Anarchy is basic to state-centric International Relations because sovereignty is basic to state-centric International Relations. As Hinsley (1966) and others have demonstrated, ‘sovereignty’ emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a double-headed notion. On the one hand, rulers were sovereign insofar as they accepted no internal, ‘domestic’ equals; while on the other, they were sovereign insofar as they accepted no external, ‘international’ superiors. This notion gained normative acceptance in the second half of the seventeenth century – conventionally, following the 1648 Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years’ War – and remains the base on which the structures of anarchy are constructed. The extent to which the norms of Westphalia have governed international practice is debatable; the Westphalian notion of sovereignty may indeed, as Krasner (1999) suggests, be a matter of ‘organized hypocrisy’, given the extent to which rulers have actually always intervened in each other’s affairs, but, at least in principle, the claim to be a sovereign entails acknowledgement of the sovereignty of others (Kratochwil 1995).
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