Who is Sovereign?
Richard H. Steinberg
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law
UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 04-14
All states are legally sovereign. However, as a behavioral matter, most states lack the institutional or political capacity to fully exercise the authority associated with legal sovereignty. This article argues that states vary in the extent to which they are behaviorally sovereign, depending on the extent of their domestic institutional development and global power. This perspective exposes the myth that the sovereignty of all states is weakening: purported challenges from nonstate actors, international organizations, and other changes in the global social or political environment are neither eroding the state system nor diminishing the enjoyment of behavioral sovereignty by powerful states.
Keywords: state sovereignty, international organizations
Date posted: September 21, 2004
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