Absolute National Sovereignty to the Taliban?
Over at Malcolm Pollack's WakaWakaWaka, an individual going by the name "Gak Seolli" has posted a comment about the Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan that includes the following remark:
The Taliban, no matter how morally repugnant we may find them, doesn't [sic: don't] have to answer to anyone in regards to what they do on their own land. They've guaranteed no safety for foreigners, offered no invitation to missionaries. They've quite plainly done the opposite....When questioned on this point, Gak Seolli elaborated that concerning the Taliban, he had merely:
...inquired into the rights anyone had to enter their territory and what rights outsiders would have to demand that the Taliban allow certain behaviors or visitors on their lands. Did the Taliban not make it pretty clear that outsiders and non co-religionists should stay out of their land? The US/Korean governments got the message, By what right do we declare that their declaration is invalid?These two brief statements don't provide much for me to go on, but the basic position seems to be what one might call "absolute national sovereignty," for the Taliban need not "answer to anyone in regards to what they do on their own land."
There seem to me to be two problems with this position, one empiricial and the other theoretical:
Concerning the former, empirical problem: Are the Taliban actually the political authority in Afghanistan? If they are not -- and they don't seem to have political power at the moment -- then is Afghanistan "their own land" in the relevant political sense? If the Taliban are to speak in terms of absolute national sovereignty, then they ought at least to hold political power before doing so. Political power, however, is currently held by the government of President Hamid Karzai under a constitution ratified by the loya jirga in 2003. This official government has demanded that the Taliban free the Korean hostages. If absolute national sovereignty is accepted, then how can the Taliban oppose its own government?My intent here is not to set up a straw man for attack, and I don't know that I've correctly understood Gak Seolli's position, but absolute national sovereignty would seem to be the logical implication of the view that the Taliban need not "answer to anyone in regards to what they do on their own land."
Concerning the latter, theoretical problem: Is absolute national sovereignty a reasonable political position? Does a governing authority really not have to answer to anyone with regard to what it does on its own land? That seems counterintuitive to me, for it implicitly leaves one without the right to criticize the internal affairs of any foreign country for any policy whatsoever. Does one truly not have this right? If a country is committing genocide within its own borders, can one really not legitimately criticize this? My moral intuition suggest that we should not only criticize such an internal policy, we should also attempt to stop it. If this intuition is correct, then absolute national sovereignty is an unreasonable political position to hold.
Variants of absolute national sovereignty have had eminent theoreticians, such as Thomas Hobbes or Carl Schmitt, but most political thinkers decline to adopt such a political philosophy.