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Because the concept of sovereignty is critical to both the domestic and the international orders, it has long had to bear more weight than it can sustain. Sovereignty is the point of intersection between these two systems of thought and practice. Each perspective tries to make its conception of sovereignty the vehicle through which it reorders the other. Thus, in the classical era of international law, the state's commitment to a conception of domestic sovereignty as unbounded authority led to an international legal order organized around the principles of nonintervention and consent. Today, pressure is in the opposite direction: Recognition of state interdependence is pushing toward a reconceptualization of the meaning of domestic sovereignty. Contemporary assertions of sovereignty are as likely to focus on a right to participate in transnational regimes as on a right of self-determination.

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