Beyond Confrontation: International Law for the Post-Cold War Era

By Lori Fisler Damrosch; Gennady M. Danilenko et al. | Go to book overview

1
The Role of International Law in the Contemporary World

Lori Fisler Damrosch and Rein Müllerson

International law has much to contribute to the promotion of world security, mutually advantageous cooperation, and the resolution of many global problems. Yet in order for international law to realize its full potential, its undeniable limitations and obstacles must be frankly confronted and addressed. Some of these limitations derive from the negative climate of the Cold War; others have even deeper origins; still others have become evident only in the aftermath of the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In any event, the end of the Cold War provides an opportune moment for reconsidering and possibly overcoming them.

Political and governmental actors have often treated international law as subordinate to political, military, strategic, or economic considerations. International lawyers, on the other hand, have sometimes tended to exaggerate the significance of international law and to ascribe to it possibilities that it does not possess. This tendency does not strengthen the position of international law -- quite the contrary. Not only ignorance of international law, but also unjustified praise and the creation of unwarranted expectations can undermine the real potential of this indispensable but hardly omnipotent instrument.

In the present chapter we take up in Part I the competing pressures on the international legal system in the contemporary world. On the one hand are the factors that place extraordinary demands on international law and bring it to a central place in world affairs; on the other hand are obstacles that prevent international law from achieving the aspirations of its supporters. In Part II we turn to the issue of improving the effectiveness of international law, through external and internal mechanisms for its enforcement.

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Beyond Confrontation: International Law for the Post-Cold War Era
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Notes xx
  • Acknowledgments xxiii
  • About the Editors and Contributors xxv
  • 1 - The Role of International Law In the Contemporary World 1
  • Notes 19
  • 2 - Consent and the Creation Of International Law 23
  • Notes 53
  • 3 - Participants in International Legal Relations 61
  • Notes 82
  • 4 - Legal Regulation of the Use of Force 93
  • Notes 134
  • 5 - International Cooperation Against Terrorism 141
  • Notes 158
  • 6 - Stability in the Law of the Sea 165
  • Notes 183
  • 7 - Enviornmental Law 193
  • Notes 217
  • 8 - Tensions in the Development Of the Law of Outer Space 225
  • Notes 257
  • 9 - International Human Rights 275
  • Notes 299
  • 10 - Peaceful Settlement of Disputes Through the Rule of Law 309
  • Notes 332
  • About the Book 335
  • Index 337
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