Sunday, December 27, 2015

Richard Falk — A New World Order? ISIS and the Sykes-Picot Backlash

One of the seemingly permanent contributions of Europe to the manner of organizing international society was to create a strong consensus in support of the idea that only a territorially delimited sovereign state is entitled to the full privileges of membership. The United Nations, the institutional embodiment of international society, recognizes this principle by limiting membership in the Organization to ‘states.’ Of course, there is an enormous variation in the size, population, military capabilities, resource endowments, and de facto autonomy among states. At one extreme are gigantic states such as China and India with populations of over 1 billion, while at the other are such tiny countries such as Liechtenstein or Vanuatu that mostly rely on diplomacy and police rather than gunpowder and armies for security. All four of these political entities have the same single vote when it comes to action in the General Assembly or as participants at global conferences such at the recently concluded Paris Summit on climate change, although the geopolitics is supreme in the Security Council and the corridors outside the meeting rooms.
From the point of view of international law and organizational theory, we continue to live in a state-centric world order early in the 21st century. At the same time, the juridical notion of the equality of states that is the foundation of diplomatic protocol should not lead us astray. The shaping of world order remains mainly the work of the heavyweight states that act on the basis of geopolitical calculations with respect for international law and morality displayed only as convenient. Yet the political monoculture of territorial states remains formally the exclusive foundation of world order, but its political reality is being challenged in various settings, and nowhere more so than in the Middle East.…
Is the Westphalian model breaking down?

The Westphalian model is uniquely European and it was imposed by European colonialists on the rest of the world. Is it suitable basis for a world order now, or is it an extension of European imperialism and colonialism?

Foreign Policy Journal
A New World Order? ISIS and the Sykes-Picot Backlash
Richard Falk

1 comment:

Peter Pan said...

Is the Westphalian model breaking down?

Not until the pro-Westphalians run out of ammunition.