the myth of sovereignty
It may comfort some in the
However, these diagnoses are mistaken.
The dysfunctional international political system permits an
unconstrained superpower like the
What good is sovereignty as currently construed when it permits results like:
increasing embededness of the
2. Disempowered and insecure workers lured to the U.S. by bargain-hungry consumers, then maintained in a fearful, sub-legal status through symbolic raids that barely make a dent in the overall undocumented population, all serving to keep those bargains flowing and prop up the national security state;
nations of the utterly disenfranchised, at the mercy of greedy, incompetent
rulers in the face of economic breakdown (
The structural failures of the international political system which thwart meaningful democratic sovereignty are the real "root causes" of migration flows--4 million displaced in Iraq, 12 million undocumented in the U.S., many others leaving Zimbabwe and Burma if and when they can.
Some starting points for change might be:
1. A representative Security Council, not one dominated by five countries;
2. A General Assembly that makes meaningful, rather than symbolic decisions;
3. A General Assembly where votes are weighted proportional to population;
4. A realization of the feebleness of American democracy and recognition of the persistence of elite rule here and in other nominal democracies.
A case study:
With conditions growing worse in the vast, flooded Irrawaddy Delta region, the top
United Statesdiplomat in estimated that the death toll could rise as high as 100,000, from the official tally of 22,500. An accurate assessment might take days or weeks to emerge. Myanmar
Relief workers and survivors described scenes of horror as people huddled on spits of dry ground surrounded by bodies and animal carcasses floating in the murky water or lodged in mangrove trees.
mostly closed to foreign journalists, information was coming from aid agencies, residents and diplomats based there. Witnesses spoke of fights over dwindling supplies of food and clean water, of hordes of people overwhelming the few shops still open. Myanmar
. . .
The political party of the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, has called for international aid. But the generals who run
are obviously reluctant to allow large numbers of foreigners in, especially with a referendum looming on a proposed Constitution backed by the military. Myanmar
Washington, the White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Wednesday that still had not responded to its offers of aid. "Everybody can understand that there is no substitute for being there on the ground to help people directly, and trying to do so remotely is going to be impossible," she said. Myanmar
There is an American disaster relief team waiting in
, Mr. Kouchner said that the French, British and Indian navies had ships directly opposite the worst-hit areas. Paris
"It would only take half an hour for the French boats and French helicopters to reach the disaster area, and I imagine it's the same story for our British friends," he said. "We are putting constant pressure on the Burmese authorities, but we haven't yet got the go-ahead."
There is something seriously wrong with this picture, and resolving these problems will require a more comprehensive, holistic approach than has been considered to date.