This paper proposes that the concept of state sovereignty as seen in modern international relations has outgrown its former usefulness It forces state actors to covertly rely on non state actors in order to carry out foreign policy objectives and it has driven state actors to preserve and enforce notions of sovereignty even in cases where doing so is detrimental In the modern era powerful state actors have found themselves locked in the relentless and unending pursuit of power regardless of how powerful they are nations always strive to be both stronger than they formerly were and stronger than all other nations However the notion of state sovereignty a concept described as supreme authority within a territory
Sovereignty has complicated this pursuit especially after the end of World War Two After the Second World War superpowers such as the Soviet Union and the United States were never directly at war with each other in spite of their radically different beliefs In their bids to defeat the opposing power on all fronts both nations turned to non state actors in order to fulfill their goals through proxy wars an example being the Soviet Afghan war During the Soviet Afghan War the United States saw a Soviet controlled Afghanistan as a threat to its allies and influence in the wider Persian Gulf and the CIA funneled billions of dollars to the anti Soviet Mujahideen which included foreign fighters and various Arab supporters including one Osama Bin Laden Sjursen in order to prevent this Although this funding led to a Soviet defeat in 1989 it also caused a host of unintended consequences which are known as blowback Sjursen
The Mujahideen emphasized Islamic fundamentalism in order to distinguish itself from the atheist Soviet forces they fought against but after the end of the war the Islamist fervour that fuelled the Mujahideen was still present This combined with the massive quantities of weaponry and military technology the Mujahideen received from the CIA led to another Afghani Civil War which ended in 1992 with a decisive Mujahideen victory despite the fact that the CIA ended its aid in the same year Goldman This led to the rise of the Taliban which in turn led to the NATO led War in Afghanistan Similar consequences were seen recently in the Iraq War where American policymakers allowed private military companies such as Blackwater to respond to challenges the American military was unable to deal with an act which led to several human rights abuses and international outcry
Since non state actors are not bound by the same set of international laws and regulations observed by state actors they often commit acts that violate international agreements and rules In the examples of Iraq and Afghanistan one state actor s dependence on the ability to influence local non state actors in areas of interest have led to long lasting negative consequences which have been injurious to both the nations of interest and the state actors carrying out these acts It is also apparent that modern day attempts to uphold and enforce state sovereignty are often against the best interests of the people upon whom the sovereignty is applied to The US led NATO intervention in Afghanistan which was conducted under the banner of the International Security Assistance Force or ISAF overthrew the preexisting Taliban regime and replaced it with a democratic government led by Hamid Karzai Under Karzai Afghanistan has been consistently ranked as one of the most corrupt nations on the planet Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 an issue which has caused chronic instability and has bolstered Taliban insurgents Swenson Before 9 11 the United States attempted to use non state actors simply in order to nullify a existing threat which was the Soviet Union at the time with little to no regard for the long term consequences After 9 11 however the United States took a different approach strengthening state actors in order to fight violent non state actors more effectively However a multitude of factors such as endemic corruption warlordism and near nonexistent public welfare institutions such as educational systems healthcare etc led to the failure of this goal which in turn led to the strengthening of local warlords and Taliban insurgents By attempting to strengthen a state actor in order to ensure its sovereignty ISAF has inadvertently enfeebled a state actor fortified violent non state actors and weakened the sovereignty of the nation In conclusion the concept of state sovereignty has made state actors rely on shady and dishonest dealings with non state actors in order to accomplish their goals in cases where regular state intervention is unallowed or where doing so would draw criticism from the international community in addition to making states so focused on ensuring state sovereignty for all that they neglect state building responsibilities
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