Why all this interest in the history of international law today? A partial explanation can surely be found from the end of the 20-year period of liberal-internationalist ascendancy (1989–2008) and the perplexity that has followed its demise. Mark Zuckerberg put it succinctly in a manifesto on Building Global Community in Facebook in February 2017. When his company started, he noted, it was to ‘bring . . . us closer together and build . . . a global community’. ‘[T]his idea’, he suggested, ‘was not controversial’. But suddenly there has emerged a ‘movement for withdrawing from global connection’. Nor have international law scholars rested silent. Eric Posner has termed the present moment – with glee – as the ‘backlash’ against ‘liberal cosmopolitanism’. More soberly, perhaps, Philip Alston has noted the rise of ‘challenges [to] the human rights movement’ that are ‘fundamentally different from much of what has gone before’ while James Crawford has warned against ‘large-scale retreat into nativism and unilateralism’. What used to be a clear and broadly shared objective – building of a global community – is no longer so clearly visible. So, the temptation might be to look backwards instead and ask, ‘how did we get here?’.