The Citadel State
As the world becomes more insecure, European states retreat, but expect others to watch their backs. Citizens in those rich states often demand diplomats and soldiers to stand guard, but refuse to be watchful and responsible themselves. Instead of erecting such empty fortress, this book argues, the state must turn itself into a citadel: a citadel of power, virtue, and dignity.
This classical notion of statecraft should urgently replace the prevalent paltry pretences of statecraft, which cover up our weakness rather than solving it. True statecraft works inside-out. When dignity and virtue are engrained in the minds of citizens, the state prospers through creativity, civic duty, perseverance, and pioneering. That prosperity is the condition for all other forms of power.
This book calls for balance: in the first place between realism and ideals. It is both a conceptual and practical guide. It explains why the state matters, how servants of the state can circumvent pitfalls, and how a citadel state can be built: through civic education, good governance, care for nature, sound economics, as well as external policy.
“It is sometimes said that statecraft is the art of the possible. But how can the possible be art? Art overcomes the limitations of the possible. You cannot overcome the possible without ideals.”