Is Sovereign Statehood Losing Its Significance?

Today’s world is basically founded upon sovereign statehood. Sovereign states are structured by each national government which is independent of any other powers and control a certain geographic area. They also sustain their own population and equal diplomatic relations with other sovereign states, as in, the basic rule among sovereign states are anarchism. However, nowadays there are a large number of issues related to sovereign states such as territorial disputes, ethnic conflicts and refugee problems. Rebelling against the current situation, there are some movement of anarchism in the world. For instance, in the United States, libertarianism is active discussion. And in Germany, a political party with anarchistic insistence has established in 1981 (APPD). Now, here is a question—is sovereign statehood losing relevance in today’s international relations? The answer is no—sovereign statehood is not considered as outdated system in today’s international relations by giving authority to the only one political powers or administration.

First of all, there are no alternatives other than sovereignty to show the government with its people and land. Indeed, there is a nominal alternative of sovereign statehood, that is to say, federal statehood. If the federation of the world were to be established, that would be sort of different from present situation, but nevertheless, the reality will be like this: the federal government will possess mighty authority and constituted countries will never possess the right to separate from the confederation. It is definitely clear when you think of the United States of America, the United Arab Eliminates, Germany and Australia. On the whole, no one regards them as aggregation of more than two countries while they are considered as one (united) country. If it were to be applied to the federation of the world, there would be ironically the “hyper-power” instead of super-power without doubt. This is very ridiculous that the hyper-power appears even though federation of the world seems to realize the very one world. As a result, sovereign statehood is the only one method to ensure that a certain country is independent from any other countries.

Second, sovereign statehood is aspired by many areas with separatist movement. Recently, Republic of South Sudan became independent from Republic of the Sudan in 2011. In addition, the State of Palestine became observer state and member of UNESCO. If sovereign statehood is losing significance in today’s international relations, why they strain for the statehood in the United Nations? It is impossible. Palestine has pursued its statehood since it was occupied by Israel. In 1964, PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) was established and became the Palestinian Government in exile in Amman, Jordan. In 1987, the First Palestinian Intifada against Israel started in Palestine and continued into 1993. “The State of Palestine” was established in 1994 and after that, it submitted application for recognition of statehood to the United Nations. And at last, it gained observer statehood in the following year by preponderant affirmative votes. In this vote, 138 countries recorded their votes for the proposal, and it meant that they implicitly approve the State of Palestine likewise. Currently, 132 out of 193 countries belonging to the United Nations recognized the State of Palestine. Thus, sovereign statehood can be still presumed to be relevant in the current international relations.

On the other hand, concerning recognition of statehood, there is open to question whether it should be one of definition of sovereign states. To illustrate, let me produce some instances. Western Sahara, what is officially called Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, which governs the former Spanish colony. It is recognized by 85 countries and is a member of African Union, but is not recognized by the United States. Not recognized by the most honoured and canonical international organisation, Western Sahara is not by the faction regarded as the very self-governing state power in the world. Another instance would be Republic of China, what is called Taiwan, possesses sovereignty, in other words, the government, population, lands and law enforcement agency. But because of the foreign policy of the People’s Republic of China, it is recognized by only 23 countries. The last instance is Kurdistan, in which Kurdish people reside. Kurdish people are the largest nation which does not have their own country. One of the main reasons why problems of Kurdish people are not famous although they are “the biggest minority” in the world is that Kurdistan is not recognized by any countries. Kurdistan is not usually considered as sovereign state in today’s international relations owing to this factor.

There has been some who insist that anarchism should be applied to the world. None the less, anarchism is more difficult to be relevant to today’s international relations because it requires reforming the whole world and there are few or no opportunities to revolutionize the universal system in the world, in brief, this apparent eccentric idea of the new system is not realistic at all so far. Moreover, even though anarchism itself does not recommend causing anarchy, it would bring about it without fail. Persons are doomed to go decadent; hence the world will become the chaos. What it amounts to is this, that anarchy which is often counted among alternative solutions of sovereign statehood cannot be a practical substitute.

As we have seen, sovereign statehood is far from being out of date in the modern world because it is the only way to show that some country is independent from any other countries and provides power over population residing in a state. One of alternative system can be defined as federation statehood, but it is originally an imaginary idea fraught with paradox. Furthermore, many non-self-governing areas with insistence on their independence such as Palestine claim sovereign statehood against the United Nations. It must mean sovereign state system is still valid and respected by the majority of the world. Surely, it holds problems of definition of sovereign statehood, and yet it cannot be replaced with anarchism because anarchism has no reality. Consequently, sovereign statehood has been and is the mainstream of governmental system in today’s international relations.

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