The “Big Bang” of Pax Mongolica: The Political Legacy of Chinggis Khan– Empire, State or Mega-Tribe?
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The relation between man and the state has occupied deliberations of philosophers since at least Plato and Aristotle. Man has physical substance - the state does not. So any link poses an ontological dilemma. The state consists of claims to territory and its resources, a defined population, a government, and organized instruments to preserve order and provide security. It is a consciously constructed structure, in contrast to unorganized families, clans and tribes which preceded the state by thousands of years. How and why have states emerged in the past several millennia? How have families, clans and tribes assembled to form larger organizations as states? The evolution of the medieval Mongol state, as described in the Secret History of the Mongols, offers a condensed narrative of state formation. Why have humans, in contrast to other living organisms, formed states? Self-preservation is man’s foremost motivation. All men have a natural desire and right to life. Thomas Hobbes argued that to secure that right, men will surrender some of their individual freedom. Political order reduces violence and seeks balance between security and freedom. The growth of the modern Euro-American state has roughly and imperfectly followed a path of improving order, security and freedom. However, the same progress has been less evident in the non-West, except in a few countries where Western patterns were imposed or adapted. A wave of optimism occurred after the Cold War, but today global democratization has lost its aura of inevitability.
- 2015 REECAS NW