One interpretation of events in Bosnia-Herzegovina is that over recent weeks we have been receiving direct satellite images from Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature.” The accompanying commentary has been mainly outrage and lamentation, punctuated by demands that something be
done, by some outside agency, to remove the continual fear and the danger of violent death—to restore what, in those conditions, people are no longer so shy about calling “civilization” or “Western standards.”
This view was endorsed recently by Michael Ignatieff in a New York Review of Books article, “The Balkan Tragedy,” where he depicts “the whole region… turned from a model of interethnic peace into a nightmare from the pages of Thomas Hobbes…By 1990 post-Titoist Yugoslavia had become a Hobbesian world, a state of nature in which the means of violence were too widely distributed to afford anyone safety, especially those who found themselves a minority in the successor republics.” (May 13th 1993)...
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