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  •  International law was once functional? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dcoronata, Borat Sagdiyev

    I could've sworn it's always been lamed.  

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 04:50:24 AM PST

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    •  I said ever more dysfunctional... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl, snakelass, JesseCW

      which does not presuppose that it ever was functional.

      That aside, there are some that say it is slowly evolving in a better way and some who say the great powers need to resume their primacy as in Westphalian days.

      Clearly, something is right when states can agree on a convention, and something is wrong when they cannot fix a convention because the end product could be worse.

      •  Something tells me (6+ / 0-)

        that with our new president international law will become a little more important than it has been recently...

        •  Perhaps... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          burrow owl, arielle

          but no more functional.  Even though we wield the most power, the interests of sovereign states too often collide, and the lessons of the past rapidly fade.

          International law will progress more rapidly between non-state actors and IOs.

          •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

            I see the Bush years as a hiccup in the process towards an increasingly more effective international legal regime.  You can't simply discount things like the WTO, Kyoto, and the ICC.  They're real, and they take international law to a whole new level.

            Under Obama, the US will be pushing those kinds of mechanisms in full force.  The world is changing rapidly.  With the transportation and telecommunications revolutions still exploding exponentially, unrestricted state sovereignty will have an increasingly smaller role.

            •  So long as the system remains... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              burrow owl

              based on consent, without mechanisms of enforcement, and jurisdiction to resolve disputes can be withdrawn unilaterally, then we are no closer.

              The WTO is the type of IO I referred to, as it has a procedure for enforcement.

              And any convention, in a sense, restricts state sovereignty.  But the whole system remains wedded to sovereignty, and it is going nowhere so long as the states cling to it, particularly the non-developed states.

              •  Change of this magnitude, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                burrow owl

                where the Treaty of Westphalia will essentially be rewritten or perhaps completely abrogated, takes time. States do not give up their sovereignty very easily or quickly. If we continue down a path of more and more conventions, I feel that eventually standard mechanisms of enforcement will develop. I don't see that happening anytime soon, though.

                So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

                by unspeakable on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:18:28 AM PST

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                •  Perhaps... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  burrow owl

                  but when the weknesses exposed in conventions cannot be remedied because of what might replace it, it shows that the progress is not so great.

                  Look at Chapter VII of the UN Charter, sorely in need of repair with so many internal conflicts going on.  That is but one example.

                  Some say that the Westphalian system of great powers will re-emerge if progress is not made, to ensure stability.  The great powers, even under the present system, wield power, but often they are hamstrung by the wrangling between states.

            •  So long as it's entirely based on deference (1+ / 0-)
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              w/o any kind of effective enforcement or enough inducement such that countries are de facto punished for not joining the legal regime (viz., the WTO), it's simply not a legal regime.  

              International humanitarian law is the flag code of international law.  It's a stretch to call it law in the first place.

              We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

              by burrow owl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:20:21 AM PST

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        •  I hope so (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mattman, JesseCW

          Of course, senate ratification is also important on treaties.  And with Clinton there were clearly limits to the reach of international law.  

          What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

          by Alec82 on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:08:13 AM PST

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        •  Our ethical obligations to honor our commitments (0+ / 0-)

          will be honored more often, but that doesn't make it law in any meaningful sense.

          We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

          by burrow owl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 06:22:24 AM PST

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        •  A missile strike on Pakistan (0+ / 0-)

          a day or two ago would beg to differ.

    •  Cracks about international law counterproductive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mattman, corvo

      In World War II, international law worked very well - on the European theatre, both sides were at pains to observe the Geneva Conventions (as they stood at the time).

      International law became more ambitious after WWII, as citizen53 correctly identifies, and not all of the ambitions have been realised, no question about it.  Between WWII and Carter, human rights international law - the UN conventions etc. - were generally viewed as worthy but unrealistic.  Carter changed that, and despite relapses, human rights international law has made significant advances.

      On a broader level, international law has made clear and positive differences in the world since WWII, on a basic and work-day level, in trade, commerce, finance, freedom of movement, science, academia.

      While we look at Israel-Palestine and see the failure of international law, the I-P conflict is a special case - just like international law was crushed between the superpower conflict, so international law suffers from the fact that the last remaining superpower is engaged with one side and prevents international law from working

      γνωθι σεαυτόν

      by halef on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 07:17:49 AM PST

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      •  My only quibbles... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CN, snakelass, alisonc

        are that in WWII, all the participants serially violated the Hague Conventions and customary international law by killing civilians by the millions.

        Also, with regard to Israel, a state created by the UN, and the only UN state subjected to calls of annihilation, without the USA it probably would have ceased to exist long ago.

        The UN is no friend to Israel anymore, and some of its agencies are downright hostile.    

        •  I doubt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Israel is the only UN state subjected to calls for its annihilation. I'm sure that every state fighting every other state calls for that other state to be annihilated--I certainly remember calls for our annihilation.

          You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. --MLK Jr.

          by Opakapaka on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 08:34:05 AM PST

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          •  Find an example of another UN member... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that other UN member states have called for its annihilation.  I do not think you will find such an example.  

            •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

              plenty of people call for the end of the US quite regularly. We are "the great Satan" for our support of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian refugees.

              Israel didn't exist fifty years ago. It's a product of modern day colonialism. It's really the exception, there is no other country I'm aware of that was created in this century as a product of colonialism. So there is no real comparison with other countries.

              You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. --MLK Jr.

              by Opakapaka on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:05:57 AM PST

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              •  I mean to say "sixty" and "in the past century." (0+ / 0-)

                You cannot depend upon American institutions to function without pressure. --MLK Jr.

                by Opakapaka on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:09:04 AM PST

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              •  Colony (0+ / 0-)

                implies that the people came as nationals of another country in order to settle the land and send resources back to the motherland.

                In politics and in history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state.


                Israel was founded as a new country by people either breaking all ties with their previous citizenship, or people with no citizenship, not associated with any other "home" country, not in order to pillage or rape the land for another country, only to provide for the new citizens.

                Before Obama, chop wood and carry water. After Obama, chop wood and carry water.

                by CN on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 10:45:03 AM PST

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              •  No offense... (0+ / 0-)

                but the calls for annihilation of the USA is not made by any other state, not a bunch of people.  Israel is the only state that other states want or wanted destroyed as part of their policy, a clear violation of the UN Charter, Art. 2.4 concerning force or threats of force.

                Many countries were created out of colonialism, such as Iraq, for example.

        •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

          without the USA it probably would have ceased to exist long ago.

          Israel managed to win their independence without US help. They managed to stay independent right up through 1967 when the US started giving aid worth noticing.

          It wasn't until 1976 that Israel became, and remains, the US' largest recipient of foreign aid.

          Are you suggesting that after that wholliping defeat Israel handed to its neighbors, without US support (which only began then and can not be referenced for earlier successes), they would have been annihilated?

          ... the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.

          by Tirge Caps on Sat Jan 24, 2009 at 03:16:06 PM PST

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