This new doctrine holds that state sovereignty cannot be restricted to inviolable legal authority. However vociferous the Southern opposition to so-called rights of intervention, the fact remains that Southern states political strength is severely diminished in the post-Cold War era. Country Ownership: The Evasion of Donor Accountability 7. Rebels without a cause: losing grasp of historical changeThe stress on contingency indicates a deeper lack of reflexivity on the part of the new reflectivist theories. The withdrawal of the international community from Somalia was a way of telling the people and their militia leaders that they were responsible for the sovereignty that they were so sensitive about.
While the debates around these definitional issues are not unimportant, we can bracket them for the sake of the analysis in this chapter. Sovereignty and the Politics of Responsibility 3. Critics of sovereignty are of course right to say that politics pushes up against the limitations of the sovereign state. Theorizing agency after the Cold WarMuch of the thrust of reflectivist theorizing emerged as an attempt to inject conceptions of agency, contingency and historical context into a discipline dominated by the arid structuralism of Kenneth Waltzs seminal 1979 work The Theory of International Politics. It must be rethought so that we can deal with the realities of our world in a more appropriate way, or even to realize new possibilities on a global scale. Krasner, The Case for Shared Sovereignty, Journal of Democracy 16:1, 2005, p. Tom Paine observed that the wars fought between absolutist states in late-seventeenth-century Europe buttressed the ancien rgime in its rule at home.
Keeping a view of the logical priority of domestic politics helps us answer the earlier question: why do American national interests seem to be so difficult to specify? But a mirror reflecting a mirror is reflecting nothing; no matter how long they face each other, no image will spontaneously emerge. This article begins by repudiating precisely those liberal approaches that constructivism set out to revive. This incoherence becomes apparent in those suggestions that try to give a substantive institutional form to humanitarian intervention. Within the protective shelter of the sovereign state, all citizens are free to build the good life as they see fit. What is more, in alerting us to the contingent nature of international relations, and in pushing beyond sovereignty, reflectivist theories seek to avoid the realist apologia for power politics, and to open up whole new realms of political possibility that once seemed unimaginable.
Morton, Re-Assessing the Power of Power Politics Thesis: Is Realism Still Dominant? Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 18481918, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, pp. If individuals must look beyond their private differences to participate in politics, it is also apparent that political passions and interests are always rooted in society. For Annan, sovereignty remained the ordering principle of international affairs, but he stressed that it was the peoples sovereignty rather than the sovereigns sovereignty. Its chapters provide bold, closely argued and provocative normative evaluations of the notion of state sovereignty. But the problem is not exclusive to Linklater. If anything, it seems that it is the politics of the domestic realm that is afflicted by recurrence and repetition while it is the global realm that appears open to new possibilities.
Does the new international theory enhance our understanding of these new possibilities? These historical developments are covered in greater detail in James Heartfields, Alexander Gourevitchs and Christopher Bickertons chapters. Jenny Edkins was cited earlier as condemning the realists for being camp followers of power, but as the examples from Linklater, Wendt and Ashley suggest, reflectivist theories have somewhat unreflectively become the new camp followers. Ashley, Untying the Sovereign State: A Double Reading of the Anarchy Problematique, Millennium: Journal of International Studies 17:2, 1988, pp. Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. Sovereignty is a political concept, and as such cannot be reduced to material factors. But even this apparently successful humanitarian intervention was more ambivalent than initially appeared.
Thus, Wendt points out that there is no such thing as agency independent of socialization; anarchy cannot presuppose actors that somehow exist prior to the system. The classical doctrine of sovereignty is widely seen as totalitarian, producing external aggression and internal repression. Though they draw attention to the need to understand sovereignty contextually, they are unable to translate these insights into a distinct, post-sovereign theory of politics. As we saw earlier in this essay, what makes the power of sovereignty distinct is its rootedness in human agency; it is a force that is only sustained by conscious human will. It is a volume that will confront and provoke, and in so doing fuel debate and, in turn, insight. On the one hand, there was a revival of challenges to the status quo labour militancy, anti-imperial and civil rights 68 Alexander Gourevitch movements.
Realists have it that self-help forces other states to behave in a similar fashion, thereby setting in motion the competitive dynamics of power politics. But, as Martin Loughlin notes, general will, although absolute, has nothing in common with the exercise of an arbitrary power. It proclaims modernity an absurd dream from which we are about to escape. What is lost in the assessments of the Cold War is this deeper historical change, in part because most understandings of the national interest fail to appreciate the centrality of domestic political conflict in defining the national interest. The document has gained quick acceptance as a promising solution to the bitter clash of rights of the 1990s. The focus should be on what actually transpires in our societies, on what kind of society is emerging here and now as the result of the war on terror.
Politics Without Sovereignty: A Critique Of Contemporary International Relations, Christopher J Bickerton, Philip Cunliffe and Alexander Gourevitch eds , University College Press, 2007. I conclude by explaining how subordinating the supremacy of state sovereignty to the higher authority of the international community undermines the project of making power more accountable, and restrains the exercise of political agency in international politics. While that last chapter served to diminish my appreciation of this book, it is as a whole both a timely and an important contribution. Two central claims are advanced in this book. Post-modernist Richard Ashley considers sovereignty a metaphysical conceit, in step with Walkers dismissal of sovereign states as mere boxes.
Ashley, The Poverty of Neorealism, in Keohane, Neorealism and Its Critics. Archibugi, 2003, Cosmopolitical Democracy in Archibugi, Debating Cosmopolitics, p. Political leaders and opinion-makers throughout the world claim that the sovereign state is a barrier to efficient global governance and the protection of human rights. In Rousseaus words: the general will is always rightful and always tends to the public good. A final turn: sovereignty against subjectivityOur criticisms have accepted the reflectivist premise that agency is not limited to sovereignty. Sovereign states are no longer supreme, but then neither is there an evident power that can claim to embody or represent the international community in the way the sovereign can claim to represent the general will.