts between economic presence and political absence, between isolationism and interventionism, became global problems, which today continue to hamper the creation of a new world order. But however critical Schmitt is of American actions at the turn of the 19th century and after World War I, he clearly was in awe of the United States and considered it to be the only political entity capable of resolving the crisis of global order.