10 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 1 (2000)
Is There Really Law in International Affairs

handle is hein.journals/tlcp10 and id is 15 raw text is: Is There Really Law in International Affairs?
John R. Bolton*
I. Is  It Law or  Isn't It?  ..................................................................................  2
II. W hy  Does It M atter? ..................................................................................  8
A. The Rhetorical Value of the Word Law. ........................................... 9
B. The Unique International Status of the United States .................... 15
C. The Implications of Domesticizing International Law .................. 26
D. Restraining the United States From Using Its Military Power ........... 37
1. The Case of Former Yugoslavia ................................................... 38
2. International Justice. ...............................................................   43
3. Arm s  Control .................................................................................  47
III. Conclusion  .........................................................................................................  48
It is hard to imagine a more desperately tedious-sounding topic than
whether international law is really law. Practicing lawyers and legal
academics, let alone normal people, may become overwhelmed with boredom
just reading the title of such an essay, even before plunging into the text.
Beneath the comatose appearances, however, a political battle of immense
significance is underway. Indeed, close observers believe the struggle may
already be almost over, with enormous adverse consequences to the
international interests and constitutional system of the United States.
There is a rich tradition of skepticism about the legality of international
law,' although much of the intellectual debate consists of two streams of
argument that never really engage in actual combat. Critically, skepticism
about international law does not depend at all on whether one's foreign-policy
views are internationalist, isolationist or lie at any point in between, but
rather on properly understanding why nations behave as they do among
themselves and whether concepts of law used domestically can be exported
*J.D. Yale University 1974, B.A. Yale University, 1970. Senior Vice President, American
Enterprise Institute; Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs: 1989-
1993.
1. Robert H. Bork, The Limits of 'International Law,' NAT'L INT., Winter 1989-90, at 3. Even a
leading international human rights advocate has called international law that most airyfairy of
disciplines, at worst a mirage and at best a hostage to international politics. GEOFFREY
ROBERTSON, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: THE STRUGGLE FOR GLOBAL JUSTICE, at xx (1999).

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