The Limits of International Law
Jack L. Goldsmith Professor of Law Harvard Law School, Eric A. Posner Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law University of Chicago
Oxford University Press, USA, Feb 3, 2005 - Political Science - 272 pages
International law is much debated and discussed, but poorly understood. Does international law matter, or do states regularly violate it with impunity? If international law is of no importance, then why do states devote so much energy to negotiating treaties and providing legal defenses for their actions? In turn, if international law does matter, why does it reflect the interests of powerful states, why does it change so often, and why are violations of international law usually not punished? In this book, Jack Goldsmith and Eric Posner argue that international law matters but that it is less powerful and less significant than public officials, legal experts, and the media believe. International law, they contend, is simply a product of states pursuing their interests on the international stage. It does not pull states towards compliance contrary to their interests, and the possibilities for what it can achieve are limited. It follows that many global problems are simply unsolvable. The book has important implications for debates about the role of international law in the foreign policy of the United States and other nations. The authors see international law as an instrument for advancing national policy, but one that is precarious and delicate, constantly changing in unpredictable ways based on non-legal changes in international politics. They believe that efforts to replace international politics with international law rest on unjustified optimism about international law's past accomplishments and present capacities.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
argue behavioral regularity belligerent beneﬁts bilateral Britain British chapter cheap talk citizens claim coastal ﬁshing vessels coercion coincidence of interest collective action problems commitment compliance comply with international conﬂict consent coordination game cosmopolitan cosmopolitan action cosmopolitan duties cosmopolitan sentiments costs Court customary international law democratic difﬁcult diplomatic diplomatic immunity domestic law enforcement engage evidence example explain ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬁsheries ﬁshing vessel exemption foreign policy free ships GATT human rights abuses human rights law human rights treaties ICCPR individuals inﬂuence institutions international relations leaders legal obligation liberal democracies ment moral obligation multilateral treaties negotiations neutral ships nonlegal agreements norms opinio juris other’s Paquete Habana parties payoffs political preferences ratiﬁcation rational choice rational choice theory reason reﬂect regime retaliation RUDs self-interest sense of legal signiﬁcant slave trade speciﬁc state’s sufﬁciently talk tariffs ternational theory of international tions trade barriers trade treaties United vessel exemption rule violate