The Current International System Based Upon State Sovereignty

1511 Words Sep 17th, 2015 null Page
Since the late twentieth century, there has been much discussion and debate about the future of the current international system based upon state sovereignty. While, ‘[t]he state has long been accepted as international law’s central actor’, and the notion of sovereignty may seem natural and unchangeable, it has only been the organising principle for the international system for a short time. The world was not always organised on a territorial basis, it was not until the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, with the end of the Thirty Years War, in 1648, and the singing of the Westphalian Peace Treaties that the system of sovereign states was created. This Westphalian agreement created a system where the power of each state was contained within that state’s territorial boundaries; ‘territorial integrity became the ultimate symbol of self-determination as a people’ The agreements of sovereignty made at Westphalia also meant that states were now the supreme authority within their own borders, ‘regardless of their size, population or power.’ The Treaty of Westphalia also granted states the right to determine their own domestic policies without fear of interference, coercion, or intervention from other states. ‘As Europe colonised much of the rest of the world from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, the [European] state system spread around the globe’ and became the defining characteristic of the international political social order. Most of the international…

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