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Basic Intro to Nation State:

The concept, notion and implementation of the management of geo political and international affairs in recent history through and between nation states is a process that began with the series of peace treaties between various warring parties of Europe that are generally grouped together as the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. It is the originator of the Westphalian style sovereignty which is considered a norm in the modern world as it is the source of origin of the concepts of nation states. Since the enactment of the Treaty of Westphalia, the nation-state has been the standard operating platform of the practice of international relations and the implementation of international law. To understand challenges to the nation state, a basic understanding of some core concepts is required. state a political/geo political entity nation a cultural, ethnic and/or ideological entity The term nation state implies that the two geographically coincide. Although nation state is a process that is still carrying on in different types and times in the world, it has become the dominant form of state organization. A sovereign state under international law needs to fulfill the following conditions: A: a permanent population B: A government C: the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a state should neither be dependent upon nor subject to any other power or state. Sovereignty itself is a controversial term.

Challenges to the Nation State:


The concept and implementation of the nation state faces two kinds of challenges in the modern world, originating from different sources yet interlinked.

1. Rigid Nature of Core Characteristics:


Originating from a continent torn by constant warfare and instability, the concept of nation states sought to liberate and unite the people of Europe at the same time.

It was meant to create a situation where power and wealth were removed from ownership of property to enterprises such as trade, commerce and multinational corporations operating in a system of rules and regulations decided by treaty and law making amongst nation states. This allowed much of the warfare in Europe to cease and a new era began where European nations focused their energies into justifying the colonization of the rest of the world and dividing the worlds population and resources amongst each other. The issues with this are: a. Easily applicable only to Europe which consisted of primarily homogenous socio-economic, religious and ethnic/racial diversity (with minute distinctions among nations rather than glaring differences as in many other parts of the world) b. Was custom created for a specific geographic location and time (war torn Europe of the 16th and 17th century) as one of the possible solutions for peace. Thereby, it was not very adaptable or enforceable on other parts of the world, or even the entirety of Europe itself. The European continental philosophy and thought behind it were not aligned with that of rest of the world. c. The core issue was never really resolved, i.e. the philosophy and method of humanity interacting and co-existing peacefully as a whole. It only delayed till even greater wars (the World Wars and the cold wars) took place and after another temporary peace, the age of neo-colonization of the old colonies began again. A unipolar world emerged with a dominant superpower ruling over weak and failed states. d. Contemporary challenges to the nation state are: Separatism, secessionism, irredentism (pakistans desire to regain Kashmir), ethnocentrism, globalisation and fundamentalism leading to mass uprising, armed resistance and/or terrorism.

2. Time Based:
The world at the time of the creation of the first nation states was radically different from the world of today, and thus there were no means to plan in advance for the rapid changes that were brought upon by events such as: The industrial revolution which completely changed the very socio-economic and cultural fabric of society.

Colonization and dealing with newly colonized and later newly independent nation states with radically different conditions than the European ones. Formulating new methods of interaction amongst new states and old ones, which proved very challenging and the creation and constant modification of international law, first enforced ineptly by the League of Nations and later the United Nations. There was little concept of how to deal with societies facing modernization, and issues such as: Globalization. Over population, pollution, infrastructure, economic regulation and international law still remain huge problems.

Thus, the greatest challenge to the nation state still remains, i.e. to forge a sustainable model of national and international development whilst respecting the rights and sovereignty of other nations of the world, and ensuring a peaceful and harmonious coexistence. The present model so far has not been very successful at this.

Crises of Sovereign State System:


Continuing from stating the challenges to the sovereign state system, the unaddressed challenges inevitably lead to crises of sovereign state systems. One of the biggest crises so far (and the source of many other crises revolving around wars and foreign invasions) is the problem of definition and interpretation of the concept of sovereignty. According to Lassa Oppenheim (considered the father of International Law): There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning which was universally agreed upon. This lack of proper definition has been the source of much exploitation of the natural resources of weaker countries (Africa, Suth Asia, South America), as well as constant foreign interventions (Syria, Libya, Egypt), illegal sanctions (Iran) and outright invasion (Afghanistan, Iraq). The Middle East seems to be in a state of extreme instability, violent conflict and turmoil due to the intentionally flawed implementation of the concept of state hood. Countries have been divided by leaving colonial rulers in haphazard ways that led to the division of

resources in a conflicted situation, rise of illegitimate rule, and displaced peoples such as the Kurds. Due to unregulated markets, free trade and mass globalization: Developing countries have had their economies crippled and natural resources exploited through corrupt means. Poor and developing countries have been severely hurt and had to bear the damage of the great economic meltdown of 2008. On the other hand, due to the great ethnic, socio-cultural and religious diversity of many parts of the world, the imported concept of nation states has wreaked havoc on previously harmonious and peaceful societies giving rise to such demons as: Violent separatist movements (Maoist movement, Baluchistan, Tamil Tigers) Extremism and fundamentalism (across Middle East, central Asia, India and Pakistan) Mass uprisings in the Middle East (Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain) Ethnic Cleansing (the Balkans, India, Burma and Thailand with the recent Buddhist massacres of Muslims) Other crises faced by nation states that are linked to the core principles of nations states and their exploitation or improper implementation: Destruction of local economies by ruthless multinationals (across all of the developing and third world) leading to a life of abject poverty and misery of the citizens of those countries and the occasional mass tragedies such as the Baldia Town Factory fire and the Bangladesh garment factory building collapse. Poverty, disease, malnutrition and famine unable to be dealt with due to artificial divisions created by nation states. Impending water crisis to be definite and inevitable cause for more warfare. Ticking population time bomb that will be difficult to solve without mass migration of people from over populated regions to less densely populated regions, also made impossible due to primitive and rigid constraints placed on individuals of nation states. Terrorism spreading across boundaries creating further unrest and conflict amongst states. Thus, it can be seen that the many crises of sovereign states need new thinking that takes into account the future of the entire human race as a whole and treats all of humanity as equals.