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Sovereignty Is Of Declining Significance In International Relations

1921 words - 8 pages

Carl Schmitt once stated, “The protego ergo oblige” (n.d); meaning I protect therefore I oblige. This is the basis of a key aspect of International Relations: Sovereignty. Theoretically, it can be defined as the supreme power or authority. Sovereignty as a concept plays a critical role in maintaining international order however has been interpreted in several different ways; its context in theory and in reality. In order to appreciate Sovereignty, defining the term ‘state’ is essential. A state is essentially a structured political society, existing under a government. Consequently, State Sovereignty is a state with a definite territory and a government where domestic and international sovereignty is practised permitting the associations with other sovereign states. This may be divided into the two categories of State Sovereignty: Domestic Sovereignty and International Sovereignty. The former, otherwise referred to as Internal Sovereignty, deals with the internal affairs of a state, focusing on how it functions and the relationship of dependency between the sovereign power and its own citizens. Every state has political institutions acknowledged by the citizens essentially: The Executive, Judiciary and Legislature that solely concentrate on governing the state, making laws and protecting its citizens from external harm. The latter argues that states acknowledge the existence of other states through diplomatic relations while emphasising that no state has higher authority than the other due to anarchy. This is absence of a supreme international power. Derived from The Westphalian model in 1648, the European rulers agreed to halt intrusion in one another’s domestic affairs after a 30-year war. International Sovereignty asserts that all states regardless of their economic, military or political power are all legally equal when signing treaties or joining international organizations.
Like any other concept, Sovereignty is heavily challenged especially with the emergence of Liberalism where cooperation amongst states is greatly encouraged and organizations such as Multinational corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are recognized as key actors in International Relations. We are in an era of an extraordinary level of interaction between states. Has this trend made Sovereignty obsolete or is Sovereignty still a primary concept to global order? This essay will critically analyze the factors in modern society that argue for and against the suggestion that Sovereignty is of declining significance in International Relations while using relevant examples.
Globalization is alleged to be the root cause for the decline of sovereignty given that states lose control over the movement of people, goods, pollutants, currencies as well as ideas through relations with other states. By definition, Globalization is the on-going process of interaction and integration of social, economic and cultural systems around the globe and is facilitated by...

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