rens steenhard

New Acquisition

Rossi, C.R., Sovereignty and Territorial Temptation: the Grotian Tendency, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

This powerful book stands on its head the most venerated tradition in international law and discusses the challenges of scarcity, sovereignty, and territorial temptation. Newly emergent resources, accessible through global climate change, discovery, or technological advancement, highlight time-tested problems of sovereignty and challenge liberal internationalism's promise of beneficial or shared solutions. From the High Arctic to the hyper-arid reaches of the Atacama Desert, from the South China Sea to the history of the law of the sea, from doctrinal and scholarly treatments to institutional forms of global governance, the historically recurring problem of territorial temptation in the ageless age of scarcity calls into question the future of the global commons, and illuminates the tendency among states to share resources, but only when necessary.

• Provides a grounded contextualization to theoretical treatments of sovereignty • Highlights anachronistic portrayals of liberal internationalism's intellectual promise, accentuating the need to reinforce liberalism's project without throwing the baby out with the bathwater • Situates conflict within the realm of scarcity, heightening understanding by acknowledging constructivist solutions but also unintended consequences or use of soft law to forestall solutions


1. Tradition, tendency, temptation; 2. The Grotian tendency in his time and ours; 3. The temptation of Uti Possidetis; 4. Terra Nullius and the 'unique' international problem of Svalbard; 5. Problems of governance: the Arctic and the club within the club; 6. Sharing sovereignty: Jura Novit Curia? and the Gulf of Fonseca; 7. Condominium in the Atacama Desert and a sovereign access to the sea; 8. Conclusions on the future of the global commons.

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