The Limits of International Law
Professor of Law Jack L Goldsmith, Jack L. Goldsmith, Eric A. Posner, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law Eric A Posner
Oxford University Press, USA, Feb 3, 2005 - Law - 262 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.
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action agree agreements argue argument barriers behavior behavioral regularity believe benefits better bilateral Britain British century chapter citizens claim coercion coincidence commitment communication compliance comply concerns consent consistent cooperation coordination cosmopolitan costs count Court create customary international law democratic depends domestic duties economic enforcement engage enter evidence example expectations explain fishing vessels follow force foreign gains GATT human rights human rights treaties important individuals influence institutions interest Italy leaders liberal democracies limits military models moral multilateral negotiations neutral nonlegal norms obligation occur parties payoffs political possible practice preferences principle problem protect rational rational choice theory reason reflect regime relations relatively require respect result retaliation rhetoric rule seizing sense ships similar state's talk territorial theory third tions trade traditional treaties United University usually violate weak