Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the following sections: Nuclear Weapons, Peace, Rights, Rule of Law, and the Social Contract




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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS


Related or contrasting ideas may be found in the following sections: Nuclear Weapons, Peace, Rights, Rule of Law, and the Social Contract.




There are valid norms for relations between nations


Accepted principles are embodied in international law

John Griffith (prof. of public law, University of London), in The Nuclear Crisis Reader, ed. by Gwyn Prins, 1984, p. 156

“But some principles have certainly become so widely accepted that their status as customary law can be denied only if the whole claim of customs as a source of international law is denied.”


Treaties and customs become international law

John Griffith (prof. of public law, University of London), in The Nuclear Crisis Reader, ed. by Gwyn Prins, 1984, p. 156

“Treaties between states, and customary practices established over time and accepted by the great majority of states, are the principal sources of international law.”


Informal agreements between nations can develop into important segments of international law

Jacob E. Gersen (Assistant Professor of Law, The University of Chicago) and Eric A. Posner (Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, University of Chicago), Soft Law. The University of Chicago Public Law and Legal Theory working paper series #213, March 2008. Available online through the Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection: http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=1113537, accessed April 15, 2009. p. 2-3

“In international law, too, scholars have turned their attention from the traditional manifestations of international law — treaties, judicial opinions, government announcements — to what they have also called soft law. Soft international law includes non-binding declarations such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and General Assembly resolutions. Despite their lack of formal legal status, these materials can ultimately have real effect — by working their way into customary international law or by providing the framework for informal inter-state cooperation. Soft law in international relations, like small-c constitutional law, consists of norms that affect the behavior of agents, even though the norms do not have the status of formal law.”


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights demonstrates how informal pacts gain power

Jacob E. Gersen (Assistant Professor of Law, The University of Chicago) and Eric A. Posner (Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law, University of Chicago), Soft Law. The University of Chicago Public Law and Legal Theory working paper series #213, March 2008. Available online through the Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection: http://ssrn.com/abstract_id=1113537, accessed April 15, 2009. p. 16

“In international law, much discussion has revolved around the possibility that soft law reflects normative commitments that governments will not initially treat as law but that nonetheless eventually influence them or their successors. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the preeminent example. Formally, the Declaration had no legal effect; it was merely a declaration to which states agreed on condition that it create no legal obligations. Today, it has a great deal of normative authority. States criticize others for failing to live up to the Declaration’s aspirations, and they go to the trouble of defending themselves when subject to like criticism.”


The UN codified international law following the Nuremberg trials

John Griffith (prof. of public law, University of London), in The Nuclear Crisis Reader, ed. by Gwyn Prins, 1984, p. 158

“In 1950 the International Law Commission of the United Nations set down the principles of international law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and in the judgements of the Tribunal. Principle VI itemized the following, among others, as crimes under international law: planning, preparation, initiation, or waging a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances; participation in a common plan or conspiracy for accomplishment of any other those acts; wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages or devastation not justified by military necessity; murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhuman acts done against any civilian population, when such acts are done in execution of or in connection with any crime referred to above.”


International law is based on morality

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965 Alsatian physician, philosopher, and humanitarian; Nobel Peace Prize recipient 1952), On Nuclear War and Peace, ed. by H.A. Jack, 1988, p. 117

“We must stress the legal moral argument. The human rights declaration was based not only on legal but also on moral grounds, and it is for moral reasons we must make our stand against extinction [by nuclear warfare]. The fact that the law is based on morality is the decisive thing in this case and must be brought to the fore.”


Legal rules codify moral attitudes

John Griffith (prof. of public law, University of London), in The Nuclear Crisis Reader, ed. by Gwyn Prins, 1984, p. 171

“No one supposes that any group of politicians would be deterred from pushing the nuclear button because to do so would be contrary to the rules of international law. But rules determining legality and illegality are statements about social and moral situations and attitudes. The laws of war represent the best agreements the representatives of the peoples of the world have been able to achieve in the interests of their common humanity.”


International law can be molded to fit circumstances

Amitai Etzioni (Senior Advisor to the White House on domestic affairs 1979-1980; University Professor and the Director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, George Washington University), “Enforcing nuclear disarmament,” The National Interest, Winter 2004, p. 83

“International law is not immutable. We have choices beyond just abiding by it or ignoring it. We can work to modify it to recognize fully the right of nations that seek to defend themselves and others to search ships on the high seas when there is a reasonable suspicion that they carry nuclear weapons or the materials from which they are made. The same holds true for cargo shipped on planes. They can be made to land en route and then be searched.”


Nations generally do honor their commitments without being forced

Brian Barry (prof. of political science and philosophy, Univ. of Chicago), “Do Countries Have Moral Obligations? The Case of World Poverty,” from The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, Delivered at Harvard University, October 27, 1980, p. 30; Online: www.tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/documents/Barry81.pdf, accessed April 30, 2008

“International affairs are not a pure anarchy in which nobody has any reason for expecting reciprocal relations to hold up. In economic matters, particularly, there is a good deal of room for stable expectations. A firm that sells something abroad, or signs a contract to obtain something from a foreign country, does not have — generally speaking — much greater fears of default than it does with trading partners in its own country. Of course, it is true that states do not have a ‘common power to keep them in awe,’ as Hobbes said. But what is the significance of this? The only relevance here is to actual expectations. You can produce an a priori argument that effective norms require a central source of sanctions, but if it appears not to be so, then that should settle the matter. It is also true that you cannot absolutely count on some contract not being repudiated, but it is equally true within a country that there might be some change of regime that would invalidate existing contracts. Absolute certainty is not to be had in this life.”


Diplomatic compromise toward shared goals has been a fundamental part of foreign policy

Michael H. Shuman (vice president for enterprise development, Training & Development Corporation, Bucksport, Maine) and Hal Harvey (founder and president, The Energy Foundation; former member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology), Security Without War: A Post Cold-War Foreign Policy, 1993, p. 96; Westview Press edition, online: www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Security/S93-23_SecurityWoutWar.pdf, accessed May 1, 2008

“The most obvious and familiar way two nations can resolve a disagreement is through compromise and cooperation. It is so obvious and familiar that sometimes Americans forget what an important role it has played throughout U.S. history. Since the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817, for example, the United States has been able to keep its northern border demilitarized and to settle disputes with Canada without violence. Despite some deep disagreements, Americans developed habits of negotiation with Canadians over issues of water use, navigation, fishing, pollution, extradition, electric power, and commerce that made threats, arms races, and wars obsolete.”


Third-party mediation has proven useful in international relations

Michael H. Shuman (vice president for enterprise development, Training & Development Corporation, Bucksport, Maine) and Hal Harvey (founder and president, The Energy Foundation; former member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology), Security Without War: A Post Cold-War Foreign Policy, 1993, p. 98; Westview Press edition, online: www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Security/S93-23_SecurityWoutWar.pdf, accessed May 1, 2008

“When bilateral negotiations become intractable, third-party mediation can help. Just as a marriage counselor can help a couple surmount seemingly irreconcilable differences, third-party mediation can get nations to see areas of common interest and reach agreement. President Carter’s Camp David mediation between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat was critical in securing a peace accord between these two historic adversaries. In the mid-1980s the leaders of Argentina, Greece, India, Mexico, Sweden, and Tanzania, through the organizing efforts of Parliamentarians for Global Action, tried to bring together Americans and Soviets to resume negotiators on a comprehensive nuclear-test ban. Though a test-ban treaty has not yet been achieved, the six-nation initiative helped convince enough signatories of the Limited Test Ban Treaty to trigger its formal provision for holding a new conference on transforming the limited ban into a comprehensive one.”


International norms develop over time

Michael H. Shuman (vice president for enterprise development, Training & Development Corporation, Bucksport, Maine) and Hal Harvey (founder and president, The Energy Foundation; former member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology), Security Without War: A Post Cold-War Foreign Policy, 1993, p. 99-100; Westview Press edition, online: www.rmi.org/images/PDFs/Security/S93-23_SecurityWoutWar.pdf, accessed May 1, 2008

“Most of today’s international law is really a set of widely observed norms governing the behavior of nations. For example, there are norms concerning how ships on the high seas identify themselves, send distress signals, and deal with pirates. These norms have risen to the status of international law — that is, what nations believe all nations ought to do — because nearly all nations have found their observance beneficial. Norms can be found as readily in what nations say as in what they do. Two hundred

years ago, much of the world considered aggressive warfare, slavery, and torture perfectly acceptable. Although instances of these barbaric practices can still be found today, they are being less common and no one brags about them. Nearly all leaders now insist that their military adventures are defensive and disavow slavery and torture. However cynical, these pronouncements matter: they lead citizens to expect their leaders to behave according to their rhetoric, and when leaders transgress these norms, citizens clamor for a change either in national behavior or in national leadership.”


A stable international system is a prerequisite for solving global problems

Vladislav Inozemtsev (chairman of the advisory board for the journal Russia in Global Affairs) and Sergei Karaganov (chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy; editorial board chairman, Russia in Global Affairs), “Imperialism of the fittest,” The National Interest, Summer 2005, p. 79-80

“The creation of a stable and governable international system is the necessary precondition to solving the global problems now facing the world: preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and reducing the risk of their use; combating terrorism; creating favorable conditions for economic and social modernization (including democratization) in all parts of the globe; and expanding the zone of stability that is now limited to the core countries. The reform of global institutions must begin with the establishment of new international structures that can coordinate interaction between the core countries to achieve these goals. And here, it is vital to give preference to those that seek to lay the foundation of a really predictable world — if not governed, then governable; if not managed, then manageable.”


Growing global challenges will require the expansion of international law

Daniel Abebe (Assistant Professor, University of Chicago Law School), Great Power Politics and the Structure of Foreign Relations Law. The University of Chicago Public Law and Legal Theory working paper series #256, January 2009. Online: www.law.uchicago.edu/files/pl256.pdf, accessed April 15, 2009. p. 4

“As the challenges of global interdependence grow — international terrorism, environmental degradation, financial regulation and human trafficking — the demand for coordinated solutions through international mechanisms also grows. International institutions, in this view, are the fora for states to address these issues and international law is the tool to implement solutions and regulate state compliance. In either understanding of the phrase, the focus is on the effects of great power politics along the international dimension.”


New standards of international conduct spread rapidly

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (former Associate Professor of Political Science and Social Studies at Harvard University, author on Holocaust studies), “Ending Our Age of Suffering,” The New Republic, October 21, 2009, p. 27

“A critical feature of international politics is generally underestimated: the capacity of political leaders to learn. In today’s globalized world, knowledge of what is possible or impossible, permissible or impermissible is rapidly disseminated and absorbed.”


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