Rethinking the States System: From the Classical Westphalian State to the Neo-Westphalian State


The United Nations is grounded on the Westphalian state system. Throughout the de-colonizationperiod, the Organization ceased to be peculiar to the West only, and soon became the prevalent model in theentire globe. The Cold War also solidified and institutionalized the Westphalian State as the fundamentalprinciple in international relations. The end of the Cold War, however, along with the collapse of theEastern bloc, the challenges of peace and security in Africa, and the failure of the states in coping withhumanitarian crises increasingly made the three fundamental principles of Westphalian state, namely the“non-interventionism”, “sovereign-equality” and “territoriality” disputable among political scientists. Newapproaches and arguments on the end of the Classical Westphalian state and the emergence of a so-called“New Medieval Age” have widely been circulated. This paper alternatively suggests that, since the end of thecold war, the world politics has gradually and decisively been evolving into a system of states that could becalled Neo-Westphalian.


Sovereignity nationalism nation-state Westphalian state territoriality non-interventionism.