In today's increasingly interconnected world, weak and failed states pose an acute risk to U.S. and global security. Indeed, they present one of the most important foreign policy challenges of the contemporary era. States are most vulnerable to collapse in the time immediately before, during, and after conflict. When chaos prevails, terrorism, narcotics trade, weapons proliferation, and other forms of organized crime can flourish. Left in dire straits, subject to depredation, and denied access to basic services, people become susceptible to the exhortations of demagogues and hatemongers.
Al Qaeda toppled the Twin Towers, though it failed to shake the foundations of the international system. But imagine if terrorists set off, say, three nuclear explosionsone in Washington, D.C., one in New Delhi, and one in Berlinover a period of six months, followed by another blast in Los Angeles nine months later. Total deaths would number at least in the hundreds of thousands and possibly in the millions. Large parts of four major cities would be uninhabitable for many months, maybe longer. But peoples lives and livelihoods would not be all that is lost in such a nightmarish scenario.
Ideally, a body of law comprises a set of coherent and consistent rules. These rules contribute to the creation of an environment that is predictable, efficacious, and just. Most international lawyers hope, expect, or believe that such a body of a law can exist for international system. This is a fool's errand.
Bad governance in weak states threatens not only the well being of citizens within these states but also the material interests of more powerful countries. The policy instruments currently available to repair deteriorated or collapsed domestic authority structures are inadequate for both failed and failing states and those that have been militarily occupied. The problems generated by inadequate governance cannot be adequately addressed within the confines of conventional sovereignty which stipulates that all states should enjoy both autonomy and international recognition.
Conventional sovereignty assumes a world of autonomous, internationally recognized, and well- governed states. Although frequently violated in practice, the fundamental rules of conventional sovereigntyrecognition of juridically independent territorial entities and nonintervention in the internal affairs of other stateshave rarely been challenged in principle. But these rules no longer work, and their inadequacies have had deleterious consequences for the strong as well as the weak.
After the devastation of World War II, Germany and Japan built national capitalist institutions that were remarkably successful in terms of national reconstruction and international competitiveness. Yet both "miracles" have since faltered, allowing U.S. capital and its institutional forms to establish global dominance. National varieties of capitalism are now under intense pressure to converge to the U.S. model.
Over the course of the last century, political scientists have been moved by two principal purposes. First, they have sought to understand and explain political phenomena in a way that is both theoretically and empirically grounded. Second, they have analyzed matters of enduring public interest, whether in terms of public policy and political action, fidelity between principle and practice in the organization and conduct of government, or the conditions of freedom, whether of citizens or of states.
Since Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes, political theorists have depicted the state as "sovereign" because it holds preeminent authority over all the denizens belonging to its geographically defined territory. From the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 until the beginning of World War I in 1914, the essential responsiblities ascribcd to the sovereign state were maintaining internal and external security and promoting domestic prosperity.
The basic argument of this article is that the globalization perspective in all of its variations (and there are many) exaggerates the amount of change in the contemporary global system. States are for the most part exactly what they have always been, the most important actors in the modern international system -- which is not to argue that they are now, or have ever been, immune to influence from other actors or that they have ever been able to fully control economic or other kinds of transactions.
Universal jurisdiction, the new International Criminal Court, and demands for humanitarian intervention, are three of the most prominent manifestations of the new international idealism. Those who support these institutions and policies tend to believe that justice is best achieved when it is removed and isolated from politics and power. The new international idealism suffers from four fundamental flaws, however. First, it presupposes the possibility of general consensus not just on normative principles but on how and when they should be applied.
The Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War in 1648, is generally understood as a critical moment in the development of the modern international system composed of sovereign states each with exclusive authority within its own geographic boundaries. The Westphalian sovereign state model, based on the principles of autonomy, territory, mutual recognition and control, offers a simple, arresting, and elegant image. It orders the minds of policymakers. It is an analytic assumption for neo-realism and neo-liberal institutionalism.
Some of the most pressing issues in the contemporary international order revolve around a frequently invoked but highly contested concept: sovereignty. To what extent does the concept of sovereignty - as it plays out in institutional arrangements, rules, and principles - inhibit the solution of these issues? Can the rules of sovereignty be bent? Can they be ignored? Do they represent an insurmountable barrier to stable solutions or can alternative arrangements be created?
Some of the most pressing issues in the contemporary international order revolve around a frequently invoked but highly contested concept: sovereignty. To what extent does the concept of sovereignty -as it plays out in institutional arrangements, rules, and principles -inhibit the solution of these issues? Can the rules of sovereignty be bent? Can they be ignored? Do they represent an insurmountable barrier to stable solutions or can alternative arrangements be created?
Every international system or society has a set of rules or norms that define appropriate behaviors. These norms are, however, never obeyed in an automatic fashion. Perhaps more than any other setting the international environment is characterized by organized hypocrisy. Actors violate rules in practice without at the same time challenging their legitimacy. In nineteenth-century East Asia this was true for countries embracing the European sovereign state system of formal equality and autonomy, and the Sinocentric Confucian system of hierarchy and dependency.
Over the several hundred years during which the rules of sovereignty including non-intervention and the exclusion of external authority have been widely understood, state control could never be taken for granted. States could never isolate themselves from the external environment. Globalization and intrusive international norms are old, not new, phenomena. Some aspects of the contemporary environment are uniquethe number of transnational nongovernmental organizations has grown dramatically, international organizations are more prominent; cyber crime could not exist without cyber space.
Alexander Wendt has drawn on an exceptional range of theoretical literature in his effort to reconceptualize the nature of the international system. His discussion of scientific realism ought to be required reading for any student of international relations, or political science for that matter. He puts to rest the notion that constructivism is necessarily postmodern, devoid of an objective referent. In John Searle's felicitous formulation it is possible to have a subjective ontology but an objective epistemology.
Globalization and the role of the state are issues at the forefront of contemporary debates. With editors and contributors of outstanding academic repututation this exciting new book presents an unconventional and radical perspective. Revealing that states do still matter despite the vigour of international capital flows and the omnipresence of the global market, the chapters in this collection controversially highlight that how states matter depends upon their differing roles in the global economy and geopolitical system.
The acceptance of human rights and minority rights, the increasing role of international financial institutions, and globalization have led many observers to question the continued viability of the sovereign state. Here a leading expert challenges this conclusion. Stephen Krasner contends that states have never been as sovereign as some have supposed. Throughout history, rulers have been motivated by a desire to stay in power, not by some abstract adherence to international principles.
The wave of ethnic conflict that has recently swept across parts of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Africa has led many political observers to fear that these conflicts are contagious. Initial outbreaks in such places as Bosnia, Chechnya, and Rwanda, if not contained, appear capable of setting off epidemics of catastrophic proportions. In this volume, David Lake and Donald Rothchild have organized an ambitious, sophisticated exploration of both the origins and spread of ethnic conflict, one that will be useful to policymakers and theorists alike.
In 1992, a year before his death, Yasusuke Murakami published in Japanese An Anti-Classical Political-Economic Analysis: A Vision for the Next Century (English translation, Stanford, 1996). A work that distilled decades of research and thought by a distinguished economic theorist turned social scientist and philosopher, it sold more than 25,000 copies in Japan despite its highly scholarly nature.
This book brings together leading figures who have made key contributions to the development of international theory to provide a major survey of the state of the subject. The contributors analyze the traditional theoretical approaches in the discipline, the issues and groups that are marginalized by mainstream theory, and important new developments in international theory. The book concludes with five chapters that look at the future of the subject. This volume will be a valuable text for both students and scholars of international relations.