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United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International Law
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  • Page extent: 552 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.996 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 341/.09
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: KZ1242 .U55 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • International law--History
    • International law--United States--History
    • Balance of power--History
    • United States--Foreign relations

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521819497 | ISBN-10: 0521819490)

Successive hegemonic powers have shaped the foundations of international law. This book examines whether the predominance of the United States is leading to foundational change in the international legal system. A range of leading scholars in international law and international relations consider six foundational areas that could be undergoing change, including international community, sovereign equality, the law governing the use of force, and compliance. The authors demonstrate that the effects of US predominance on the foundations of international law are real, but also intensely complex. This complexity is due, in part, to a multitude of actors exercising influential roles. And it is also due to the continued vitality and remaining functionality of the international legal system itself. This system limits the influence of individual states, while stretching and bending in response to the changing geopolitics of our time.

• Takes an interdisciplinary approach to the variety of ways in which the USA influences international affairs • Topical subject: considers the legality of United States action in the war on terrorism • Contributors are leading scholars both in international law and in international relations


List of contributors; Preface; Introduction: the complexities of foundational change Michael Byers; Part I. International Community: 1. The international community, international law and the United States: three in one, two against one, or one and the same? Edward Kwakwa; 2. The influence of the United States on the concept of the 'International Community' Andreas Paulus; 3. Comments on chapters 1 and 2 Martti Koskenniemi, Steven Ratner and Volker Rittberger; Part II. Sovereign Equality: 4. Sovereign equality: 'the Wimbledon sails on' Michel Cosnard; 5. More equal than the rest? Hierarchy, equality and US predominance in international law Nico Krisch; 6. Comments on chapters 4 and 5 Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Matthias Herdegen and Gregory H. Fox; Part III. Use of Force: 7. The use of force by the United States after the end of the Cold War, and its impact on international law Marcelo G. Kohen; 8. Bending the law, breaking it, or developing it? The United States and the humanitarian use of force in the post-Cold War era Brad R. Roth; 9. Comments on chapters 7 and 8 Thomas Franck, Jochen Abr. Frowein and Daniel Thürer; Part IV. Customary International Law: 10. Powerful but unpersuasive? The role of the United States in the evolution of customary international law Stephen Toope; 11. Hegemonic custom? Achilles Skordas; 12. Comments on chapters 10 and 11 Rainer Hofmann, Andrew Hurrell and Rüdiger Wolfrum; Part V. Law of Treaties: 13. The effects of US predominance on the elaboration of treaty regimes and on the evolution of the law of treaties Pierre Klein; 14. US reservations to human rights treaties: all for one and none for all? Catherine Redgwell; 15. Comments on chapters 13 and 14 Jost Delbrück, Alain Pellet and Bruno Simma; Part VI. Compliance: 16. The impact on international law of US noncompliance Shirley V. Scott; 17. Compliance: multilateral achievements and predominant powers Peter-Tobias Stoll; 18. Comments on chapters 16 and 17 Vaughan Lowe, David M. Malone and Christian Tomuschat; Conclusion Georg Nolte; Index.


'The range of topics is impressive and the collection will prove invaluable to students of international law and relations.' Contemporary Review

'… there is no question that this book is an important work … this is a well-written, provocative and insightful work that achieves its objective in presenting a variety of viewpoints on the impact of a predominant superpower on the international legal system. It is an essential read for anyone who is interested in the operation of power in international law.' Cambridge Law Journal

'… considering the strong emotions awakened by the United States' fight against terrorism and in particular the war on Iraq, the book remains a welcome voice of reason, serving as a reminder of the importance of the bigger historical picture.' German Law Journal

'This book offers a valuable insight into how the international legal system is developed and influenced by a hegemonic power … there are clear warnings that the United States has the power to act in ways that can undermine the usual international interactions and institutions. These warnings proved very apt after the book was completed, as the United States and the United Kingdom - a new and an old empire - acted contrary to international law and outside the relevant international institutions to institute armed conflict in Iraq. This book puts this action in context. I recommend it very highly.' Robert McCorquodale, Leiden Journal of International Law

'… this is an extremely thought-provoking and penetrating study and deserves wide reading.' Common Law World Review


Michael Byers, Georg Nolte, Edward Kwakwa, Andreas Paulus, Martti Koskenniemi, Volker Rittberger, Steven Ratner, Michel Cosnard, Nico Krisch, Pierre-Marie Dupuy, Matthias Herdegen, Gregory Fox, Marcelo Kohen, Brad Roth, Thomas Franck, Jochen Frowein, Daniel Thuerer, V. Stephen Toope, Achilles Skordas, Rainer Hofmann, Andrew Hurrell, Rüdiger Wolfrum, Pierre Klein, Catherine Redgwell, Jost Delbrueck, Alain Pellet, Bruno Simma, Peter-Tobias Stoll, Shirley Scott, Vaughan Lowe, David Malone, Christian Tomuschat

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