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Adam Segal of the Council of Foreign Relationsrecently labelled State sovereignty as a more 19th century concern. Considering the continuing evolution of the Responsibility to Protect and events in Iraq, Afganistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, is Mr Segal correct? Are we becoming sufficiently globalised to consider State Sovereignty less of a concern than it was in the 19th century? The centrality and importance that debates over security and immigration have or had in most of the current or recent elections around the world argues that Sovereignty is far from dead. Nonetheless, the recent and continuing crisis in the global financial system provides support for Mr Segal’s position.

Are we seeing a trend away from the centrality of Sovereignty in international and domestic law? Are we approaching a tipping point, after which globalisation will continue to inexorably strip away Sovereignty? Alternatively, is the current global position a low point for Sovereignty, from which we will return to a less globalised position, at least from the point of view of international and domestic law? Your thoughts?

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The Lowy Institute is an independent international policy think tank based in Sydney. Its objective is to generate new ideas and dialogue on international developments and Australia’s role in the world. Its mandate is broad. It ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia – economic, political and strategic – and it is not limited to a particular geographic region.

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THE RED TELEPHONE is the newsblog and discussion forum of the International Law Committee of NSW Young Lawyers, a division of the Law Society of New South Wales.

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