The Myth of International Law; Distinguish between Law and the Appearance of Law

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 13, 2003 | Go to article overview

The Myth of International Law; Distinguish between Law and the Appearance of Law


Byline: Frederick Grab, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

On New Year's Eve, I applied Mailer's construct of the factoid to the historical existence of a Palestinian state. I would now like to use the same focus to examine a far more critical chimera, international law.

My view of international law mirrors Gandhi's famous response when asked his opinion of Western civilization: "I think it would be a very good idea." A lawyer by trade, if not by inclination, I know firsthand the best and the worst of bench and bar. And despite literature's all-too-accurate pejurations, it is a far, far better thing to suffer delay, contumely, uncertainty and even occasional injustice than to descend into self help, vigilantism and eventually barbarism. Law is all that stands between us and the Saddams, the Stalins and the Hitlers. But, we must remember, each of these tyrants had what passed for law in their own empires. And so, we must distinguish between law and the appearance of law.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) defines law, among other definitions, as the "body of rules...which a particular State or community recognizes as governing the actions of its subjects or members and which it may enforce by imposing penalties." Similarly, Black's Law Dictionary (BLD) renders law as "That which must be obeyed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Law is a solemn expression of the will of the supreme power of the State." I believe that the fallacy, the factoidal nature of international law in general, and its embodiment in the U.N. Security Council, is self-evident in these definitions.

To begin with, to echo the "paranoid" cries of the John Birch era, there is no world government, and hence no "state" or "community" which is the sovereign upon whose will the so-called "law' emanating from the United Nations is predicated. This is no small matter. As U.S. citizens, each of us is entitled to have our governmental decision making based upon the structure described in the Constitution. Nowhere in that magnificent document is provision made for the relegation of authority to foreign governments for matters such as war-making, movement of armed forces, conduct of diplomacy, etc, much less to a hodgepodge assembly of such governments thrown together a little over 50 years ago. As U.S. citizens, we have the constitutional right to have our president and Congress conduct our business in conformity with our best interests, regardless of what an aggregate of other states think in pursuit of their own.

There is no true political process within the United Nations. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Myth of International Law; Distinguish between Law and the Appearance of Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.