You said that Kofi Annan and the UN have called for a new definition of sovereignty and set up organizations for that purpose. Do you have some links to share on the subject? I'm aware that elitist groups have long sought to replace our Constitution, eliminate our borders, and replace the current U.N. with one even more fearful, etc. but I haven't heard of a new definition of sovereignty. Every scheme of this wretched cabal is bad news for America.
Here's a former US diplomat, Edward Marks,
Summing up in the words of the secretary general of the UN, state sovereignty is no longer the absolute be-all and end-all of the international system. This thought, explicitly introduced by the secretary general to the 1999 Session of UN General Assembly, has opened a debate on the character of the international political environment.
The secretary general's comment reflects the recent evolution in international law with respect to intervention and the rights and privileges of nation states. One major component of international law is customary law, based on what governments and officials actually do over a period of time and more or less accepted by consensus and practice. The other major component consists of treaties and other agreements, including the Charter of the United Nations. In both of these areas we have in the last decade changed the way in which we regard international law in general and the role of the UN Charter in particular.
Prior to the UN Charter, international law focused on state practice within which war was lawful as state-to- state practice. States were sovereign in law as well as practice. The UN Charter modified that situation, at least with respect to law, by proposing restrictions to the use of war and force, that is, in self-defense or when authorized by Chapter 7. In practice, unfortunately, the Charter prohibitions did not significantly inhibit actual practice by states in the use of force, with the dynamics of the Cold War effectively precluding the use of Chapter 7 by the world community. Except for the Congo operation in the 1960's, the UN until I990 engaged only in Chapter 6 operationswhat has become known as traditional peacekeeping -- in which multinational forces may use force only in self-defense.
What has happened to the nation state in this new system? First it has become less aggressive. Indeed the new system is possible only because the imperial urge seems to have died in European states. It is striking that the developed world as a whole is neglecting the many fine opportunities for imperialism which are open to it, eg in Africa or in the Balkans. It may be that European states have come to understand that the costs of war or colonies far exceed any possible benefits. Wealth and power today depend not on the acreage of land owned but on skills, capital and technology.
Second, states have become more open. Especially in Europe the distinction between external and internal affairs is increasingly hard to sustain. International treaties permit challenge inspection not only of armies but also of prisons (Council of Europe Convention on Torture), abattoirs, and beaches. European negotiating processes determine the price of agricultural products, the amount of fish that can be caught and the way animals are looked after in zoos.
Thirdly in a world of growing individualism there is growing sympathy for other individuals. International news media can make events in distant lands dramatic and immediate. Against this background the morality of Machiavelli is no longer sustainable. Governments have to follow the concerns of voters. Most people do not want to belong to states which behave according to raison détat, disregarding moral issues. Governments are obliged to take account of issues such as human rights and environmental damage.
Fourthly the network of international agreements to which almost all states subscribe has radically limited their freedom of action. Admittedly it would be possible to tear up all treaties and to refuse to operate international agreements; but no state could gain by this. The cumulative effect of international agreements and of the written and unwritten rules of the international system is to limit the freedom of action of the individual state very considerably. The image of Gulliver bound by the thousand silken threads of the Lilliputians (which was often applied to Germany) could be applied to Leviathan.
What, in this situation, is the meaning of sovereignty? If sovereignty is defined as a states monopoly on law and force within its own territory, then it exists today only in an attenuated form. The monopoly on law has been weakened by every international treaty obligation. In particular for European countries the monopoly has been broken by the creation of an alternative source of law in the collective law making capacities of the European institutions. The monopoly on force is circumscribed in a number of ways: by alliance obligations, by arms control treaties, by international institutions such as the UN, and in some special cases by the (contested) right of humanitarian intervention.
As we approach the end of the 21st century a new definition of sovereignty is needed. If sovereignty no longer means the monopoly on law and force what then does it mean? Probably it is best defined today as the right to cooperate, the right to reach international agreements, the right to a seat at the table.