‘Never Ceded or Extinguished’: The Australian Sovereignty Debates
We are increasingly told that sovereignty is back.28 As the story goes, the 2008 financial crisis spurred sovereignty’s resurgence, as participation in an international market meant that economic crises in one part of the world initiated crises elsewhere; the nation state was left vulnerable to economic fluctuations beyond its control. In response, far-right isolationist movements emerged, championing sovereignty as a means of regaining control and protecting the nation from threats beyond its borders. The archetypal example of this supposed resurrection of sovereignty is Brexit. But it has also been used to explain the rise of populists such as Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán and Marine Le Pen who, among others, sought to ally ethno-nationalist sentiment to policies that withdrew the state from international institutions and accompanying commitments to international political objectives.
We can place initial responses to the COVID-19 pandemic into this narrative.
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