Saturday, February 3, 2007

Kelly on Haass on the Nature of Sovereignty

Michael J. Kelly, Creighton, has posted an article which appeared in the UCLA Journal of International and Foreign Affairs, Pulling at the Threads of Westphalia: Involuntary Sovereignty Waiver - Revolutionary International Legal Theory Or Return to Rule By the Great Powers? He begins the article this way:
Since the 1990’s, American presidents have been willing to unleash the massive military arsenal of the world’s last superpower into the territories of other states without the formal agreed consensus of the international community. But if sovereignty means anything at all, it means freedom from outside interference. The baseline rule enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations holds that states cannot intervene in one another’s affairs by force without authorization from the Security Council. However, the United States led one intervention in Kosovo to stop crimes against humanity and then another in Iraq to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, both without Security Council authorization. Is America amending the UN Charter through action? Perhaps, if the Charter can be altered by subsequent customary practice. So the question arises: whither sovereignty?

This is the question taken up in the article, explored through a consideration of historic ideas of sovereignty, and a critique of the idea that nations can involuntarily waive sovereignty, thereby justifying intervention, for example for humanitarian reasons, developed by Richard Haass. Here's the abstract:
This paper explores the nature of sovereignty, its 17th century fusion with the state as a new political entity, its evolution over time, and challenges to its systemic primacy in the 21st century by thinkers such as Dr. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose involuntary sovereignty waiver theory is deconstructed as a viable alternative to U.N. Security Council military intervention preventing human rights abuses, terrorism, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The article also explores Haass's recommendation that the world return to a Concert of Powers system modeled on that which developed from the 1815 Congress of Vienna, and evaluates use of the anticipatory self-defense doctrine as a method of executing involuntary sovereignty waiver theory. This paper also discusses the interplay between internationalist, realist, and neoconservative schools within the Bush foreign policy apparatus and evaluates the efficacy of Haass's theory being employed by each.

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