One non-Westphalian state is Monaco. But what are other non-Westphalian states in the world?

  • 2
    Relevant: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty
    – Bobson
    Sep 10, 2014 at 18:03
  • 7
    It'd help if you explained why Monaco isn't
    – user4012
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:22
  • 2
    If you get a parking ticket in Monaco you will be fined by the French police. If you get one in Liechtenstein, you will be fined by the Swiss police. Is this what you mean by non-Westphalian?
    – Drux
    Sep 15, 2014 at 19:40
  • @Drux Is that so? In practice, the French police does not issue parking tickets in France.
    – Relaxed
    Nov 17, 2014 at 15:05

3 Answers 3


The Westphalian state system, while still used by many scholars, is, in a sense, anachronistic. In the post-War world, the UN Charter is the benchmark for 'state sovereignty'.


The first thing to note about the Westphalian system is that it was Euro-centric. It's primary purpose was to enforce the right of the King above that of the Pope. Consider this yourself, does this question even matter in today's world?

Then, the sovereignty outlined by the Westphalian agreement was conceived as absolute. In today's world, absolute sovereignty is impossible. The 21st century world operates under a complex interconnected system of International law and finance. State sovereignty is a compromise, a third link between the two.

But, if your question is strictly about Westphalian principles, that is state sovereignty, then, the simplest answer is that any state which is not sovereign is not a Westphalian state. At one end of the spectrum is any state under occupation, at the other, any which does not have absolute control over its domestic policies, which includes the majority of the states in the international system.


It's not a state per se since they don't fill the whole requirements made by the United Nations, but a good example of a non-Westphalian state is the Islamic State (ISIS). Why?

  • First, they don't recognize any treaty or peace conference made by the Western World; The Sharia Law is their command and no other peace agreement. A good look of this is when they took the Syria and Iraq's border freeing for transportation. In a documentary made by VICE the ISIS' press said the Sykes-Pykot agreement was made by the West without consultation of any Islamic party, therefore rendering it invalid for their "world".

  • Historically speaking we can argue that the Islamic World was considered by the Treaty of Westphalia "a sick world"[The Islamic World]. Since the Ottoman Empire banned all type of progress during the ages of the Treaty of Westphalia, they were treated just as observers.

A very important part of this idea is that the Islamic State is trying to do something, Westphalian-style but more medieval. Remember that before 1620 passed the Roman Empire, Holy Roman Empire, Caliphate and the Ottoman Empire. They're trying to reach a Caliphate but with the reach of something like the Ottoman Empire.

To see the basic things about the Westphalian "country", try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westphalian_sovereignty


One could say that Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are non-Westphalian - though much of the world doesn't recognize them as states, so that might be not an answer to your question.

  • What about Kosovo, and what about both Cypruses that are reconized by only Turkey and the rest of the world minus Turkey respectively ? What about Taiwan and China ? Western Sahara ? South Sudan ?
    – Bregalad
    Mar 17, 2015 at 14:08

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