From Steve Asher@3:800/432 to All on Fri Mar 31 23:33:07 2006
State sovereignty must be altered in globalized era
In the age of globalization, states should give up some sovereignty
to world bodies in order to protect their own interests
By Richard Haass
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.
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.
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.
Copyright: Project Syndicate
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