Theory of International Law

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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 Democracy (ILD), and what he calls ‘methodological orthodoxy’, and I appreciate the opportunity this exchange gives us to think through these complex issues. The story of ILD, one might say, is a classical rise-and-fall story. But it has two important twists. The first twist is that it is not really a story about ILD so much as it is a story about progressive and reactionary knowledge-cultures and the intra-disciplinary politics they create. The second twist is that it is not a story in which one can always tell ‘who the good guys are’. There are no real heroes in the ILD story. Things are both a lot more complex and a lot more indeterminate than that.

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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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A Study in Contrasting Jurisdictional Methodologies: The International Court of Justice’s February 2021 Judgments in Iran v. USA and Qatar v. UAE

The International Court of Justice issued two significant Decisions on Jurisdiction in early February: its 3 February 2021 Judgment in Iran v. United States (where the Court accepted jurisdiction over a dispute in which Iran alleged that the United States breached the 1955 Treaty of Amity between these two States) [hereafter, Iran v. US Judgment on Preliminary…

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Beyond the State: Our Shared Duties to Cooperate to Realize Human Rights during the Evolving Risks of a Global Pandemic

I was not expecting my University to land in global news reports this week (see here, here, here, and here, among others), because of its decision yesterday to temporarily move to online instruction after seeing a surge in COVID-cases barely two weeks into reopening in-person classes. The University of Notre Dame has marshaled considerable…

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Unrepentant: Sovereignty RIP

Warm thanks to the symposiasts and thanks again to EJIL: Talk! for opening its pages to an outsider to international law. It’s gratifying to garner some approval of what I did, far more gratifying to have people take it seriously. It would be boring, litigious, and anyway impossible in this space to…

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