Nation states play a significant role in the promotion and enforcement of World Order. The nation states, through compliance with international law and multilateralism retain a significant impact in the enforcement and maintenance of the idealistic notion of World Order, defined as the sole existence of global peace and stability and an absence of conflict. However, state sovereignty and a lack of political will can ultimately impede on the effective enforcement of World Order. Nonetheless, as highlighted by the international humanitarian intervention in March 2011, nation states play a pivotal role in achieving world order.
Whilst nation states have a responsibility to protect, state sovereignty ultimately hinders the achievement of world order. State sovereignty relies to the ultimate law-making process of a state over its territory and population, including independence from external interference, as exemplified domestically in Section 51 of the Australian Constitution. Article 2(7) of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) (1945), stipulates that ‘nothing in the present Charter shall authorize the interference of any state’. Due to the non-mandatory nature of multilateral compliance, states can ultimately impede the influence of international law and use state sovereignty as a barrier to their conduct, as shown in the conflicts of Sudan, Kosovo, Libya and East Timor.
However, the nationally acclaimed benchmark ‘Responsibility to Protect (R2P) (2005)’, originating from the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s Report, places the onus on nation states to ensure the protection of their citizens from instances of mass atrocity. The UN, enshrining of their doctrine under paragraph 138 and 139 of the Charter of the UN, bridges the limitations of state sovereignty with international law. Unfortunately, nation states may still abstain from participation with international law due to the lack of political will. Despite nation states’ obligation to uphold the enforceable doctrine of the R2P, the hindrances of state sovereignty and a lack of political will prohibit the achievement of world order.
Nation states have the ability to participate in multilateral treaties in order to achieve world order. Comprising of the majority of international law, treaties are binding agreements voluntarily entered into by states. The compliance and ordering of nation states are monitored, as exemplified in Article 102 of the Charter of the UN, declaring that ‘every treaty shall be registered with the UN Secretariat’, in order to guarantee member nations’ proactivity to attaining world order. Multilateral treaties such as the Geneva Convention 1949, of which Australia ratified under the Geneva Convention Act 1957 (Commonwealth (Cth)), together with the Hague Conventions 1907, form the basis of international law in order to guarantee nation states’ adherence to the rules regarding the conduct of hostilities.
Other significant treaties such as the ANZUS treaty between the USA, New Zealand and Australia and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) 1968, advocate the importance of multilateralism and the global cooperation of nation states to achieve world order. However, due to the non-mandatory nature of multilateral compliance, nation states may refuse to participate in particular treaties, thus inhibiting the effectiveness of unanimous global cooperation, such as Pakistan’s refusal to sign the NPT. Despite the consensual nature of multilateralism, nation states play a significant role in the ratifying and compliance of treaties in order to achieve world order.
Nation state splay a pivotal role in the establishment of international courts to prosecute individuals and nations whose atrocities conduct predisposes world order. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court 1998, of which Australia ratified under the ICC Act 2003, is an enforceable court that can prosecute direct offenders of crime of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Most notable was the Prosecutor v al-Bashir (2009 ICC), whereby the Sudanese President was convicted for more than 15 counts of mass atrocity crimes.
The significance of the role of the nation states in regards to the ICC is highlighted through their ability to provide witnesses and evidence and have members of that state prosecuted if they are in breach of international humanitarian law. However, a contentious argument against the role of member nations within the ICC is that non-signatory states can jeopardise the jurisdiction of the aforesaid mentioned crimes and may only prosecute offenders from nation states signatory to the Rome Statute. Nonetheless, regardless of the limited jurisdiction, a nation states contribution to enforceable international courts contributes to the achievement of world order.
Finally, the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) requires nation states’ collaboration and support in order to effectively enforce and maintain world order. Replacing the League of Nations, Chapter VII of the Charter of the UN details the roles and responsibility of the UNSC and authorizes the humanitarian intervention of an nation state when in breach of international humanitarian law in order to ‘restore international peace and security’ (Article 39, Chapter VII, UN Charter).
However, a contentious argument against the UNSC is that the permanent 5 members of the council (USA, France, Russia, Great Britain and China) have the ability to exercise their ‘power to veto’ towards any UNSC resolution, thereby hampering substantial reform and highlighting the significant roles of each permanent 5 member nation state. Furthermore, motivating military intervention from nation states whose interests are obviously not at stake, is difficult, despite the fact that the UN Charter can clearly justify humanitarian intervention. It is hereby evident that despite the UNSC’s ability to directly restore and enforce world order, it is the role of the individual nation states that is penultimate in achieving world order.
The idealistic notion of world order relies directly on the individual response of every nation state. Whilst multilateralism, global cooperation and compliance with international law will eventuate in the achievement of world order, the barrier of state sovereignty and political will apprehend such successful attainment. Hence, nation states play a significant role in achieving world order.