EPIIC Archives

2003 Sovereignty and Intervention

From the disbanding of Knights Templars in 1307 to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; from the establishment of the Bretton Woods global economic regime in 1945 to current alleged "imperial nation-buildinglite" in Afghanistan, this symposium will examine the evolving norms and rules of sovereignty in global politics. Is sovereignty a requirement for global security and prosperity? Or is it, as one analyst has stated, "organized hypocrisy"?

With globalization, will we witness the retreat or the renewal of the legitimacy of state power? What are the "prerogatives of power and the limitations of law" in contemporary world politics? How should sovereignty be understood in an era of global non-state terrorism? Of state-sponsored terrorism?

Our inquiry will address current intellectual and policy debates, from the vexing issues of intervention, secession and self-determination to the interdependent challenges of globalization.

What was U.S. foreign policy decisionmaking in recent interventions? Why did intervention occur in Kosovo but not in Rwanda? In Sarajevo but not in Grozny? What are the consequences? How do we understand contested sovereignty in the West Bank? When should intervention occur, under whose authority, and how? How should Article 51 of the UN Charter regarding "selfdefense" be interpreted?

We will probe national, unilateral interventionary actions as well as multilateral and alliance interventions. And we will examine the multiple, controversial mandates and cross border deployments of United Nations peacekeeping forces. What are the challenges of peacekeeping vs. peacemaking? What are the norms of coercive inducement? Of sanctions? What are the ethics, politics and costs of political interventions, from reversing coups to preemptive action aimed at destroying weapons of mass destruction?

Is the concept of "armed humanitarianism" an oxymoron or a critical ingredient of global security? What are the roles for national or private armies? What are the impacts of humanitarian interventions, from preventing genocide or famine to disaster relief? What are the appropriate roles of governments, non-governmental organizations, and private voluntary organizations? How should we judge the legitimacy and accountability of NGO's?

In the international political economy, how are factors of technology and finance, transnational corporations, massive immigration, and the transborder flows of labor and capital transforming sovereignty? Have the power of markets and free trade outgrown the capacities of national governments? How will non-state authorities, such as accounting firms, influence the behavior of states? What is the efficacy of emergency economic intervention to change production structures, to create jobs, to employ former soldiers and to reduce unemployment? To offer, or to withhold credit? How have the leverage of international debt regimes, the structural adjustment demands of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions transfigured sovereignty?

And systemically, how are global ecological and environmental dilemmas and threats affecting, and affected by, sovereignty? What challenges do they and the "greening of sovereignty" pose for global governance?