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 10 2013: I don’t think sovereignty is an issue if a country is in a serious failed state. Early intervention like sanctions does not involve sovereignty and I believe very seriously failed states must loose there right of sovereignty. In a ranking system loss of sovereignty would be attached to set of rankings automatically (genocide for example would trigger the loss of sovereignty)

    In criminal law your property rights do not protect you from the police and I think the same applies to seriously failed states.
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      Sep 10 2013: well said

      I am in complete agreement.

      How does Syrias ranking as #13 among the worlds "failed nations" affect intervention there now ahead of the 12 other more seriously failed nations?

      Are All nations on the ranking of "failed nations" then on notice that they no longer have any sovereignty?
    • Sep 12 2013: I oppose sanctions by one economic state over another.
      The result is a pressure upon the citizens, and not their

      The cutting off the head however is a better solution.
      But the flaw is of course retaliation, as we have seen
      George W. Bush perform for the failed assassination
      attempt of GHW Bush, made by Saddam Hussein.
      Only gossip of course. But then, what isn't?

      We the people living on this planet are too wrapped up
      in ownership, sovereignty, and geographical governments.
      Nomadic life has lost it's appeal, and most of it's populations.

      Thinking, acting, opposing, are all attributes of citizens that
      have no impact upon geographical governments, who merely
      ignore them until they become too boisterous.

      Shadow governments will prevail over the next couple hundred
      years as communications survived surveillances and babel is
      lost to understanding. A slow process that might be stopped
      by mother nature, if the co2 scientists are right. If they are, then
      it's back to the caves and drawing board. reboot.

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