Are states now losing sovereignty?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bigdumps, Oct 18, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Just been thinking about this lately, the rise in influence from bodies or organisations that are not states (big business, religion, terrorism etc) seems to be increasing to the extent that I believe states are losing sovereignty (i.e., multinational corporations can influence govt policy).

    Any thoughts on this?
  2. Every time a state signs an international treaty or enters into some form of international obligation it results in a small loss of sovereignty in that particular area (e.g. it can't break the conditions of the treaty). That small loss is not normally permanent since the state can withdraw from said obligation/treaty at a separate stage in the majority of cases. Usually such treaties (e.g. the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea - my personal favorite) exist to clarify states duties, rights and obligations and as such provide rules as to how states interact with each other; without them there would be a bit of a free for all with the potential for people to start banging one another over the head.

    I don't necessarily buy the argument that the EU has prevented another war in Europe (that is if everyone conveniently forgets the Balkans), but I would submit that membership of the majority of international organisation (e.g. UN, NATO etc...) has been largely beneficial to the states concerned, enabling differences to be resolved peacefully under a previously agreed set of rules.

    Of course I could be wrong and it could all be a conspiracy designed to rob Englishmen of their red blood cells...
  3. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Ever heard of the following:

    Trilateral Commission, Council of Rome, Bilderburger's, European Commission, The World Bank, Globalisation, The Vatican, Tony B Liar, Mandelson, The Labour Party, The French & Germans etc etc etc?
  4. In fairness, the EU only covered Western Europe until quite recently - they had no more legitimate authority in the Balkans during the wars than the African Union or Organisation of American States had.

    Agreed that Treaties are voluntary cedeing of sovereignty, but more to the point sovereignty is to the nation-state what freedom is to the individual. It's constrained by a number of factors; obligations, capabilities and external actors being among them. Luxembourg has sovereignty, but I don't see them being willing or able to enforce a claim over ownership of Manhattan any time soon.

    Long story short, not even the US has true sovereignty in this day and age. Certainly no less powerful nation has as they can all be constrained in their freedom of action whether they agree to it or not.
  5. Perhaps I was being a little unfair to the good old EU; it might have been fairer to say that the EU's existence is not the only reason that there hasn't been a war in western europe.

    The analogy of a state's sovereignity and an individual's freedom is a good one, which I will use at work probably within the hour. I may even make no reference to the fact that s_a_c came up with it before me and for that I apologise in advance.
  6. Welcome to International Relations 101, chaps. I'll sit this one out and see where this goes. ;)
  7. International Relations is really interesting, I have started to buy text books for it and I am getting into it in a major way.

    Firstly, it certainly appears to me that non-state actors are becoming increasingly powerful; see the effects of religion, terrorism and commerce. It strikes me that states were the be all and end all of international relations, but now the above actors I mentioned can rival a state in terms of influence, but obviously not in military capability (but then al qaeda did immense damage to American security)...
  8. Blackwater? Measure military strength in terms of effects and since the Yanks would be screwed without the PMCs... Also, since they can impose their will on a sovereign nation, it could be argued they'd class as a nation-state-level military power.
  9. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    When non-state actors, such as The World Bank, or huge international trading conglomerates can severely damage a nation through its activities, one does indeed wonder just how much power a sovereign nation has.

    Britain, supposedly the 7th richest nation on the planet or something, had its currency kicked in the gonads by ONE financial speculator - George Sorros.

    Makes you think doesn't it.
  10. The development of global markets and businesses has certainly led to a weakening of the nation state. Look at the power that Microsoft has as a world influence. Global branding respects no borders. As an example, with our drift into a multi-cultural society, Britain no longer has any unified cultural or moral identity . . it's a financial centre. People are not coming here to see the lovely landscape or due to some attraction to the British way of life, they are coming here for financial gain, because they can perpetuate their cultures in a financially more advantageous environment. It happens everywhere. Whether the world can be effectively 'managed' on a purely financial and marketing basis is doubtful but it's certainly the way it's going.
  11. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

  12. Not entirely independant as its charter was eventually revoked and the Crown took over direct rule of its Indian posessions. It did operate with an astounding degree of autonomy, I'll grant you.

    Does any kind of effective State control over todays multinationals exist, though?

    Edited because I must work harder on my grammar.
  13. Pfft, MS is still answerable to truly global bodies like the EU. It may hold sway over some countries/blocks that it can bully, but there is alot of resistance and that resistance will only grow as Asia grows. MS has to change to survive and I have no doubts that it will.
  14. The system is run by the bankers. They control money so they control everything. If they want something to happen it will happen.