The Sovereign State in the International System

  • F. H. Hinsley


Bruce Miller is justly renowned for his sound and sober judgements on all things to do with international relations, but his penetrating practicality has nowhere been displayed to better effect than in his observations on that most elusive and much-debated subject — the quality of sovereignty. The questions he has asked about it, as in The World of States (1981) and particularly in the fine essay there on ‘The Significance of the Sovereign State’, are eminently the relevant questions. What is it about the sovereign state that has enabled it to survive and multiply in the teeth of perpetual criticisms, and often in unpromising circumstances? Why the absence of alternative forms of political organisation? Given that the sovereign state may confidently be expected to survive, how is the international system likely to evolve? What, for the sovereign state, are the likely consequences of the further evolution of the international system? The answers he has provided to these questions are no less eminently satisfying; and it is only because they are characteristically as quiet and as unobtrusive as they are convincing that there is any call to expand on them. What follows does no more than amplify his conclusions by offering some views on what constitutes sovereignty in international affairs.


International Relation Security Council International System Sovereign State Body Politic 
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Copyright information

© Robert O’Neill and R. J. Vincent 1990

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  • F. H. Hinsley

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