January 06, 2005

Sovereignty Reform

David Frum asks:

Burma's Losses

Meanwhile, it seems likely that Burma too suffered horribly from the tsunami – but that the suffering is being concealed from the world by that country’s corrupt and brutal military government. Question: By what right does a small group of violent men deny their people access to international help after a disaster? Looking back on Rwanda, many people around the world came to reject the idea that “sovereignty” entitled a government to massacre its people. But what about consciously dooming people to death by abandonment – can the claim of “sovereignty”really entitle a government to do that?

The question, unfortunately, is dangerously incomplete as asked. The problem is not sovereignty challenges per se but leaving things open ended like that means that it's at least even odds that you'll end up with a variant of one of the pre-westphalian international system (with all their bloody problems) rather than any actual post-westphalian improvement. It's a shame, really.

Posted by TMLutas at January 6, 2005 09:47 PM