Sovereignty and Globalization – New Challenges
In the present era of globalization, sovereignty faces new challenges and state sovereignty today has almost become a myth.
Sovereignty and Globalization – New Challenges
In the modern era of globalization, interconnectedness between the inhabitants of the world for the sake of political, economic , cultural and technological integration has not only become a sheer necessity but an obvious reality. This has posed serious threats to the concept of state sovereignty. And the fact has been emphasized by writers like Bodin, Hobbes and Hegel. David Held highlighted the following reasons for the considerable decline of the state autonomy:
i. Global interaction has brought about a marked decline in the effectiveness of political instruments available to government. Transfer of ideas, ideologies, cultural intercourse and sharing of goods and capital as well as services have made border controls less restrictive.
ii. Cooperation between states is must for state activities like defense, communication. This cannot be achieved without mutual collaboration and management.
iii. Fortification of international organizations like IMF and WTO to regulate the destabilizing effects for the purpose of political unification.
Sovereignty and Power Blocs
The conglomeration of states representing global system has assumed power bloc images thus affecting state control and hegemony.
i. During post World War II the world was polarized between two strong power blocs – USA and USSR. India and other non-aligned countries refrained from joining any of these blocs because that indirectly imposed restrictions on country’s sovereignty and accepting the dictates of bloc leader. Following the disintegration of USSR, in a uni-polar or multi-polar global order where states are dependent on each other, USA starts coercing smaller and weaker states in the arena of domestic and external policy making measures.
ii. The NATO, the SEATO, the CENTO, the OAS under American dominance and Warsaw Pact under Soviet bossing restrained states from making I dependent decisions. Held says, “A state’s capacity to initiate particular foreign policies, pursue certain strategic concerns, choose between alternative militancy technologies and control weapon systems located on its own territory are restricted by its place in the international system of power relations.”
Sovereignty and Global Economy:
Interdependence between countries in the field of economy has also delimited state sovereignty.
i. The MNC’s which operate globally, even though they have their national bases, their interests are always global and strategies are internationally targeted. The states have little power to direct these states where they are functional.
ii. Foreign banks boosted by boom in information technology catalyze the free flow of units – currencies, stocks, shares and the like.
iii. With the technological revolution in communication and transportation market boundaries between states have gradually withered. The focus has been pointed more on formulating an international financial and fiscal system. As Held says, ‘the levels of employment, investment and revenue within a country are often subordinated to the decisions of MNCs…’
Sovereignty and International Organizations
State sovereignty is to a great extent limited by the emergence and development of a large number of international organizations.
i. In today’s world no state can openly disregard global enactments made by such international organizations like UN. Faith in fundamental human rights, in the equal rights of men and women incorporated in the preamble to the UN Charter and those international standards to be maintained by individual states. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which are universal and comprehensive in nature encompass civil, political, economic, social, cultural and collective rights with adequate safeguards for minorities, secessionist and ethnic groups.
ii. Some non-political and technical organizations like UPU, ITU, WMO impact crucial aspects of foreign policies of individual states by rendering services in technical field and thereby regimenting them to act unilaterally.
iii. IMF curb the sovereign rights of individual countries by imposing infringements like cut on public expenditure and welfare programs, devaluation of currency, liberalization and privatization of economy in terms of giving loans to the concerned states. These steps ought to have adverse effects on countries especially developing countries which can even lead to situations like food riots, fall of a government or even imposition of martial law.
iv. WTO which is a permanent legislative body virtually usurps the sovereign authority of states. It monitors and invigilates the economic activities in the areas of trade in goods, services, foreign investment, and intellectual property rights. The constitution of WTO is making preparations for further expansion of the jurisdiction of WTO. No state can go against the decisions of WTO even if it is detrimental to their interests.
v. EU has further thrown a much bigger challenge to sovereignty. Separation of powers – legislative, executive and financial has been vested in this supranational agency. The conventional idea of sovereignty as an indivisible, unlimited, exclusive perpetual power within an individual state is obsolete.
Sovereignty and International Law
International law has also produced an effective impact on the demonstration of sovereign rights of individual nations:
i. The notion of sovereignty signifies that a state has an implicit right to take decisions in the sphere of foreign policy making matters and is under no legal obligation to accept the ruling of foreign government. Such implications of sovereignty are no longer noticeable. The EU Law hardly ensures national sovereignty to any of its members.
ii. The UN Declaration of Human Rights mould and shape sovereign functioning as a part of international law are increasingly taking stronger hole on states thus restraining them to act individually.
iii. The International tribunal at Nuremberg made it clear that individual is also the subject of intervention law because the crimes which violate international law are committed by men and not states, therefore international law can be truly enforced if only justified punishment of individuals are done.
iv. International law is in the changed scenario, no longer founded on the traditional ground of national separateness but based on the concept of togetherness, coexistence and cooperation.