Nation states are not as independent as they seem. In The Limits of Independence, Adam Watson explores how independence of action is limited by both a tightening net of interdependence between countries and by the rules which the 'international society of states' has put in place to manage order and change. He also argues that the external and internal behaviour of independent states is increasingly determined by the influence of the richest and strongest powers.
After setting out the general framework of restraint imposed on states, Adam Watson details the attempts to limit national sovereignties from Napoleon to the European Union. The Limits of Independence discusses pressures on smaller states and relates reactions against independence to current international theory and the practice of world powers.