Has Glob­al­iza­tion Caused Death of Na­tion-states?

The Diplomatic Insight - - Globalization - * Yawar Ab­bas

Glob­al­iza­tion is the in­creas­ing in­ter­ac­tion, in­te­gra­tion, in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness and in­ter­de­pen­dence of peo­ple across the globe. The phe­nom­e­non is marked by the de-ter­ri­to­ri­al­i­sa­tion of po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties as well as de­na­tion­al­iza­tion of po­lit­i­cal power. The ex­change of goods, tech­nol­ogy, money, ser­vices and ideas is now deeper, cheaper and faster. Glob­al­iza­tion is the in­te­gra­tion of­world in such away that events in one part of the world af­fect other parts of the world. The phe­nom­e­non has re­sulted into mass-mi­gra­tion across the na­tional bor­ders in an un­prece­dented man­ner thanks to the tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced means of trav­el­ling. Glob­al­iza­tion has a trans­for­ma­tional ef­fect on the po­lit­i­cal, cul­tural, eco­nomic, so­cial and ide­o­log­i­cal di­men­sions of com­mu­ni­ties around the world, which are now in­creas­ing­ly­more in­te­grated then they had ever been be­fore in the his­tory of mankind. The ex­change of ideas and in­for­ma­tion through the lat­est tech­nol­ogy of mo­bile phones and in­ter­net has chal­lenged the tra­di­tional norms of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics. There are two views about the chal­lenges posed to the tra­di­tional state-cen­tric model of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics by glob­al­iza­tion. A pre­dom­i­nant view is that glob­al­iza­tion has re­sulted in mak­ing the na­tion-states, which were tra­di­tion­ally con­sid­ered as the fun­da­men­tal and most im­por­tant ac­tor of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics, 'ir­rel­e­vant'. Ac­cord­ing to the pro­po­nents of this view, who will hence­forth be re­ferred to as the 'Glob­al­ists', the phe­nom­e­non of glob­al­iza­tion has re­placed the state-cen­tric model of world pol­i­tics by a global so­ci­ety or the so-called global vil­lage, which is char­ac­ter­ized by a more ho­mo­ge­neous com­mu­nity. The global vil­lage is like a melt­ing-pot, where the tra­di­tional iden­ti­ties of state-hood and na­tion­al­ity are eroded. An al­ter­na­tive and di­a­met­ri­cally op­po­site view is that if the phe­nom­e­non of glob­al­iza­tion ex­ists at all, it is nothing new, and the ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions can­not al­ter the fun­da­men­tal re­al­i­ties of in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics. This school of 'Tra­di­tion­al­ists' also be­lieves that states will re­main the cen­tral fea­ture of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem, re­gard­less of the level of

so­phis­ti­ca­tion in tech­nol­ogy. The pre­ced­ing para­graphs will shed light on both of th­ese views and their ma­jor ar­gu­ments. The tra­di­tion­al­ists be­lieve that the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem will not be able to work without na­tion-states. In case there are no na­tion­states, mul­ti­far­i­ous prob­lems will come to forth. States are in­dis­pen­si­ble for many rea­sons, such as: for levy­ing and col­lect­ing taxes; pro­vid­ing wel­fare to their peo­ple; main­tain­ing armed forces for pro­vi­sion of se­cu­rity to their cit­i­zens; en­forc­ing law and or­der in their re­spec­tive ter­ri­to­ries; and defin­ing rights and du­ties of their cit­i­zens. The sys­tem of na­tion-states is thus in­dis­pen­si­ble for pre­vent­ing an­ar­chy and chaos in the­world. How­ever, those who talk of “the death of the West­phalian sovereignty”, say that the phe­nom­e­non of glob­al­iza­tion has changed the re­al­i­ties of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem in nu­mer­ous ways and hence, many no­tions of the tra­di­tion­al­ists are be­com­ing ob­so­lete. The as­sump­tion of the tra­di­tion­al­ists that na­tion-states are the fun­da­men­tal units of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem and that a na­tion-state has ab­so­lute sovereignty over its ter­ri­tory and its peo­ple, is also termed as un­re­al­is­tic. Gone are the days of the West­phalian states that had clearly de­fined bor­ders, na­tional pop­u­la­tion, in­de­pen­dent and sov­er­eign gov­ern­ment, which had sovereignty over its cit­i­zens and bor­ders. In­stead, the world has ush­ered into a global age; West­phalian States are now a thing of the past. The age of glob­al­iza­tion has de­stroyed bor­ders. The bor­ders may be present on maps, but in re­al­ity they have blurred. The big­gest ex­am­ple is that of the Eu­ro­pean Union. The peo­ple of the EU coun­tries travel across border without visa or even travel doc­u­ments. Ger­mans are no more Ger­mans, French are no more French; they travel freely across their bor­ders, they speak English and even Chi­nese, travel in Ja­panese cars and watch Amer­i­can movies. The con­cept of na­tional pop­u­la­tion un­der a sov­er­eign au­thor­ity has eroded; peo­ple now be­long to a global pop­u­la­tion; their con­cerns are global.

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