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Flashcards in The State Deck (62)
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states not recognised by other states: SOMALILAND

Somaliland is a former British protectorate in East Africa which was independent for four days in 1960, before joining up with Italian Somalia

it remained part of Somalia until the government collapsed in 1999 and then Somaliland unilaterally declared independence

Dr Rebecca Richards explains that “There is a remarkably strong government... It’s had a series of democratic elections. It is peaceful. It is stable. There is an incredible amount of economic development taking place. It’s pretty much everything that you would expect to see in a state”

however, Somaliland is not recognised by any other state

this makes life hard for people living there because while there is limited access to some types of developmental and humanitarian assistance, much of this, especially aid from the UN, goes through Somalia

access to international markets is difficult without legal protections and as Somaliland’s currency is not recognised outside its borders, it has no international value


what is sovereignty?

sovereignty means absolute power and authority

before the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, states did not have sovereignty or absolute and unlimited power

within a state, the state has absolute power over its citizens and everyone who resides within its jurisdiction


the Westphalian state system

the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended the Thirty Years War and developed the principle of state sovereignty

it ended the Holy Roman Emperor’s claim to possess sovereign authority over virtually independent German states

this meant that each individual state would be sovereign over its own internal affairs and no other state or supposedly superior body could intervene within its borders

Westphalia also defined the theory of the sovereign equality of states — no state has the legal right to intervene in the sovereign affairs of another state AND all states, whatever the size, possess the same legal right to independence

in 1918, Woodrow Wilson established the principle that nation state sovereignty should be founded upon the right of self-determination, based on a shared ethnic heritage

this led to the creation of new states such as Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland after WW1


fundamental ideas about sovereignty

the fundamental characteristic of the nationstate is sovereignty

national sovereignty implies that the state has absolute and unlimited power both within its territory (internal sovereignty) and in global affairs (external sovereignty)

the Montevideo Convention (1933) determined that the sovereign state must possess a defined territory, a permanent population, a viable government and a capacity to enter into diplomatic relations with other states


internal sovereignty

the location of sovereignty within a state

the power of a body within the state to make decisions that are binding on individuals and groups in the territory — e.g. parliament and parliamentary sovereignty

the ability to maintain order

Max Weber describes internal sovereignty as a monopoly over the use of legitimate violence within the state (e.g. through the police or the army)

Joseph Schumpeter added to this and said that sovereignty also involves a monopoly over the ability to raise taxes within the state


external sovereignty

there is no legal or political authority above the state — link to realism, which believes that states are the most important actors in global politics

the right of autonomy to make decisions within the territory of the state free from external interference

all states are equally sovereign in their relations with each other, the least powerful state is a sovereign as the most powerful state and so its territorial integrity is as legally valid

Article 2 of Chapter 1 of the UN Charter notes that: “the organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members”

governments can make decisions about their own territories without being interfered with by other states — no state can tell another state how to behave

no state or legal body has the right to intervene in the sovereign affairs of any nation state


characteristics of national sovereignty

the law applies to everyone and there is no opting out — should anyone break the law of the state they can be arrested, put on trial in court, sentenced to prison and in some states eventually executed

Max Weber defined the state as having a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within a given territory and the state will seek to legitimise this monopoly


what has sovereignty led to?

sovereignty has provided the basis for international law

for instance, in the United Nations General Assembly, each nationstate has one vote which reinforces the sovereign equality of states

international law also guarantees the territorial boundaries and autonomy of nation states

Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter says that all member states should “respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states” and Article 7 says that the UN cannot intervene in the domestic jurisdiction of any state


what is sovereignty often the basis for?

sovereignty is also the basis for conflict

for example, the desire for the Palestinians to establish a nationstate in the territory claimed by Israel


what is state sovereignty under attack from?

the traditional concept of state sovereignty and the billiard ball model have come under attack from...

• globalisation and growing levels of interdependence which have led to state borders becoming increasingly porous and have caused a decline in sovereignty — states can no longer act as discrete entities and must consider other states, borders have become increasingly meaningless

• the increasing role of nonstate actors such as TNCs and NGOs, which appear to work outside of the traditional limits of sovereignty

• the growing role of international institutions, especially the move from intergovernmentalism to supranationalism and regionalism, which undermines sovereignty (e.g. the debate surrounding the EU taking the UK’s sovereignty)

• the growing tension between national sovereignty and human rights, leading to the idea that states have the right to intervene in other states to protect those rights, which undermines sovereignty (e.g. the Iraq War)


in what ways is sovereignty difficult to define?

sovereignty may seem easy to define but sovereignty in theory is very different to sovereignty in practice

it is a widely debated concept — for example, when a state gives away a small amount of sovereignty, does this mean that they no longer possess absolute and ultimate authority?

has come more into question due to globalisation, because if states are affected by actions and events in other states in, they arguably lose the capacity in practice to control events in their own country and act as independent units


sovereignty in the UK

at a basic level, sovereignty within the state or internal sovereignty is relatively straightforward — it is easy to identify the location of sovereignty in the UK constitution

parliament is the sovereign body of the UK and there is no higher body in parliament — this parliamentary sovereignty is the most fundamental principle in the UK constitution

there is no law that parliament cannot pass and only parliament can overturn an act passed by parliament

however, as a democracy, it can also be argued that the people are sovereign and that there is popular sovereignty

the consequences of the UK’s EU referendum suggest that popular sovereignty weighs more than legislative sovereignty since Parliament was unprepared to ignore the vote

the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will further change the location of sovereignty within the UK

in certain circumstances, the prime minister exercises sovereignty on behalf of the monarch through the use of the royal prerogative

the devolved Scottish and Welsh assemblies may be in the process of achieving de facto sovereignty in their domestic affairs

the location of sovereignty within the state may change — in 2017, the Supreme Court determined that parliament, not the government, had the sovereign authority to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to begin the process of taking the UK out of the EU


sovereignty in the USA

in the USA, there are complications in terms of sovereignty

the preamble to the US constitution declares “We the people...”, indicating that there is popular sovereignty and that this is upheld by the constitution

however, the US is also a federal country, Meaning that there are at least two or more autonomous over bodies in the USA, in fact 50 individual states share sovereignty with the federal government

furthermore, within the branches of government there is a system of checks and balances, meaning that no one institution of government is sovereign — unlike in the UK, where parliament is sovereign


realist view on sovereignty: the billiard ball model

realism sees states as billiard balls, with sovereignty being their key property and the key aim of states being maximum relative power

when the billiard balls collide, sovereignty allows the state to survive

recognises that states have different levels of power, so the billiard balls can be different sizes and this leads global politics to focus on the great powers

the billiard ball model treats all states as equal and does not distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ states — e.g. the motives of the USA and USSR during the Cold War were the same and were not driven by domestic political or economic factors


8 differences between states and nations

the elements of a nation and state are different

a state is a political organisation whereas a nation is more social and cultural

possession of a defined territory is essential for a state but not for nation

sovereignty is essential for state but not for nation

a nation can be wider than the state

there can be two or more nations living within one state

a state can be created while a nation is always the result of evolution

the state uses police power and force to preserve its unity and integrity whereas the nation is bound by strong cultural and historical links


differences between states and nations: elements of states and nations are different

the state has 4 elements: population, territory, government and sovereignty

in the absence of even one element, a state cannot really be a state — it must have all four of these elements

on the other hand, a nation is merely a group of people that have a strong sense of unity and common consciousness

they may share many common characteristics, such as language and history, but no characteristic is essential in order to be considered a nation

common territory, race, religion, language, history, culture and political aspirations are the elements which help the formation of a nation, but none of these is an essential element


differences between states and nations: states are political organisations while nations are more social and cultural

the state is a political organisation which fulfils the security and welfare needs of its people

it is concerned with external human actions

it is a legal entity

on the other hand, the nation is a united unit of population that is full of emotional, spiritual and psychological bonds

a nation has little to do with the physical needs of the people


differences between states and nations: possession of a defined territory is essential for state but not for a nation

territory is the physical element of a state and it is essential for a state to possess a fixed territory

however, for a nation, territory is not an essential requirement and nations can survive even without a fixed territory

love of a common motherland can act as a source of unity for a nation, but it is not essential

for example, before 1948 the Jews were a nation even though they had no fixed territory of their own and in 1948 they secured a defined territory and established the state of Israel


differences between states and nations: sovereignty is essential for a state but not for a nation

sovereignty is an essential element of the state — it is the soul and defining factor of the state

in the absence of sovereignty, a state loses its existence as it is sovereignty that makes the state different from all other associations of the people

it is not essential for a nation to possess sovereignty as the basic requirement of a nation is the strong bonds of emotional unity among its people, which develop due to several common social-cultural elements

before 1947 India was a nation but not a state as it did not have sovereignty, but following its independence and the end of British Imperial rule in 1947 India became a sovereign state

however, every nation aspires to be sovereign and independent of the control of every other nation


differences between states and nations: nations can be wider than the state

the state is limited to a fixed territory — its boundaries can increase or decrease but the process of change is always very complex

however, a nation may or may not remain within the boundaries of a fixed territory

it is a community based on common ethnicity, history and traditions and its boundaries can easily extend beyond the boundaries of the state

for example, the French nation extends to Belgium, Switzerland and Italy because people in these countries belong to the same race to which the French claim to belong


differences between states and nations: there can be two or more nationalities living in one state

there can be two or more nations within a single state

for example, before WW1, Austria and Hungary were combined into one state but were two different nations

most modern states are now multinational, including the UK

the modern state is called the nationstate because all the nationalities living in one state stand integrated into one nation

the state continuously pursues the objective of national integration by securing a blending of the majority nationality and all the minority nationalities through collective living and the development of a strong emotional, spiritual and psychological bonds

unity in diversity and plurality is accepted as the guiding principle by all the modern civilised multinational states like India, the USA, Russia, China, Britain and others


differences between states and nations: a state can be created while a nation is always the result of evolution

a state can be created with the conscious endeavours of the people

physical elements play an important role in the birth of a state

for example, after WW2 Germany was divided into two separate states: West Germany and East Germany

however, Germans remained emotionally as one nation and in 1990 the Germans were united into a single state following the reunification of Germany

in 1947, Pakistan was created out of India as a separate state

however, a nation is a unity of people which emerges slowly and steadily and no special efforts go into the making of a nation


differences between states and nations: the state uses police power and force to preserve its unity and integrity whereas the nation is bound by strong cultural and historical links

a state has police power and those who disobey are punished by the state

a nation does not have police power, force or coercive power — it is backed by moral, emotional and spiritual power and survives on the sense of unity of the people

nations appeal, persuade and boycott, states order, coerce and punish


order of states from most likely to least likely to achieve statehood

PALESTINE — recognised by the UN, has a Palestinian National Authority which assumes governmental authority for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, their existence predates the establishment of Israel, has a stable population, defined territory and its own government

CATALONIA — has its own parliament, own police force, etc

THE KURDS — no defined territory, not recognised by international community, would create animosity with states like Iran, but the Kurds were promised a state in the past and have a strong sense of national unity

TRNC — no international recognition aside from Turkey, rejected by the Greek Cypriot community


biggest obstacles facing those seeking to achieve statehood

lack of international recognition

unstable government

possible negative implications of independence — for example, Palestine being a sovereign state may pose a threat to the security of Israel, while difficulties with the economy, the EU and debts are preventing Catalonia becoming independent

tension with already recognised and more legitimate states — Palestine and Israel, Catalonia and Spain


CASE STUDY: Palestine

in 2011, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation submitted a formal request for Palestine’s admittance as a full member state into the United Nations

the following month, the executive committee of UNESCO backed this bid in a 107-14 vote

in 2012, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as a non member observer state, thus giving Palestine access to other UN bodies, including the International Criminal Court

the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 meant that the majority of Palestinians became refugees and this problem was exacerbated by the 1967 Six Day War, after which Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights were occupied by Israel

the Oslo Accords of 1993, the first face-to-face meeting between the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the government of Israel, prepared the way for the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1996 which assumed governmental authority but not sovereignty for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

the founding of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in 1964 united a disparate collection of Palestinian groups and strengthened the notion of the Palestinians as a nation separate from existing states such as Jordan, Egypt and Syria

however, it was not until the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority that the Palestinians could be said to have a defined territory and effective government, albeit one that lacked legal and de facto sovereignty

Palestine’s transition from being a non-state entity with an observer status in the UN General Assembly to being a non member observer state has not been endorsed by the UNSC and falls short of full membership of the UN and thus full statehood — this underlines the role of the UN in establishing statehood through formal recognition

nevertheless, as of 2013, 132 of the UN’s 193 members had recognised the existence of the state of Palestine

arguably, the ‘two state solution’ is the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the continuing denial of the Palestinians’ right to sovereign independence can only strengthen political extremism and hostility towards Israel


CASE STUDY: Palestine — why is the Palestinian quest for statehood difficult to achieve?

the creation of a Palestinian state may be difficult to achieve in practical terms

the Palestinian Authority is divided territorially and politically, with Hamas (the Palestinian militant group) controlling the Gaza Strip while the Fatah wing of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation governs the West Bank

if a Palestinian state was constructed in line with the 1967 borders, this would mean that around 500,000 Israelis would be defined as living in another country

many in Israel argue that the implacable Palestinian hatred of Israel would mean that a sovereign Palestinian state would pose an ongoing and intolerable threat to the security and survival of Israel itself


CASE STUDY: Catalonia — in what ways does it already have many features of a state?

Catalonia seeks independence from Spain and recently, pro-independence parties have won a slim majority in the Catalan Parliament, but for now Madrid remains firmly in control under emergency powers invoked in October

Catalonia looks like it already has many of the trappings of a state, including its own flags and Parliament as well as its own police force (the Mossos d’Esquadra), its own broadcast regulator and even a series of mini embassies that promote trade and investment in Catalonia around the world

while Catalonia delivers some public services already, including schools and healthcare, there would be much more to set up in the event of independence, including border control, customs, proper international relations, defence, a central bank and air-traffic control, all of which are currently run by Madrid

furthermore, its leader, Carles Puigdemont, is in self imposed exile in Belgium


CASE STUDY: Catalonia — some key arguments for independence

Catalonia is certainly rich compared with other parts of Spain and it pays in more than it gets out of the Spanish state

it is home to just 16% of the Spanish population but 19% of its GDP and more than 25% of Spain’s foreign exports

18 million of Spain’s 75 million tourists chose Catalonia as their primary destination last year, making it easily the most visited region in Spain

Tarragona has one of Europe’s largest chemical hubs and Barcelona is one of the EU’s top 20 ports by weight of goods handled

about 1/3 of the working population has some form of tertiary education

Catalans pay more in taxes than is spent on their region — in 2014, Catalans paid nearly €10 billion more in taxes than reached their region in public spending


CASE STUDY: Catalonia — problems and concerns with independence

even if Catalonia gained a tax boost from independence, it might be swallowed up by having to create new public institutions and run them without the same economies of scale

assuming it did create these new institutions needed to be informant, it might not be able to pay for them

Catalonia’s public debt is of great concern — the Catalan government currently owes around €77 billion, which is over 35% of Catalonia’s GDP, and €52 billion is owed to the Spanish government

in 2012, the Spanish government set up a fund to provide cash to the regions who are able to borrow money after the financial crisis and Catalonia has been by far the biggest beneficiary of the scheme, taking €67 billion since it began — but if it becomes independent, Catalonia would lose access to the scheme

there are also concerns about how much debt Catalonia would be willing to repay after independence, which casts a shadow over any negotiations

there is much uncertainty over Catalonia’s relationship with Europe — 2/3 of Catalonia’s foreign exports go to the EU, but it would need to reapply to become a member if it secedes from Spain

it would not get membership automatically or immediately and would need all EU members to agree, including Spain

in 2015, the Governor of the Bank of Spain warned Catalans that independence would cause the region to drop out of the Euro automatically, losing access to the European Central Bank

normally, new EU members must apply to join the euro and meet certain criteria such as their debt not being too large a percentage of their GDP — but even if Catalonia could meet those criteria, a qualified majority of Eurozone countries has to approve their entry into the euro, which Spain and its allies could block

there is a lot of uncertainty of what would happen if Catalonia became independent because nobody has ever declared independence from a member of the Eurozone then asked to rejoin the Eurozone as a new country