TED Conversations

Lindsay Newland Bowker


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What are the limits of sovereignty? Are we clear on international norms?

Present debate on what to do about Syrias use of chemical weapons on rebels/government opponents takes us back to the broader issue of the limits of sovereignty. It seems apparent that we don't have shared global values on a country's interior use of chemical weapons or what to do about it even though this ostensibly has been a matter of global consensus since the end of World War II. .What action is justified and is it ok for anyone nation to act alone without a global consensus on the basis of "protecting its national interests"?

(I will add links to several TED convesrations we have had in the past on global values and global governance)


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  • Sep 8 2013: unfortunately the current situation seems to be redefining the issue of sovereignty along the line of 'might makes right'.
    • Sep 9 2013: No redefining. That's how it always was, and probably always will be.
      Its just not very apparent in peace time when all the might is focused in the hands of the sovereign, and people get used to it enough to stop questioning it.

      Monopoly on violence is as crucial a concept to the state to function as a state as sovereignty is.
    • Sep 12 2013: Robert Mcdade.

      You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.

      What choices will OBAMA make to earn his place in History?
      Will he be another Ivan the Terrible?

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