The global terrorist threat is part of the risk society and blurs the distinction between internal and external security. Ulrich Beck concludes that in order to be able to deal with their national problems, today's states have to de-nationalize and transnationalize themselves. Terrorism operating on a global scale has opened a new chapter in world risk society. A clear distinction must be made between the attack itself and the terrorist threat that becomes universal as a result.
The global terrorist threat inaugurates a new era of transnational and multilateral cooperation. It does not lead to a renaissance of the nation state, but to the discovery and development of what the author calls "cooperative transnational states." The national viewpoint becomes an impediment to the transnational invention of the political and of statehood in the age of globalization. This is now being learned and spelled out by way of the suddenly emergent geopolitical questions of an "inner security" without borders of former nation states and can be transferred to questions of threatening climate change, global poverty and Human Rights.
The author founds the concept of cosmopolitan state on the national indifference of the state. Just as the religious civil wars of the seventeenth century were ended at the Peace of Westphalia by the separation of state and religion, the author argues that so could the national world (civil) wars of the twentieth century be answered by a separation of state and nation. Just as it is only the areligious state that makes the practice of various religions possible in the first place, so cosmopolitan states would have to guarantee the coexistence of national and religious identities through the principle of constitutional tolerance.