November 22, 2020

WHY RHODE ISLAND IS NOT A NATION:

The Trouble(s) with 'Sovereignty' (KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON, November 22, 2020, National Review)

A sovereignty that undermines the ability to achieve U.S. goals is rhetorical sovereignty, not real sovereignty.

The question for the United States -- one question, anyway -- is: How should we go about preserving and expanding our ability to act not only in principle but in fact? This is a very difficult question, and one that American policymakers are in some ways poorly placed to answer owing to the narrowness of contemporary American vision. We are fixated on nation-state competitors such as China and Russia, but competitors to U.S. power and counterforces to U.S. action now include forces that are more powerful and more slippery than traditional political actors. We are reasonably adept at confronting transnational forces (some of them genuinely global) in the form of ideologies such as Communism or quasi-ideologies such as Islamism, but we are less prepared to deal with epidemics magnified by cheap and accessible travel, accelerating economic disruptions from emerging technologies, fast capital, climate change, and other factors that cannot be bribed, bombed, or sanctioned into submission.

Sovereignty or "sovereignty"? It is not entirely clear that Washington knows which it wants, that it can tell the two apart, or that it even understands that there is a difference.

The real problem is that if polities are going to trade amongst themselves--an obvious good--it is useful to have a set of rules and a third-party arbiter when disputes arise.  This makes trade the one area where a surrender of some sliver of sovereignty is appropriate.  Of course, the easy way out of this quandary is to simply trade freely even with protectionist regimes.  



Posted by at November 22, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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