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31 August 2014

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Thank you Confused Ponderer.

The conundrum of the nation state was posed at least as early as 1999 by Sir Michael Howard.

You suggested: "And yet a fundamental dilemma remains: The only entity able to violate another nation’s sovereignty is another nation state.

To put it a bit pointedly: The nation-state is precisely what liberals and neo-liberals see as the problem."

Sir Michael pointed out that the Nation State, however, is the only entity that can enter international treaties and enforce their terms on their own populations. Hence the idea of weakening the nation state by trying to create supposed allegiance to a higher form of organisation or ideal creates problems since it by definition loosens the fetters on the ethnic or religious factions suppressed and contained within each nation.

There are thus consequences of weakening the concept of the Westphalian nation state. Yes we held Hitler accountable to a higher ideal - responsibility to protect against humanitarian crimes. The same allegiance to a higher ideal destroyed Iraq, Syria and perhaps other nation states like Libya. The possibility of acension to the higher ideal of EU and NATO membership was all that was required to ignite ethnic war in the Ukraine. Scotland is now pondering independence, arguably weakening Britain in the process. Mexico, the Middle East and other countries find themselves dealing with transnational gangs involved in purveying drugs or a perverted form of religion like ISIS. Transnational companies with revenues exceeding many nations GDP now dictate policy in many nations.

All these in my opinion are unavoidable consequences of weakening the concept of the nation state in favour of higher ideals - "responsibility to protect", "crimes against humanity", "self determination", call it what you will.

Perhaps the downside of this alleged morality play will only become apparent when it hits closer to home; perhaps Texas decides to secede in an act of self determination? The South rises again anyone?

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