Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty




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While the terms country, state, sovereign state, nation, and the nation-state are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Simply put:. The word country can be used to mean the same thing as the state, sovereign state, or nation-state. It can also be used in a less political manner to refer to a region or cultural area that has no governmental status. Examples include Wine Country the grape-growing area of northern California and Coal Country the coal-mining region of Pennslyvania.

State, nation, and country are all terms to describe groups of people who live in the same place and have a great deal in common. But while states and sovereign states are political entities, nations and countries may or may not be. A sovereign state sometimes called an independent state has the following qualities:. There are many geographic entities that have some but not all of the qualities that make up a There are presently sovereign states in the world by some counts ; are members of the United Nations the United Nations excludes Palestine and the Holy See.

Two other entities, Taiwan and Kosovo, are recognized by some but not all members of the United Nations. There are many entities that have geographical and cultural significance and many of the qualities of a sovereign state but which are not, in fact, independent sovereign states.

These include territories, non-sovereign states, and nations. It returns Russia to its Cold War position—and more—as supporter of Syria and Egypt, though of course it shares none of the ideological tenets of the Shi'a Crescent. Will they represent a consolidation of the current states, or will there be a reconfiguration of the Middle East to incorporate the underlying ethno-religious realities and finally reject the impositions of the San Remo Conference in ? To begin with, people of the region think of themselves today in state-national terms—a sense, perhaps paradoxically, heightened by the damage to the political structures wrought by the current conflicts.

Most impressively, Jordanians know they are Jordanians even though two-thirds of them are Palestinians, and in the other countries of refuge where they have not been admitted to citizenship, Palestinians know they are Palestinians wherever they are; Lebanese know they are Lebanese and not Syrian even if Syria thinks they are.

Refugees identify as nationals of their country, even despite ethnic ties across the borders. While subnational identities are undoubtedly strong and often functional as well as sentimental, there is no subnational group that has the necessary characteristics to qualify as a new state. These qualifications consist of a territorialized population with a sense of ethnic or other identity galvanized by a consolidated nationalist movement, capable of attracting international recognition. The exception is of course Palestine, which despite qualifying after more than half a century has still not been able to obtain recognition as a state.

The sole other ethnic group even close to being an exception is the Kurds, who do have a territorialized location—in fact, they have at least three, all in established states, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, not to mention Iran, the Syrian one cut to a narrow waist along the Turkish border. All three Kurdish populations have called for independence, although they are not united in a single consolidated movement. Any progress in that direction would be anathema to Turkey, whose government has not even been able to hold to negotiations with a view to acceptance of the Kurds' ethnic identity, let alone their autonomy.

The furthest likely extent of recognition is greater regional autonomy, separately, in Iraq and Syria. No other ethnic group in the region comes near to being able to claim proto-state qualities. Beyond simple secession, the break-up of existing conglomerate states could provide more coherent successors, again assuming that the pieces qualify as states. A breakup of Syria has been mooted, and also of Iraq. The action responds to the characteristics of some of the pieces but not to others.

A Shi'a mini-state in western Syria would continue to provide protection for Christian minorities, but the area between the Kurdish east and the west is not a clear contender for statehood, landlocked and lacking much by way of population, resources, or identity other than simply the Sunni leftover. Much the same situation exists in Iraq, where the Sunni population would be left in the middle between the oil-endowed Kurdish north and the Shi'a south.


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One might then fantasize about a Syro-Iraqi Sunni state between a Kurdistan to the east and a string of coastal states—Shi'a Syria and Lebanon, Israel—to the west; but this would require some dedicated political engineering. Another breakup would see a return to the two Yemens that existed with a recognized boundary between them until , presumably with a Shi'a Houthi-dominated north and a Sunni south the north would have some 22 million people, equal to more than two-thirds the population of all of Saudi Arabia.

Since the two regions did exist as independent units for half a century south and a century north , they would not have to be reinvented; this case, then, would seem a more likely breakup, although neither formerly functioned as a Weberian governing unit. There are also a number of territorial claims rooted in ancient history that could easily be revived. As an example, Syria still lays claim to the Alexandretta sanjak that hangs south into its north-western corner and was attributed to Turkey after the rest of the Turkish border was established at San Remo, though it would take a much stronger Syria and a much weaker Turkey to change its status.

No other current state has the potential for claims of a similar magnitude. Perhaps a third of the borders are geodesic straight-line boundaries, the most natural way to designate a border across uninhabited and physically undesignated areas. Often, these inexorable lines have been jogged slightly to encompass salient human and geographical features: the Halfawi on the Upper Nile and coastal populations in the Egyptian Mediterranean, and Jebel al-Maqrah on the Gaza line and a wadi for Kuwait, among others. In Egypt's south-east, the latitudinal line was moved north-east for reasons of ethnic accommodation and now leaps from mountain top to mountain top in small, straight segments.

Many others follow geographic features: the Lebanese border follows a number of crest-lines, the Syrian border follows a river to the south and some wadis where available to the east, the southern Moroccan border follows some hamada and wadi lines. Other borders wiggle across features of human and physical geography with no obvious criteria except to get to the next place; in many areas, such as the southern Turkish or western Iranian borders, the line cuts across mountain ranges and water streams with no nearby features to justify a different course.

There is little in this patchwork quilt to suggest more appropriate lines, since neither human geography nor physical terrain lends itself to more appropriate lines the matters of Palestine and Kurdistan excepted. The norms for boundary stability—demarcation, permeability and rectification—suggest that states should always be alert to the need for small changes to accommodate physical changes and shifting human patterns; a shift of this sort occurred recently in respect of the Lebanese border. But at the present time, the pressure of civil war on the borders generally provides an inappropriate setting for such adjustments.

Border changes, other than minor adjustments as discussed, constitute major challenges to the established shape of a sovereign state. States do not give up territory gently or acquire it easily. Territorial change results from a major military effort, led by an active militant organization bearing a convincing justification following an extended campaign. The struggles of the Kurds, based on an ethnic demand for self-determination and the culmination of what at present amounts to over a century of effort, and the Palestinians, with a similar rationale over a similar period of time, are examples.

The response to these campaigns must come from the international community, both regional and global, in the latter case from the United Nations Security Council the General Assembly is not enough. Today's counterparts of Sykes and Picot would have to come from the region, either as agents of neighbouring states redrawing their own borders or as commissioners of the regional community as embodied in the Arab League or the Arab Summit.

The shape of the settlement would also have to come from within the Middle East itself. At the same time, an external involvement is still required, again much as the United States was discreetly involved at Taif.

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Another relevant example is the Paris Conference of , which provided an end to the Cambodian civil war through the participation of the world powers involved in supporting Cambodian factions as well as representatives of the Cambodian parties. These conferences at Taif and Paris did not involve border changes directly but concerned the positions of the states concerned—Lebanon and Cambodia—within their regions. Once a regional reorganization was reached, the settlement would then have to go to the UNSC for approval. If the settlement emerged from a conference of the nature described here, such acceptance would not be difficult to achieve.

However, if the change were of a more unilateral nature, international and even regional acceptance would be more uneven. The standoff around Morocco's incorporation of the Western Sahara against Algerian opposition is an example of the difficulties that can arise. A Turkish annexation of pieces of the Ottoman empire beyond current Turkish borders would face a bumpy road to acceptance, possibly taking on the neo-Cold War dimensions of the Russian annexation of Crimea or the independence of Abkhazia or South Ossetia.

Another possibility might be a unilateral declaration of independence UDI , as practised in contemporary times by Kosovo or Eritrea. In both cases, the event was preceded by a bloody conflict and accompanied by international efforts to smooth the process; in the case of Kosovo, international recognition has been widespread but is not yet universal. Again, the huge hesitations of Palestine about announcing UDI and its only gradual efforts to improve its status illustrate the difficulties of new state creation.

The obstacles to international recognition, or even selective sponsorship, of new members of the Middle East state system are enormous. One actor has made a concerted effort to change the whole system and its membership—ISIS. It represents, contradictorily, both the ultimate attempt to institutionalize the Islamist movement by creating a state of its own to recall the Golden Age of the new Muslim political entity thirteen centuries ago, and at the same time the extreme form of carrying the struggle between dar al-Islam and dar al-harb into the territory of the latter by selfishly committed agents of the former.

While ISIS has claimed that it is not a territorial institution but a people's movement, it soon learned to function as a proto-state, organizing services for its people, instituting its form of justice, providing security, even creating social classes. Its record at these tasks is at best uneven, and it seems to be losing the battle for security as a territorial state. It has had more, if scattered, success as the ultimate form of violence against the West.

It is indeed a new form of action coming out of the area. Fortunately, it is at worst a Zika virus and certainly not an institutional health system, dedicatedly destructionist but incapable of building a new structure. The collection of articles presented in this issue of International Affairs shows by careful analysis that states in the Middle East have an existence that matters and at the same time is characteristically vulnerable, and that the imperfect Middle East state system is not on the brink of any major change, either in its components or in the regional order among them.

Those components are imperfect states, still growing to extend their authority to their borders but commanding a sense of identity that is larger than their own operations. Weber's ideal is a long way off, but most states are working at it. That is, indeed, probably the case with most aspiring states in the world; but while the Middle East may trail behind some more developed cases, in their several ways Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and probably even Iraq are undeniably states of various types, with recognized, often demarcated, though frequently very permeable, boundaries.

Their imperfections may enjoy a good deal of penetrating analysis, but Middle Eastern states are undeniably states, not something else Libya, Yemen and Syria aside , as the various contributions to this collection amply illustrate.


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  • These states are not likely to be rearranged into new shapes, for the reasons discussed above. The system of which they are all part is going through a new hot and cold war of its own on all three levels of sovereignty, divided by a struggle for religious authenticity that is itself animated by a struggle for rank and relations among the states. More broadly, the diminishing role up to the present of the United States and even Europe, elbowed out by Russia elbowing its way into the region, reflects important change in the regional drama.

    But the sovereign, bordered state actors are likely still to be recognizable. Though the predictive element of where sovereignty resides is more important to the central argument of this article, the purpose of the concept guides the application of sovereignty under changing global conditions.

    Popular sovereignty - Wikipedia

    The simplest functional definition of sovereignty is the boundary of power among independent states. First, sovereignty is the demarcation of powers among a system of states. Dekker eds. London, Boston, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, Xvi, Louis U.

    Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty

    Once so constituted, each had duties to the other. The state had the duty to protect the citizen by maintaining the peace at home and by intervening if he should be treated unjustly abroad. The citizen's duties included, most importantly, military service for protection of the realm. These duties were mutual. Finally, we may view sovereignty as the power and responsibility left to the state when horizontal and vertical claims of extraterritoriality and subsidiarity have been collated and integrated. It is itself not, however, a fact. It is rather through its agency that specific states exist.

    Without this fact, the development of the institutions of international law would not have been possible. It is State sovereignty as the consequence of this reality that is the spiritus movens, to which we owe the legal foundations of the contemporary international society. Stigall, The Myopia of U. Martinelli: Extraterritorial Jurisdiction in the 21st Century, 39 Geo. By the end of the nineteenth century, sovereignty was the key term, an abstract and artificial conception of authority, suitable for doctrinal definition.

    Throughout the Middle Ages, the concept of sovereignty literally referred to the sovereign kings and queens of the various European territories, as well as the Pope in Rome and the Holy Roman Emperor.

    The Principality of Sealand, and Its Case for Sovereign Recognition |

    The consolidation of national territories, the revelation of the widespread corruption within the Church, and the Reformation and subsequent wars of religion all challenged the traditional conception of sovereignty. Int'l Hum. A sovereign state is free to independently determine its own policy within the scope of sovereign prerogatives. Int'l Econ. A corollary is one of noninterference: one sovereign cannot assert jurisdiction whether legislative or judicial within another sovereign's territory.

    Soc'y Int'l L. From many modern perspectives, sovereignty and corollary exclusive rights are archaic remnants of a decaying and accidental international order. The dynamic of supreme authority within a domain and no authority outside of the domain also presents the tension between state sovereignty and international law. Private global trading, communications, cultural and scientific networks, and the liberal ideals that they support have eroded the vitality of the concept. Countries no longer enjoy absolute sovereignty in fixing their tax laws and rules.

    Once solely within individual states' control, crime-fighting has become a global venture. This opposition constitutes the identity of the concept of State sovereignty in international law. Thus, much of international law responds to the possibility that an act or omission by one state in its territory may affect others. Obviously, the fact that States must interact and, to some extent, need to act in harmony compels the use of international pacting. The complexities in defining sovereignty are encapsulated in the simple assertions that sovereignty is the demarcation of domains for independent states and that the states exercises absolute authority in their respective domains.

    Sovereignty is therefore a concept of division, creating a system of autonomous governments that exist over and serve distinct jurisdictions, beholden to no authority beyond their own specific delegations. Sovereignty may be accurately defined as a division among states, but this definition does not identify where one state ends and another begins. A more practical exploration of sovereignty therefore concerns the location or source of state sovereignty.

    Whether between states with conflicting exercises of jurisdiction or between scholars who argue the meaning of the term, debates over sovereignty focus on where and in what context the state is able to exercise its dominion. States and scholars have relate to commerce and industry, but they may extend to areas such as personal jurisdiction, e. McFaddon, one sovereign was implicitly waiving a small part of its absolute authority over conduct within its territory.

    Weaver, Illusion or Reality? State Sovereignty in Outer Space, 10 B. The attractiveness of a reallocation of sovereignty should be measured by reference to whether it allows social goals to be achieved more effectively. These various claims to sovereignty are explored below. First, sovereignty may be divided into various elements. As the term has been socially constructed, the various components of sovereignty involve territory, population, and authority.

    When broken down into components, the state consists of a defined territory, a permanent population, and a government that regulates its citizens while representing their interests. World Aff. Transnat'l L. First, traditional international law requires a State to control a territorial base with determinable boundaries.

    Each nation ultimately determines which interpretation to adopt and how to apply those principles to its own laws. The territorial principle is the most common basis of jurisdiction and is widely regarded as a manifestation of state sovereignty. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Xii, Territorially defined states possess sovereignty: they are free from external constraints, and the authority of their governments is supreme within their borders. Although territorial sovereignty is a commonplace concept in contemporary consciousness, this was not true at the time Grotius expounded his theory of international law.

    In fact, two other powerful and competing conceptions of sovereignty existed: popular sovereignty and universal sovereignty. According to the principles of popular 60 Robert E. At the turn of the century, this variegated substantive order had eroded and been replaced by a map of territorial jurisdictions, which removed international law from the business of substantive regulation. Global Legal Stud.

    The idea of sovereignty as a rigid border around national lands and national interests is insufficient. Important debates over conflicting jurisdictions arise when the activities of people cross or span territorial borders. Because the states are coequal, admitting no higher authority,72 the only system of authority that can moderate their disputes is a body of agreements among them. Can it be taken away from a state without that state's consent?

    Traditional international law, based on the Westphalian system, says no. To do so would destabilize the entire system of independently sovereign states, which operate horizontally with legal equality on the world stage subject to no higher authority. Michael J. John H. Under the classic formulation of this paradigm, each state is the ultimate and supreme political entity within its jurisdictional sphere. All that is left for international law under this paradigm is to govern relations between these sovereign political entities. Whether authority is based on nationality of actors or territorial location of events affecting those actors, states delineate their sovereignty through mutual treaties—this practice indicates a procedure for identifying the locus of sovereignty.

    By this measure, sovereignty is defined as legal authority that is recognized by a consensus of other states in the international community. Paul, Comity in International Law, 32 Harv.

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    In international law, there are five bases by which a state can exercise jurisdiction over a transnational crime: 1 territorial, 2 nationality, 3 personality, 4 protective, and 5 universal. This consensus-based definition of sovereignty may seem circular or impossible to identify with precision, but it fits the history of the sovereignty concept.

    Though a full history of how evolving political systems defined their domains is a subject for another paper, suffice it to say that territorial sovereignty has not always existed. Prior to the creation of the modern international system, the authority of political powers overlapped. The political change from the medieval to the modern world involved the construction of the delimited territorial state with exclusive authority over its domain. Coastal L. The Catholic Church had failed to assert its moral authority over nations at war with each other.

    The fall of both the Empire and the Church paved the way for the implementation of new ideas. At this critical historical juncture, the Grotian theory provided a new framework in which nation-states would become the architects of a new international legal order. After passage of the Treaty of Westphalia, however, the evaluation of whether to wage war increasingly became one of legal analysis. Gross, supra note 24, at Others, however, have observed that Westphalia did not create a system of sovereign states ex nihilo, but rather consolidated three hundred years of evolution toward such a system.

    See, e. We know that its roots go deeper in history and that it was not put in place throughout the world until decolonization occurred in the second half of the twentieth century. The important insight from the above history is that sovereignty was created by an international treaty—the Treaty of Westphalia. The fact that the system of sovereign, coequal states was implemented through a multilateral agreement indicates that sovereignty was created through a consensus of the interacting powers.

    A Westphalian state has firm boundaries, and it exercises control over the entry of legal norms into the polity. Beginning around the s with the Treaty of Westphalia, a nation's power was deemed to end at its border. Copyright Soc'y U. Sovereignty Explained To summarize the above observations, sovereignty is a system that delineates the reach of independent bodies of authority. Prior to the system of sovereign states, rulers claiming compulsory authority defined the reach of this authority through the people and land they could control. In other words, authority was a factual concept without legal delineation.

    Then, when these rulers mutually decided to limit their reach to separate zones of authority, they created a system of sovereignty. Each separate body of government 92 John H. Dayton L. The concept that international law is derived from consent as established by treaty or customary agreement replaced the pre-Westphalia use of natural law as a guide to relations. Duncan, Jr. In other words, sovereignty takes its contours from the relationships between citizens, their government, and the international community. As a result, sovereignty developed as and continues to be the product of mutual agreement among authorities.

    This is a critical observation regarding the nature of sovereignty. Sovereignty is not a territorial concept that governments mutually decide to ignore by entering into international agreements.

    Some Entities Are Defined By Culture Rather Than Geography

    Rather, the international agreements themselves are the true and only basis of sovereignty. Thus, when agreements among governments change how they define their jurisdictional reach, these agreements redefine the locus of sovereignty. Consider the example of an extradition treaty between the United States and Canada. Under such an agreement, the United States is trading an obligation to capture and return fugitives from Canada in exchange for the benefit of having Canada obligated to capture and return fugitives from the United States.

    Applying the above framework, this agreement is not an example of each state surrendering a degree of sovereignty by allowing the other state to exercise a claim of authority within its territorial borders. The result of this framework is the understanding that international treaties define and redefine the sovereignty of participating states.

    Section II. The Shift in Sovereignty from Territory to People Sovereignty is therefore comprehensively defined as the zone of absolute authority created through mutual recognition of government leaders. By acknowledging the distinct territories of participating governments through the Treaty of Westphalia, its signatory governments created a system of sovereignty based on territoriality.

    However, as movement and activity increasingly spanned borders with the rise of globalization, the system of territorial divisions has begun to break down. The decline of territorial sovereignty necessitates a new basis for distinguishing the separate spheres of modern nation-states. This section will present the politically organized nation as the superior basis of sovereignty and show how sovereignty is already shifting to a geography defined by people through the creation of international treaties.

    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty
    features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty Features of government deals with territory population and sovereignty

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