Sovereignty’s Perpetuity – Ricardo Blanco

The sovereign state system is more present today than in any other moment in history. Sovereign states have given way to the ability to create supranational, intergovernmental organizations, amongst others. Moreover, the creation of the sovereign state and the prevalence of such has given rise to many other fundamental institutions in international relations that would have been impossible if sovereign states would have not risen after the Peace of Westphalia. An example of this is the North Atlantic Treaty Association. The world still needs territorially delimited sovereign states.

The lack of these sovereign states will cause regional instability and will basically nullify most of the international legal institutions that have shaped our international arena for many years now. Krasner’s answer to the ceaseless question “Is sovereignty in decline or changing?” would be that no, sovereignty is not in decline, however, sovereignty is being changed by other organizations that over arch it. I would say that sovereignty is not in decline but the boundaries that we used to see as limiting mobility amongst states is fading, but will not disappear. For example, Commercial air travel has led us to travel the world eliminating any water or land divide.

State building in 17th century Europe was enacted for the benefit of a few people in the state rather than for a collective objective like today. Mercantilism rose in Europe at the benefit of the wealthy state and wealthy businessman behind the operations. Tilly argues in his article that the states created violence to benefit themselves (or in some cases, the lords and sovereign in power). In today’s contemporary international landscape, we can see various states where this is still prevalent, however, most of those states are also pinned as corrupt. In today’s world, national identity, democracy and traditions have shifted governments of sovereign states to focus on the will of the population rather than on their own. Social media and globalization have helped keep the sovereign state system in check. Nonetheless, there is still tyrants and other national leaders that have taken it upon themselves to create and maintain a sovereign state for their own purpose; those who use coercive tactics on their own population to keep them “under control”. These actors are the ones that greatly resemble the actors who control sovereign states in the 17th century.      

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One thought on “Sovereignty’s Perpetuity – Ricardo Blanco”

  1. Good afternoon! As I was reading your blog, I noticed that we share the same point of view on the sovereignty of states today. As well, I agree that the sovereign states system is not declining, but it is evolving at the same pace that states are changing. However, I must address the fact that Krasner explained that the Treaty of Westphalia did not produce the modern sovereign state but it did impact other important events, such as the religious tolerance in Germany and the weakening of princes’ power over their territories. On the other hand, I concur that sovereignty today is influenced by international organizations; however, I must disagree that it is not changing its power, but increasing just and equal opportunities to all states to prevent an overachieving state to be more powerful that the rest. As an example, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations is not controlling or changing how a country treats its citizen, but rather it is bettering the rights of humans as a whole regardless of where they are around the world. Moreover, I really enjoyed reading your comparison from how states were in the seventeenth century and today. I agree that today states have a collective objective rather than an individual agenda. However, I also think that, as Tilly said, states will continue doing what satisfies them and its people’s interest. In other words, I believe that even if states have a collective objective, there will always be a selfish reasoning behind every action and decision a country and its allies take. Lastly, I would like to include the importance of the “CNN effect” that Krasner suggests that it impacts global media on political authority. I think that, as you mentioned, social media plays a huge role in today’s sovereign state system. I would like to add that I strongly think that today’s generation is more open to understanding the freedom of speech and respecting others’ ideas which leads to how media impacts political decisions in states all over the world. I believe that people today, in comparison to people in the 1800s and early 1900s, are more educated and certainly have more technological advances than before, which facilitates communication between multiple parties. As a result, political authors are heavily influenced by media to comply with what the people want to prevent altercations with its people, its allies and international organizations.

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