„It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global environmental cooperation.“

Maurice Strong, 1992 essay entitled Stockholm to Rio: A Journey Down a Generation

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Maurice Strong photo
Maurice Strong5
Canadian businessman 1929 - 2015

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Boutros Boutros-Ghali photo
Enrique Peña Nieto photo

„We are a sovereign nation, and we will act as such. The exercise of sovereignty implies that, in the process of negotiation, our only interest is that of Mexico and those of Mexicans.“

—  Enrique Peña Nieto 57th President of Mexico 1966

As quoted in "Preparing to Meet Trump, Mexican Leader Seeks Common Ground" http://archive.is/PYJeS#selection-2131.1-2131.206 (23 January 2017), by Azam Ahmed, The New York Times

Nayef Al-Rodhan photo
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Mikhail Gorbachev photo

„The idea of democratizing the entire world order has become a powerful socio-political force. At the same time, the scientific and technological revolution has turned many economic, food, energy, environmental, information and population problems, which only recently we treated as national or regional ones, into global problems.“

—  Mikhail Gorbachev General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1931

Speech to the UN General Assembly (7 December 1988)
Context: We are witnessing most profound social change. Whether in the East or the South, the West or the North, hundreds of millions of people, new nations and states, new public movements and ideologies have moved to the forefront of history. Broad-based and frequently turbulent popular movements have given expression, in a multidimensional and contradictory way, to a longing for independence, democracy and social justice. The idea of democratizing the entire world order has become a powerful socio-political force. At the same time, the scientific and technological revolution has turned many economic, food, energy, environmental, information and population problems, which only recently we treated as national or regional ones, into global problems. Thanks to the advances in mass media and means of transportation, the world seems to have become more visible and tangible. International communication has become easier than ever before.

John Marshall photo

„This government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers. The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to it,“

—  John Marshall fourth Chief Justice of the United States 1755 - 1835

17 U.S. (4 Wheaton) 316, 405
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Context: This government is acknowledged by all to be one of enumerated powers. The principle, that it can exercise only the powers granted to it, would seem too apparent to have required to be enforced by all those arguments which it enlightened friends, while it was depending before the people, found it necessary to urge. That principle is now universally admitted. But the question respecting the extent of the powers actually granted, is perpetually arising, and will probably continue to arise, as long as our system shall exist.

Abraham Lincoln photo
Woodrow Wilson photo

„There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damage. Peoples are not to be handed about from one sovereignty to another by an international conference or an understanding between rivals and antagonists. National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. "Self-determination" is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle“

—  Woodrow Wilson American politician, 28th president of the United States (in office from 1913 to 1921) 1856 - 1924

1910s, Address to Congress: Analyzing German and Austrian Peace Utterances (1918)
Context: There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damage. Peoples are not to be handed about from one sovereignty to another by an international conference or an understanding between rivals and antagonists. National aspirations must be respected; peoples may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent. "Self-determination" is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of actions which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril. We cannot have general peace for the asking, or by the mere arrangements of a peace conference. It cannot be pieeed together out of individual understandings between powerful states. All the parties to this war must join in the settlement of every issue anywhere involved in it; beeause what we are seeing is a peace that we can all unite to guarantee and maintain and every item of it must be submitted to the common judgment whether it be right and fair, an act of justice, rather than a bargain between sovereigns.

Theodore Roosevelt photo
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Newton Lee photo
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Kofi Annan photo
Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood photo

„The acceptance of the principle of international cooperation is of immense importance for all states. Even the states which are most tempted to believe that they can stand by themselves have very much to gain by such cooperation. And for the smaller states — the weaker states — it is vital to all their hopes of liberty and justice.“

—  Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood lawyer, politician and diplomat in the United Kingdom 1864 - 1958

The Future of Civilization (1938)
Context: The acceptance of the principle of international cooperation is of immense importance for all states. Even the states which are most tempted to believe that they can stand by themselves have very much to gain by such cooperation. And for the smaller states — the weaker states — it is vital to all their hopes of liberty and justice.
It is necessary, when we say all this, to remind ourselves that the difference between uncontrolled nationalism and international cooperation does not necessarily depend on the form of government prevailing in the different states. It depends on the spirit in which those governments operate. There have been autocracies which have shown themselves liberal and just, even to other countries. There have been democracies which have been inspired, apparently, by feelings of bitter hatred for all foreigners.

Michel Foucault photo
Abd al-Karim Qasim photo

„We cooperate with our brotherly Arab states… on the basis of the individual interests of those Arab states.“

—  Abd al-Karim Qasim Prime Minister of Iraq 1914 - 1963

November 26, 1958, as quoted in Malik Mufti (1996), Sovereign Creations: Pan-Arabism and Political Order in Syria and Iraq.

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