Thursday, August 23, 2007
The fruits of self-restraint
I think this, from Henry Farrell, succintly expresses a key point in favour of international law:
Actors that are completely unconstrained are ipso facto not able to give credible commitments to others. This actually limits their effective ability to get things done in a world where there are other important players....This doesn’t mean that states such as the US are always going to obey international law, but it does mean that their compliance or non-compliance doesn’t flow in any simple or obvious way from their narrow self-interest.On the other hand, while I tend to think the EU has played (and continues to play) a huge part in making war between its member-states "inconceivable" - this by normalising an enforced regime of law among nation-states - an international law-skeptic would nevertheless be justified in countering that war between, say, the US and Canada (or even Mexico) appears not much more conceivable than one between Germany and France.