When it comes to the legitimized use of violence the nation-state isn’t the only game in town anymore.
Look at what’s happening in the Middle East.
Israel is waging war not against another state, but against Hezbollah, which is essentially a street gang on steroids.
Yet rather than being isolated as an outlaw aberration, Hezbollah enjoys the support of large parts of the world community and the international media.
In other words, Hezbollah – a non-state actor – is getting the stamp of approval when it comes to using violence to achieve its aims.
And you don’t have to go thousands of miles away to see this happening.
In Ontario, there has been an illegal native protest going on for about five months.
Militant natives have blatantly defied the law and occupied land in Caledonia to press their land claims.
And for months the police and the federal and provincial governments have done nothing to uphold the law.
They are letting the militants get away with it.
Because they are afraid of violence.
Now I am not suggesting the government is wrong to avoid violence.
But clearly the message coming out of the Caledonia stand-off is that the government is implicitly admitting that the Mohawk Warriors – a non-state actor – have the right to use violence to achieve their aims.
So what does all this mean for the future?
It means the nation-state is in for some competition.