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Chapter

12. The Modern State  

Characteristics, Capabilities, and Consequences

Anna Persson

This chapter examines the concept of the modern state in a developing world context. More specifically, it considers the characteristics and capabilities that define the modern state and the extent to which the state can be regarded as an autonomous actor with the potential to influence development outcomes. After providing an overview of the role of the state as a potential driver of development, the chapter discusses statehood in the contemporary world and how the evolution of the modern state can be understood. It then asks how different patterns of state formation affect the ways that states further consolidate and develop. It also explains the distinction between the ‘weak’ state found in the majority of developing countries and the ‘strong’ state typically found in the industrialized parts of the world. Finally, it tackles the question of institutional reform from ‘the outside’ and its implications for development.

Chapter

9. States, nations, and colonies  

The law and politics of self-determination

This chapter investigates how-and how effectively-international law strikes a balance between the individual and collective rights of people, and the prerogatives of sovereign states. It begins by exploring the what, who, and where of self-determination. Self-determination is a concept that has meant different things to different people at different times. Its meaning under international law can only be understood in relation to the shifting paradigms of international politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The chapter discusses the Wilsonian principle of self-determination and its partial application during the interwar period. It then turns to the post-Second World War rebirth of self-determination as a right of colonized peoples to independent statehood. The chapter also considers the concept of internal self-determination, before analysing what external self-determination has come to mean in non-colonial contexts and the problem of remedial secession. Finally, it examines the law and politics of recognition of statehood.

Chapter

This chapter explores the justness, legitimacy, and legality of war. While 1945 was a key turning point in the codification of jus ad bellum (i.e. international law on the use of force), that framework did not emerge in a vacuum. Rather, it was the product of historical political contingencies that meant that codification of the laws of war was contemporaneous, both geographically and temporally, with the solidification of the norms of sovereign nation-statehood and territorial integrity. The chapter focuses on the UN Charter regime and how it has shaped the politics of war since 1945. Importantly, the Charter establishes a general prohibition on the use of force in international relations. It also grants two exceptions to the prohibition: actions undertaken with Security Council authorization and actions taken in self-defence. Today, many of the most serious challenges to the Charter regime concern the definition and outer limits of the concept of self-defence. Another set of challenges to the Charter regime concerns the contested concept of ‘humanitarian intervention’. The chapter then looks at the development of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ doctrine.

Chapter

This chapter traces the origins and the entry of Middle East states into the international system after the First World War. The modern states of the Arab Middle East emerged from the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the post-First World War settlement. The fall of the Ottoman Empire left the Turks and Arabs ready for statehood, although unprepared for dealing with the international system. Indeed, the Palestine crisis brought to light Arab weaknesses in the international arena and in regional affairs that were a legacy of the way in which the colonial powers shaped the emergence of the modern Middle East. Ultimately, the emergence of the state system in the Middle East is a history both of the creation of stable states and of destabilizing conflicts.