Bibliographic Details

The limits of International law / Jack L. Goldsmith, Eric A. Posner.

Author / Creator Goldsmith, Jack L.
Imprint Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, c2005.
Description 262 p. ; 24 cm.
Language English
Subject International law -- Philosophy.
Internationa law -- Moral and ethical aspects.
International law -- Moral and ethical aspects.
International law -- Philosophy.
Format Print, Book
URL for this record http://pi.lib.uchicago.edu/1001/cat/bib/5542956
Other authors / contributors Posner, Eric A.
ISBN 0195168399
Notes Includes bibliographical references (p. 235-252) and index.
Review by Choice Review

Using rational-choice theory, Goldsmith (Harvard) and Posner (Univ. of Chicago) explain the effects of international law on nations' behaviors and how that effects the rhetoric of international relations. By integrating the notion of state interest with simple rational-choice models, they offer a comprehensive theory of international law that brings rigor to the scholarship. States act rationally to maximize their interests, and their patterns of behavior are explained via coincidence of interest, cooperation, coordination, and coercion. Thus, the possibilities for what international law can achieve are limited by the configuration of state interests and the distribution of state power. The authors further argue that states have no moral obligation to comply with international law against their interest. Case studies backed by historical evidence demonstrate that customary international law was never uniform or static but ever changing from the traditional norm, especially as it related to human rights and the territorial sea. The authors do not fully endorse the traditional doctrines of pacta sunt servanda (Latin, "agreements must be respected") for treaty compliance and the opinio juris ("legal opinion follows practice") requirement for customary international law because much of international law does not rest on consent. They opine that international law is not law but politics and morality. International law cannot solve some global problems since violations of it are usually not punished. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. G. Hess formerly, Lander University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review