30. juli 2012

To be, or not to be - Smart Defence, sovereignty and Danish Defence Policy

The Centre for Military Studies have published the background memorandum "To be, or not to be - Smart Defence, Sovereignty and Danish Defence Policy".  The purpose of this memorandum is to throw light on sovereignty and the Danish defence and whether the concept of sovereignty is under transformation.

This background memorandum forms part of Centre for Military Studies' research-based public-sector service of the Danish Ministry of Defence. It is a translation of the earlier publication "Suverænitetsbegrebet under kontinuerlig forandring".

The concept of sovereignty is under transformation. The clear linkage between the state, its people, the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force and the territory is challenged by, amongst others, 'responsibility to protect' (R2P) and pooling and sharing in NATO.

Based on a review of literature, as well as a detailed study of certain sovereignty issues relating to the Danish Defence's enforcement of sovereignty and its involvement in international interventions, the paper presents a number of analytical perspectives on the transformation of the concept, and the relationship between state sovereignty and defence.

The paper identifies two main issues in this regard: firstly state alliance relationships, and secondly humanitarian considerations. Alliances represent both a way to safeguard, and a challenge to, state sovereignty. Collective self-defence mechanisms in alliances support small states' ability to enforce their own sovereignty, but simultaneously challenge sovereignty through pooling and sharing. The issue of humanitarian concerns is brought into play in relation to the global community and the UN. The concept of R2P has been developed over the past 15 years within the UN. This development focuses on humanitarian issues and aims, through a number of items, to improve human conditions and prevent genocide and other abuses of human rights. R2P thus challenges state sovereignty by creating a space for interference in other states' internal exercise of authority. Historically, Denmark has supported the UN, and it is likely that Denmark in the future will participate in interventions where the enforcement and protection of human rights take precedence over state sovereignty.

The conclusions are based upon a workshop conducted with an expert panel. This panel has subsequently carried out quality assurance of the paper. In the appendix a model is presented that can be utilised as a tool for further policy considerations of the concept of sovereignty. 

Download the publication in PDF-format here.