Are we living in Semi-Sovereignty?- Kate Cornman

Globalization cannot stop. State interdependency cannot stop. This dirties up the lines of autonomy but underneath the mud, nation states continue to exist but with a broader regional and global community. Decisions are made through centralized independent, governments, which control their own laws, govern their own people, as well as protect their constituents. Just as Krasner describes, “One states does not have a right to intervene in the internal affairs of another,” one state cannot govern another. But with the rise of international organizations that take on power that can override a states decision, it is no longer borderlines and a constitution that defines a nation-state.

Stephen Krasner author Sovereignty states, “sovereignty is not dead,” but rather it is evolving to meet the needs of the new millennium. In 17th Century Europe, the creation of autonomous, independent states to govern citizens, protect, and provide economic support was in high demand. These needs were met through the means of war, which helped create borderlines and divisions amongst people. The new millennium brings new needs such as global community unification, security and protection, and easy access across boarders. These needs are being met through international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and multi-national corporations.

Many critics of globalization’s impact on sovereignty have not quite examined the role of sovereignty. Although many see the definition of sovereignty as stagnate and not changing, it is the role of sovereign states to define and manipulate how the sovereignty of the state can achieve greater goals. Technologies have made it easier, not harder, for states to manage the flow of goods and services as Krasner describes. States are in the position to decide how their sovereignty should be founded rather than sovereignty guiding the state. As Krasner describes, globalization just changes the scope of state control.

Let’s examine the EU. This is not a singular entity but a governing body comprised of several other supranational institutions designed to deal with different issues with member states. The member states for each committee, for example the European Council of Ministers, have the option to join or to not be involved with different institutions to solve the transnational problem of efficiency. This voluntary option clearly accentuates the evolution of sovereignty. Sovereign states choose to coexist by building a stronger institution to deal with the goals and concerns of the new millennium. This is new evolved sovereignty.

Just as Krasner described, “sovereignty is not dead.” Nation-States will not disappear, they will continue to guide their own political processes and govern their constituents. However, the intervention of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and multinational corporations will become increasingly noticeable in the next 35 years.

We are told from Charles Tilly that, “War makes states.” Well now, war doesn’t just make or destroy states, international organizations have the power to intervene if a state is not doing its part in rightfully governing their citizens. The 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo, which forced Serbia to give up control of the restive province after years of abusive rule, is one model that could be continued in the future.

What has changed in Europe since the 1600s? A sense of community, a feeling of security so if you fall down there is 10 hands keeping you from truly falling. Not only in Europe is there a need for unity but also rather continents and the global community are more interested in interdependency among sovereign states. Yes, state building continues to be maintained by war and territory intervention, but now there are more voices speaking up deciding if that serves the interest of the global community.


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