At the end of thirty years of religious war, in 1648, the first nation states were created in Europe, a system of secular sovereign states with recognized borders that today make up the membership of the United Nations.
However, in the age of globalization and the voluntary surrender of partial sovereignty of European nations to the EU, goodbye to 1648 and all that.
Seen in that light, our [Canadian] First Nations have opened the door to a post-Westphalian definition of nationhood.
That is the opinion of Doug Saunders who wrote in The Globe and Mail on Saturday, January 12, that our aboriginal people may attain autonomy through structures parallel to the provinces and Ottawa, run by indigenous peoples on land they legally own and control. After four centuries of ambiguity, this would allow these nations-within-nations to decide what they are.
That is certainly an infinitely more attractive prospect than the one proposed by Lewis Atiyyatullah, who claimed to represent the terrorist network Al Qaeda, and who declared that “the international system built up by the West since the Treaty of Westphalia will collapse, and a new international system will rise under the leadership of a mighty Islamic state.”