Contracting States

Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Relations

Alexander Cooley
Hendrik Spruyt
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Contracting States
    Book Description:

    Increasingly today nation-states are entering into agreements that involve the sharing or surrendering of parts of their sovereign powers and often leave the cession of authority incomplete or vague. But until now, we have known surprisingly little about how international actors design and implement these mixed-sovereignty arrangements.Contracting Statesuses the concept of "incomplete contracts"--agreements that are intentionally ambiguous and subject to future renegotiation--to explain how states divide and transfer their sovereign territory and functions, and demonstrate why some of these arrangements offer stable and lasting solutions while others ultimately collapse.

    Building on important advances in economics and law, Alexander Cooley and Hendrik Spruyt develop a highly original, interdisciplinary approach and apply it to a broad range of cases involving international sovereign political integration and disintegration. The authors reveal the importance of incomplete contracting in the decolonization of territories once held by Europe and the Soviet Union; U.S. overseas military basing agreements with host countries; and in regional economic-integration agreements such as the European Union. Cooley and Spruyt examine contemporary problems such as the Arab-Israeli dispute over water resources, and show why the international community inadequately prepared for Kosovo's independence.

    Contracting Statesprovides guidance to international policymakers about how states with equally legitimate claims on the same territory or asset can create flexible, durable solutions and avoid violent conflict.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3065-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  5. Chapter 1 Incomplete Sovereignty and International Relations
    (pp. 1-18)

    Territorial sovereignty presents us with a paradox. On the one hand, it forms the key constitutive rule in international relations.¹ In strict terms it denotes that the people within recognized territorial borders are masters of their own fate. No higher juridical authority exists above that of the national government. And all states are equal in international law. Sovereignty is thus highly desired. As we have witnessed in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and many other parts of the world, nations vie for their own state, and people fight and die for that cause.

    Yet on the other hand, the...

  6. Chapter 2 A Theory of Incomplete Contracting and State Sovereignty
    (pp. 19-47)

    What determines the organizational boundaries of states? When and how do states cede control over their sovereign assets and functions to an external actor? Can seemingly disparate patterns of sovereign integration and contraction be explained by a common logic?

    This chapter develops a theory of incomplete contracting and the transfer of state sovereignty. Complete contracts are agreements that aim to specify and proscribe behaviors for the contracting parties in such a way that covers every contingency. Incomplete contracts, as we argued in the previous chapter, leave terms to be specified because of procedural and strategic uncertainty. In the following chapters...

  7. Chapter 3 Severing the Ties That Bind: Sovereign Transfers in the Shadow of Empire
    (pp. 48-96)

    In the preceding chapters we argued that hybrid sovereignty agreements constitute incomplete contracts. In this chapter we examine how such incomplete contracts can help facilitate orderly and peaceful transfers of state sovereignty in cases of territorial disengagement. We apply our theoretical insights to several cases of twentieth-century decolonization in which parties concluded hybrid sovereignty agreements involving site-specific assets following what previously had been hierarchical governance. In other words, following the retreat of empire, two independent sovereign entities emerged—a new nation-state and a reduced former imperial state. However, new sovereign rights were rarely allocated in their entirety at the moment...

  8. APPENDIX 3.1 Overseas Basing Deployments of France and Britain since 1970 (Excluding Deployments in Europe, UN Operations, Iraq/Afghanistan)
    (pp. 97-99)
  9. Chapter 4 Incomplete Contracting and the Politics of U.S. Overseas Basing Agreements
    (pp. 100-141)

    In the previous chapter we explored how great powers across different decades used incomplete contracts over specific assets to facilitate the process of colonial disengagement. In this chapter, we examine the political consequences of incomplete contracts in another bilateral domain of sovereignty: the evolution of post–World War II U.S. overseas military basing agreements.

    The United States now stands at the center of a vast and complex global network of military bases, installations, and access arrangements.¹ Since WorldWar II, it has secured this network through a varied set of agreements concluded with allies, nonaligned states, occupied powers, and former colonies....

  10. Chapter 5 Incomplete Contracting and Modalities of Regional Integration
    (pp. 142-185)

    In the preceding chapters we explored how states negotiated transfers of sovereignty over territory and installations in bilateral settings. How did France negotiate a decolonization agreement with Algeria that allowed it to maintain military bases and to exploit hydrocarbons in its former colony? How did the Philippines and the United States apportion the sovereignty of U.S. military installations on Philippine territory? How did Russia sign agreements with some of the Union Republics that left the Baikonur cosmodrome and military installations in Russian hands? All of these agreements transformed previously hierarchical relations into hybrid sovereignty relations among independent states.

    In this...

  11. Chapter 6 Further Applications and Conclusions
    (pp. 186-206)

    We have argued that the nature of contracting in international relations affects how sovereignty is transferred among states and other international actors. In our historical case chapters we have offered new theoretical explanations for the timing and nature of post-imperial extrication, the evolution of U.S. overseas military basing agreements, and the varied institutional forms of regional economic integration. Our case studies included areas encompassing security issues, as well as the study of regional economic integration and contracting over specific economic assets.

    The cases examined sovereign transfers in bilateral settings, such as decolonization and U.S. basing arrangements, as well as contracts...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 207-224)
  13. Index
    (pp. 225-232)