Conflict and Compromise: International Law and World Order in a Revolutionary Age

By Edward McWhinney | Go to book overview

8 THE "WINDS OF CHANGE"
IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY
The Quest for a New International Economic
Order

In the 1964 edition of what was then the main Soviet textbook on international law — edited by Professor Kozhevnikov who was himself, very briefly, the Soviet judge on the World Court — Western conceptions of the nature and basic character of international law were severely criticized. As the Soviet textbook contended:

The bourgeois juristic science limited itself, as a rule, only to formal dogmatic definitions of international law. It is not in a condition to reveal its essence, class nature and social purpose in the contemporary epoch.

We in the West would certainly not be disposed to agree with the conclusion of Professor Kozhevnikov and his colleagues. that it is only possible to explain the essence of contemporary international law on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles. Nevertheless, intellectual candour does compel us to admit that — as one of the more intellectually imaginative of the post‐ World War II American jurists, Myres McDougal, complained — too much of Western international legal science has been devoted to an "over-emphasis on technical rules unrelated to policies as factors in guiding and shaping decisions." The old‐ line Western legal theories looked not to the substantive policy content of a claimed rule of law, but to the various formal categories of official sources of international law to which it might be allocated. In a word, the fundamental inquiry for deciding whether a claimed rule really deserved the accolade of

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