Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Partisanship, Who Needs It?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nation Tribes and Nation States

A very interesting piece.

Paradigm Shift: The US Foreign and Security Policies in Flux

US policies used to be, and still nominally is, Nation-State centric. Everything the United States does has to be channeled through states and official governments. For example, we know that terrorists reside in, say, Sudan. However, we can't just go in and grab them. We have to petition the Sudanese government for extradition, even though the Sudanese government does not have that much control over the terrorists. Once the terrorists get the wind of an impending extradition, they can use bribes and their contacts in the government to get out of Sudan. And there's nothing we can do about it [except the CIA].

One useful way to think about this shift is on the question of sovereignty: We used to be on the "Theory of Sovereignty", that we assumed every government had full sovereignty, even if reality conflicts with that claim. Now we will operate on "the Test of Sovereignty", where we only acknowledge your sovereignty after you have demonstrated it credibly. To use a dated example, we will acknowledge Indonesia's sovereignty over East Timor only if Indonesia can exercise its sovereign powers over East Timor.

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