States without Power and Power without States

By Totelecan, Silviu G. | International Journal on Humanistic Ideology, Autumn 2015 | Go to article overview

States without Power and Power without States


Totelecan, Silviu G., International Journal on Humanistic Ideology


In the spring of 2014, the people of Crimea were the subject of a "selfdetermination referendum", held on March 16th, in which the population was asked to "freely decide" (many will say that the decision was taken with the gun pointed at their heads) if they want to join Russia as a federal subject, or to maintain their status as a part of Ukraine. Two months later, on May 24th, a gunman (member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels and killed four people - that preamble of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and of the November 2015 Paris attacks when the Islamic State killed another 130 people. On December 9th 2015, at its 7573rd meeting, the United Nations Security Council adopted a historic resolution on youth, peace and security (no. 2250), "which for the first time in its history focuses entirely on the role of young men and women in peacebuilding and countering violent extremism" (press release, www.un.org).

The cases that these moments represents are neither archetypes nor singularities, but they could briefly outline the large space that exists between the global declarations of life cherishing (such the one of the UN) and the worldwide actions that despised it as much, between the military intervention of a state into the affairs of another one (states without power) and the intrusions of the non-states actors (power without states) around the globe. Even though it has become clear that the non-state actors, as much as the nation states, can act and get the same impact over the regional/international/global political environment, unfortunately, the nowadays harmful combination between the emergent side effects of the power loss by states (I have in mind outcomes such as the structural disintegration of the statehood, its division and retribalization, and not necessarily eventual positive effects as the increase of democratic attitudes or decision making at the grassroots level) and the gain of power by infra/supra-national socio-spatial entities has not received yet proper solutions (either peacefully or militarily).

Up to the Syrian case that speeded up the global dynamics, we used to see the dissolution of the states (e.g., it is two decades since the USSR broke up; the breakup of Yugoslavia occurred during the early 1990s; the dissolution of Czechoslovakia took effect on 1 January 1993; in this decade, the Arab Spring, and Arab Winter after mid-2012, started to question and even dissolve the sovereign borders in the Middle East and North Africa), and the worldwide terrorist acts (The terrorism is not a 21st century phenomenon, having its roots in the early resistance and political movements, though the use of terrorism to further a political cause has accelerated in the recent years.) as phenomena with their own histories that went alongside without major interferences. The attacks of 11 September 2001, known as 9/11, marked a turning point in world history and the beginning of the 'War on Terror' (which subsequently led to the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003); from a concentration of terrorist acts in Latin America and Asia (pre-9/11), the shift towards Middle East, US and Europe has brought to the forefront the idea that no place on earth is safe anymore. On the one hand, as individuals, groups, and societies, and, on the other, as citizens, states, and transnational institutions, no such entity can escape from the paradigmatic shift that has in its core the reinterpretation of sovereignty in correlation with the consequences of the nowadays warfare, from the most silent ones, to those full of destructions caused by terrorist acts and military interventions (often claimed to be necessary for peace restoration).

After the increasing number of tragic events that hit Europe and also the whole world, the interest in sovereignty issues and its related aspects has grown fast everywhere, including Romania; which was not so much the case in the middle of 2013, when we launched the call for the IJHI's 12th issue - Property and/or Sovereignty. …

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