Written by leading scholars, this volume challenges the recent trend in international relations scholarship the common antipathy to sovereignty. The conservatism of national interests: the logical priority of domestic politicsThe conventional understanding of national interest is that it flows from the survival imperative that is intrinsic in the anarchical structure of international relations. In all, it presents us with a constrained form of international politics in which the unaccountable exercise of power is coupled with the suppression of political conflict in the name of ethical responsibility. Yet constructivism ends by reifying sovereignty, and by transforming it into a legal arrangement extended to states on the basis of international agreement rather than something that is actively won. Second, it demonstrates that those who deny the relevance of sovereignty have failed to offer superior alternatives to the sovereign state. This means interrogating its claims to be strengthening sovereignty and promulgating humanistic political responsibilities.
But the problem is not exclusive to Linklater. This volume is a powerful challenge to current theory in international relations and requires all of us to think deeper about the virtues and necessity of global political change. Both of these reflectivist schools of thought have established themselves by offering critiques of state sovereignty. Indeed, it is this that troubles Chesterman about the new interventionism. Politics Without Sovereignty will be of great interest to students and scholars of political science, international relations, security studies, international law, development and European studies. In Linklaters words communities will not survive unless their members are prepared to define their interests in the light of a more general good. We aim to deepen our theoretical investigation of the unholy alliance against sovereignty identified in the Introduction by isolating a particular strand of international theory for special attention, namely reflectivism.
Humanitarian Intervention and International Law, New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. One of the many strengths of this collection is that most of the authors represented here have a strong sense of the political and of the centrality of issues of agency they can see what the question is, even if they disagree sometimes over the answer. Prominent public figures feel obliged to take a stand on sovereignty. If agency is still exercised in all those repressive, divisive ways, with the shift from government to governance, we have lost the ability to formulate a general will that can bend the institutions of public power to sovereign ends. Rather, it is that in capitalist societies based on relations between contracting individuals, sovereignty is the form that collective activity for public purposes takes.
He has practiced law with various international institutions, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Commission of the European Union. The more you want to boost international cooperation, the more you find yourself respecting the egotism of the sovereign state. Drift as masteryHaving rejected the self-determining sovereign state pursuing its interests as their favoured model, constructivists and post-structuralists are logically forced to rediscover some measure of open ended agency elsewhere. In post-structuralist literature, sovereignty is paradoxically recognized as a product of modernity without, however, being able to endow its existence with any necessity. Walker provides another example of the reliance on globalization as the flipside of contingency: The most trenchant reminder that ours is an age of speed and temporal accelerations has been the simultaneous dissolution of Cold War geopolitics and the rapid entrenchment of a globally organised capitalism;62 and the experience of temporality, of speed, velocity and acceleration, is more and more bewildering. Albright, Opening Remarks to Press Conference on release of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 25 February 2000. Halliday, Rethinking International Relations, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 1994, p.
The fact that military intervention in the South meets with less resistance reflects the ebb of Third World nationalism, and the expansion of Western power in the absence of any countervailing Soviet power. Without sovereignty, there is little left that stands in opposition to all that is merely mechanical or spontaneous in social development. Keeping a view of the logical priority of domestic politics helps us answer the earlier question: why do American national interests seem to be so difficult to specify? The creation of semi-autonomous entities offers a way of sidestepping the problems that arise from bitter struggles to resolve competing claims to supreme political authority over a given territory an argument he has pressed with even greater force in more recent writings on shared sovereignty. At the very least, it is up to the alternatives to sovereignty to demonstrate how they better keep sight of the way society is, or at least can be, the product of human will and agency. So, for example, if agency is not able to exist in some sense outside of intersubjectivity, then what is to prevent a destructive process from continuing spontaneously to accumulate momentum? Consider the stylized argument that Westphalian sovereignty, defined by Krasner as the exclusion of external actors from domestic authority,43 is being gnawed away by globalization.
What is worse, the wars fought between sovereigns are vastly more destructive than any conflict among individuals in the state of nature, outside of society. As the editors remark p. If anything, it seems that it is the politics of the domestic realm that is afflicted by recurrence and repetition while it is the global realm that appears open to new possibilities. The range of subjects covered defies easy summary, and no party line emerges though the volume. Country Ownership: The Evasion of Donor Accountability 7. If we are to judge the alternatives to sovereignty according to their ability to provide a superior form of politics, we must understand what kind of political form sovereignty is, and how it is related to modern society.
At Columbia University, we would like to thank the following institutions for their generous funding: the Political Science Department, Columbia University Political Science Students Association; Columbia University Presidential Initiative Fund; the Council for European Studies; the Institute for the Study of Europe, and the Center on Global Legal Problems. Thus, Wendt points out that there is no such thing as agency independent of socialization; anarchy cannot presuppose actors that somehow exist prior to the system. We shall, indeed, argue that, at present, what we find is the opposite. The sovereign people cannot measure the extent of their rule if the no trespassing sign is uprooted. Yet instead of emerging with the full force of logic from the structure of reflectivist arguments themselves, the suggestion of dynamism in the new theories emanates more from their earnest and effusive rhetoric accomplishment, fabrication, orchestration.
Both of these theories claim that changing our understanding of international affairs is crucial to opening up new political possibilities. Yet his final words are that this is a decision which we for the moment seem unfit to make. This disenchantment is at once the precondition for the articulation of global civil society, while also throwing up intrinsic barriers to the realization of its own political goals. Not according to the Report: The defence of state sovereignty, by even its strongest supporters, does not include any claim of the unlimited power of a state to do what it wants to its own people. But it is an elite artefact, not a social artefact, as it is arbitrarily redefined apart from mass politics.
It was at this moment that the American state dramatically reorganized itself around international affairs. In recent decades many in the West appear to have lost faith in the principle of sovereignty. National Insecurities: The New Politics of the American National Interest Alexander Gourevitch 4. The editors are skeptical of the idea that the withering away of the state would usher in a utopia of cosmopolitan politics. Though they draw attention to the need to understand sovereignty contextually, they are unable to translate these insights into a distinct, post-sovereign theory of politics.