OPINION By W.R. Collier Jr- Micronations- it's new, it's hot, and its happening. A burgeoning global movement of freethinking people that is likely to turn the very concept of "sovereignty" on its head- these include tiny micro state the size of a house and global non-territorial states, to nations of PEOPLE that look and act more like fraternal societies while seeking some form of "standing" under international law.
The present nation-state, for instance, is an alternative sovereignty when compared to the dynastic states of the Middle Ages. But the ideal of a single national people having a single unitary state, has never even come close to reality- most modern states are territorial fixed sovereignties with multiple national peoples and more than 75% of national peoples claim a homeland that spans the territory of multiple territorial states.
To counter micronations, it appears that no less a personage than Jack Black is going to star in a movie that lampoons the entire micronational movement and makes it seem like they are all crazy and their ideas are totally impractical and unworkable. Of course, this is an improvement on being totally ignored- apparently the territorial sovereigns and their mythical nation-states now feel micronations cannot be simply ignored.
Early adapters of the current state model, which was an alternative sovereignty until the 17th and 18th centuries, were no doubt treated the same way. The very notion that everyone in the state owned it and that it was bounded by physical territory and represented the will of everyone in that territory, and had a life of its own, was anathema to the dynastic model that accorded statehood on the basis of a royal family and lesser nobility owning lands and the people therein.
The new model is not so precise, it is diversity itself- some preferring micro-states, some preferring new ideas about sovereignty based on associations and negotiating with states for the rights and interests of their members, and others pursuing totally unique models. The catchword is free association- new alternative sovereignty models in which the member or citizen, or whatever, CHOOSES to be part of that sovereignty and can choose to change their membership status.
The age-old rules and laws of nationhood, which are related to PEOPLES of a similar socio-cultural type banding together as one society, with a shared sense of history, destiny, and some form of a homeland, always apply and have never changed.
While nations of people have impacted physical states, both dynastic and territorial, they have existed regardless of the actions of those physical states (unless they were wiped out by pogroms and genocide) and rarely has a national people developed its own unitary state that only or even primarily serves its national people- only Japan and a few other physical states live up to the myth of the nation-state. (Israel is a "Jewish" state but a significant minority of people are not Jewish and have a voting franchise in their state.)
In micronations, the scale is lowered to a human scale, the entire program is, in effect even if not explicitly stated, free association as the basis of "sovereign existence", and the myth of the 20th century "nation-state" defined solely by physical territory is burst wide open. In a world where people can connect instantly with anyone anywhere the idea of defining your relationships by a piece of land is becoming absurd.
So micronations are coming, and in the next decades they will grow to have a voice, and people will seek to shelter under their branches, especially as people of more means incorporate actual organizations which, collectively, wield actual economic and cultural influence, and obtain some form of standing under international law.
The nation-state and territorial states in general are not going away, indeed the world still has some dynastic states and some stateless but still sovereign tribes, but more and more the alternative sovereignties will become economically, culturally, and, eventually, politically competitive with the currently predominant, but spent, 20th century territorial state.
The impact upon military activities will not initially be noticeable in the short term- micronations will not field armies or guerrilla forces, their work at increasing their effective, de facto, sovereignty will likely be limited to economic activity, social activity, and, perhaps, cyber-warfare as they become richer. Their impact on state policies, regarding the use of military force, will grow as more citizens of physical, territorial states become members of micronations that have real economic and cultural clout which translates to voting blocs.
In the long term, however, the emergence of micro-states or non-territorial states that have some form of self-defense force or that contract physical states or private security firms to provide physical protection, will result in smaller military forces that MUST have a limited logistics tail and that will need inexpensive, portable weapons systems that are not manpower intense. Again, this will not mean the end of large military forces of a more "traditional" nature, but it will mean that defense technology, and those who sell it, will cater to these new forms of military and private security firms operating at the behest of alternative sovereignties.