Theory of International Law

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Hope and the Gradual Self-Constituting of Mankind

Philip Allott is a mind-altering substance. It is not possible to leave one of his lectures, or to read one of his books or articles, without undergoing a profound change in thought and attitude towards humanity and the role of law in its service. The idea of international law as the law of all humanity and of all societies that Professor Allott has rediscovered and developed over the years is an appealing one. However, in his latest contribution to this blog, Professor Allott draws a rather dark consequence from this conception. As we have not been able to transform ourselves, and the law that governs us, from the neo-classical state system into a true Eunomia—a self-ordering system in which all individuals and groups come together to regulate themselves—we are left with nothing. It is a lawless world, and one which leaves us in: a legal wasteland in which those involved in events and transactions can pick and choose among competing and conflicting legal systems to suit their purposes. And there are countless…

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A Lateral View of the International System: Responding to the Collapse of Global Government

The human world is beset by unprecedented global problems in a state of unprecedented global disorder. Climate change. Destruction of habitats, exhausting of natural resources, extinction of animal species. Global threats to human health, including plagues and pandemics. War and the threat of war, including new forms, such as cyber war, space war, bacteriological war. Internal wars that…

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Form and Substance in the Debate over ‘International Law of Democracy’ Scholarship

I appreciate Akbar Rasulov’s foray into the complexities of the relationship between form and substance in international legal scholarship. I maintain, however, that his criticisms of the work of the “anti-ILD scholars” (such as myself) contain some unjustified leaps. Rasulov regards those of us who (for overlapping, though seldom identical, reasons) resisted the claims of…

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‘From the Wells of Disappointment’: Rejoinder to Brad Roth

I am grateful to Brad Roth for his extensive and sincere engagement with my argument. We both share a curiosity about ‘left-of-centre agendas’ and a deep sense of unease about the politics of post-Cold War international law. We both also have a strong interest in understanding the role played in it by neocolonialism, the International Law of…

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Lavrov’s Lament: A Russian take on the rules-based global order

At the end of last month, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov wrote a spirited defence of international law in Kommersant, Russia’s main business paper. True to form, the country’s top diplomat lamented that, unlike the West, Russia still wants universally accepted principles of international law to govern international affairs. But what does it mean for…

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