The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of States

By Robert Jackson | Go to book overview

11 Failed States and International Trusteeship

This chapter addresses the question whether international society has or should have any responsibility concerning the domestic civil conditions of independent countries. Some states clearly are a calamitous reality for their populations. But do they constitute a normative problem for international relations? Who is responsible for the uncivil and often unsafe domestic conditions of what are usually termed failed states? Are the government and citizens of those countries responsible? Is the society of states responsible? Is there any place for international trusteeships or protectorates in contemporary international society?


Sovereignty Can Be Dangerous

Anybody who pays attention to world politics will be aware of independent countries which fail to safeguard basic civil conditions domestically and which consequently contradict the usual normative justifications for sovereign statehood. 1 Some states could accurately and legitimately be advertised by the following public notice posted on large signs at all border entrances: 'Warning: this country can be dangerous to your health.' Foreign governments are well aware of unsafe countries and they make it their policy to advise their citizens to avoid them. Some countries are only unsafe for foreigners. They fail to fulfil Kant's third article of perpetual peace: universal hospitality. 2 But some countries present a hazard to their own populations as well. Some countries are safer for foreigners than they are for their citizens: that is, they are more civilized internationally than they are domestically. Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Congo (Zaire), Georgia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka,

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