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Michael Williams
Global Issues - Political Science 125

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November 6 International Law

International Law refers to the formal rules of behavior among nations. It is based on treaties and customs built over the centuries. The earliest rules of interstate conduct date to before Hammurabi at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC and earlier.
We agree to such rules because they are in our national interests.
We want to regulate our relations with other countries.
We want our citizens to be protected from violence and crime while they visit other countries.
We want our assets protected.
We want or economic interests respected and protected.
We want our soldiers protected in wartime.
We want to reduce the risk of war and its costs if it cannot be avoided.
We want rules on how to bring criminals to justice if they flee our country.
We want rules to make it unlikely that other countries will try to take our territory.
To obtain these desires we must agree to reciprocal agreements with other countries.
These agreements are made because countries find the benefits outweigh potential costs.
At the end of WWII, the United States wanted a system in place so that economic interests could be exercised without interference by foreign powers. Other countries feared that the US would take advantage of their relative weaknesses in such a system. As a result constraints were accepted by the US to get what we wanted. The UN, IMF, World Bank and International Trade Rules (GATT and later the WTO) are part of these constraints. The constraints are reciprocal.
The Communists countries, specifically the USSR and later the PRC resented the limitations on their interests and conflicts arose. But, the system was still in place and there were benefits even for these countries.
Liberal views of the international system liked the establishment of international institutions because it limited international exercise of sovereignty of these countries’ interests.
These systems improved the flow of strategic information, allowing states greater opportunity to determine if countries were being honest in their negotiations and agreements. Would they honor their treaties? Democracy improves the likelihood of international information being more available.
Sovereignty Rights are also part of international law. This means that all states are distinct and their internal affairs are inviolate under international law.
But human rights treaties forbid abuse of a country’s citizens.
Thus, there is conflict among various<