The introductory chapter contextualizes the Kosovo crisis within the wider international debate, questioning whether recent action signifies a return to 19th-century power politics or is evidence of an emerging post-modern constitutional order underpinned by universal values. It argues that the Kosovo crisis cuts to the heart of the current international system, and that interpretation of recent events will impact significantly on six core areas of the international order: the relationship between the state and its constituents, state governance, human rights, the problem of opposed unilateral secession, hierarchies and competencies among international actors, and the issue of state consent. A brief analysis of each of these issues lays the analytical foundations for subsequent discussion.
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