The changing paradigm of state sovereignty In the international system
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The system of state relations in the international system was established at the end of the Forty Years War, which culminated in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The treaty was based on sovereignty, which is rooted in the principle of non-intervention by other states in the internal affairs of members. This sovereignty, supposedly outlined in the Treaty of Westphalia, was originally defined as the absolute power of the king and later the state to reign over a population. However, in the three and a half centuries since the Treaty of Westphalia, the concept of sovereignty has undergone profound changes. Beginning with the French Revolution when the people overthrew their king and made themselves the repository of sovereignty, the definition of sovereignty has profoundly changed, giving rise to constitutional government. Since then, sovereignty has increasingly been defined in alignment with the people. The concept of sovereignty has also felt the weight of the various multi-national treaties enacted after World War II, with the United Nations (UN) taking center stage by prescribing the actions of their signatories. The result has been a redefinition of sovereignty whereby international peace, as defined by the UN, is prior to the sovereign rights of states, culminating in the subjugation of state sovereignty to their international obligations. Sovereignty is further redefined in light of the assault from globalization, which makes it impossible for a state to be truly independent. More recently, state sovereignty is undergoing yet another reconceptualization, currently manifested through a state's obligation to its citizens based on the emerging norms of â€œthe responsibility to protectâ€� (R2P). The underlying logic of R2P is conditional sovereignty in exchange for responsible behavior of states. It maintains that sovereignty is not a privilege but instead, responsibility. Failure to fulfill this responsibility therefore gives others the right to intervene.This work maintains that although R2P is currently applicable only to areas of gross human rights violations, it opens a Pandora's Box that will cover not only traditional security areas, but also economic and social as well all of which impinge on the physical security of citizens.
Table of Contents
The changing paradigm of sovereignty -- Globalization and interdependence -- Human rights humanitarian intervention -- The responsibility to protect (R2P) -- Conclusion