Are There Any Limits to What a Sovereign State Can Do?

Topics: Sovereign state, International relations, Violent non-state actor Pages: 3 (891 words) Published: April 3, 2012
Are There Any Limits To What A Sovereign State Can Do?
There are a number of limitations to what a sovereign state can do. Exogenous limits imposed by globalization, endogenous voluntary limits imposed by consent and legal limits imposed by membership of the international society of states. The extent of such limitations depends on which state is being considered and also on the period of time under consideration. That is to say some states are more constrained than others both domestically and internationally, and that sovereign states are much more limited in their behavior in the present compared to the past. Constraints on the behavior of sovereign states are important, because such limitations are the basis by which order is maintained internationally and the rule of law respected domestically. Alternatively, constraints on the sovereign state or their absence can also be the primary source of dysfunction. The response to the question posed will first seek to define the terms used, noting that there are multiple alternate definitions, and will then seek to outline the legal and political implications of sovereignty, arguing that whilst there are indeed a number of limitations, political implications produce an inequality amongst states that results in a hierarchy where some states have more limitations than others, which alongside conditions of anarchy is the primary source of instability and conflict globally. The state is defined as a territorially based political unit, characterized by centralized decision making and enforcement (Chris Brown 2005). Sovereignty defined as the state as independent actor, enjoying legal supremacy over all non-state actors in making and enforcing laws.(Bayliss2005). Sovereignty is a legal status derived via recognition from other sovereign states. The legal implication of sovereignty theoretically imposes constraints, and is one of equality with other members of the society of states under international law. Sovereignty...
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