Skip to comments.State sovereignty must be altered in globalized era (***BARF ALERT!!!***)
Posted on 02/28/2006 2:48:21 PM PST by Willie Green
For education and discussion only. Not for commercial use.
For 350 years, sovereignty -- the notion that states are the central actors on the world stage and that governments are essentially free to do what they want within their own territory but not within the territory of other states -- has provided the organizing principle of international relations. The time has come to rethink this notion.
The world's 190-plus states now co-exist with a larger number of powerful non-sovereign and at least partly (and often largely) independent actors, ranging from corporations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), from terrorist groups to drug cartels, from regional and global institutions to banks and private equity funds. The sovereign state is influenced by them (for better and for worse) as much as it is able to influence them. The near monopoly of power once enjoyed by sovereign entities is being eroded.
As a result, new mechanisms are needed for regional and global governance that include actors other than states. This is not to argue that Microsoft, Amnesty International, or Goldman Sachs be given seats in the UN General Assembly, but it does mean including representatives of such organizations in regional and global deliberations when they have the capacity to affect whether and how regional and global challenges are met.
Less is more
Moreover, states must be prepared to cede some sovereignty to world bodies if the international system is to function. This is already taking place in the trade realm. Governments agree to accept the rulings of the WTO because on balance they benefit from an international trading order even if a particular decision requires that they alter a practice that is their sovereign right to carry out.
Some governments are prepared to give up elements of sovereignty to address the threat of global climate change. Under one such arrangement, the Kyoto Protocol, which runs through 2012, signatories agree to cap specific emissions. What is needed now is a successor arrangement in which a larger number of governments, including the US, China, and India, accept emissions limits or adopt common standards because they recognize that they would be worse off if no country did.
All of this suggests that sovereignty must be redefined if states are to cope with globalization. At its core, globalization entails the increasing volume, velocity, and importance of flows -- within and across borders -- of people, ideas, greenhouse gases, goods, dollars, drugs, viruses, e-mails, weapons and a good deal else, challenging one of sovereignty's fundamental principles: the ability to control what crosses borders in either direction. Sovereign states increasingly measure their vulnerability not to one another, but to forces beyond their control.
Globalization thus implies that sovereignty is not only becoming weaker in reality, but that it needs to become weaker. States would be wise to weaken sovereignty in order to protect themselves, because they cannot insulate themselves from what goes on elsewhere. Sovereignty is no longer a sanctuary.
This was demonstrated by the American and world reaction to terrorism. Afghanistan's Taliban government, which provided access and support to al-Qaeda, was removed from power. Similarly, the US' preventive war against an Iraq that ignored the UN and was thought to possess weapons of mass destruction showed that sovereignty no longer provides absolute protection.
Imagine how the world would react if some government were known to be planning to use or transfer a nuclear device or had already done so. Many would argue -- correctly -- that sovereignty provides no protection for that state.
Necessity may also lead to reducing or even eliminating sovereignty when a government, whether from a lack of capacity or conscious policy, is unable to provide for the basic needs of its citizens. This reflects not simply scruples, but a view that state failure and genocide can lead to destabilizing refugee flows and create openings for terrorists to take root.
The NATO intervention in Kosovo was an example where a number of governments chose to violate the sovereignty of another government (Serbia) to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide. By contrast, the mass killing in Rwanda a decade ago and now in Darfur, Sudan, demonstrate the high price of judging sovereignty to be supreme and thus doing little to prevent the slaughter of innocents.
Our notion of sovereignty must therefore be conditional, even contractual, rather than absolute. If a state fails to live up to its side of the bargain by sponsoring terrorism, either transferring or using weapons of mass destruction, or conducting genocide, then it forfeits the normal benefits of sovereignty and opens itself up to attack, removal or occupation.
The diplomatic challenge for this era is to gain widespread support for principles of state conduct and a procedure for determining remedies when these principles are violated.
The goal should be to redefine sovereignty for the era of globalization, to find a balance between a world of fully sovereign states and an international system of either world government or anarchy.
The basic idea of sovereignty, which still provides a useful constraint on violence between states, needs to be preserved. But the concept needs to be adapted to a world in which the main challenges to order come from what global forces do to states and what governments do to their citizens rather than from what states do to one another.
Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of The Opportunity: America's Moment to Alter History's Course.
"In the age of globalization, states should give up some sovereignty to world bodies in order to protect their own interests"
"If you are unhappy with your nose, you should cut it off."
Ignored the UN? That's not how I remember it.
And when did sovereignty ever provide "absolute protection"?
Never mind. It was Iraq that ignored the UN, not the United States.
Amnesty International is in a different and more evil class but the other two are just big businesses whose main concern is making profits. A lot of good can come from profits but they are basically amoral. Drug dealers are about profits too. I don't remember if Goldman Sach's was one of them but as I recall several investment banking firms were indicted for bad acting related to Enron, MCI, Tyco and others.
As a result of their vast wealth they already have more power than they should and I am far more interested in seeing their profit making activities regulated to avoid excess and evil then I am in giving them any additional say in how the world is run.
EVERYTHING Presidente Boosh does is for globalization. He has betrayed every man, woman, and child in America! Our middle class is racing to the bottom, and will be there before he leaves office. We've got around 3 years left for him to completely destroy America. We are so doomed, it's really pathetic!!
(Richard Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations....)
I'm not surprised in the least that this bilge would come from the CFR. Bunch of New World Order freaks. - OB1
Why the barf alert? The premise of the article makes sense. There are now groups and even individuals who have enormous power, al-Qaeda being only one such group. The communists, the environmentalists, the Islamofascists, and many others are essentially acting as ideologically focused global entities. You could throw in the corporations, too. My concern isn't globalization, which seems to be a phenomenon that's been ongoing at least since Christ said he was here to preach to all the nations. My concern is protection of individual liberty and freedom, which can still occur in a global system, conceiveably. (Not in any of the global systems now in use, though, including the elite "Davos Culture"... in fact, I can easily see the NEXT war after the Islamofascists becoming the world against the multinational elites.) Just my two cents.
My, what a cute little Rockefeller socialist. Here, take this grenade and go play in the traffic. Let me pull that pin for you.
The above reads like a parody of itself.
Haven't I heard this somewhere before? ... Oh ... yeah ... now I remember ... I read this in the Koran. There's nothing new or enlightened about the world view of Fascism.
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