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Document Details :
Title: The Coalition of the Willing
Subtitle: Or: Can Sovereignty be Shared?
Author(s): VAN ROERMOND, Bert
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 12 Issue: 4 Date: December 2005
Can Kant conceive of a legal order established between legal orders? By introducing the “coalition of the willing states” as “a surrogate” for a full-blown world republic, he surely claims he can. After a brief rehearsal of Kant’s argument, the paper turns to a critical examination of its most principled argument: as republican states are polities that have already left behind the state of nature, they cannot be required to do so once more. By focusing on a contemporary understanding of ‘surrogate sovereignty’ as ‘shared sovereignty,’ this paper argues that shared sovereignty presupposes classical unified sovereignty; that what Kant suggests as a surrogate is not shared sovereignty; and that, therefore, either Kant’s idea does not help much, or it is in need of serious re-interpretation. The remainder of the paper only suggests the beginnings of this reinterpretation. In the case of an international legal order, we see representational processes of anticipation and retrospection at work. If one takes these temporal cross-overs into account, it is really a false start to conceive of such an order as ‘a legal order of legal orders.’ Since various domestic legal orders acknowledge the encompassing legal order as ‘the legal order common between them,’ they do not give up sovereignty when they decide to comply with the international legal order. They exercise it, but in a new mix of constituent and constitutional power.