Antinomies of Power and Law<sup>†</sup>

Andreas Paulus

in Comparative Law as Transnational Law

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199795208
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919307 | DOI:
Antinomies of Power and Law†

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Robert Kagan's article and book on the future of transatlantic relations have gained much prominence in the debate on the reasons for and impact of the transatlantic rift over the war against Iraq. However, Kagan's work confirms rather than challenges the prejudices and stereotypes of both sides. After putting Kagan's approach in a political perspective, this chapter shows that the antinomies used by Kagan and other participants in the debate—such as might and right, unilateralism and multilateralism, prevention and repression, hegemony and sovereign equality, democratic imperialism and pluralism—constitute useful analytical tools, but do not in any way capture the divergence of values and interests that exist between the United States and Europe. The result of such an analysis does not lead to the adoption of one or the other extreme. Instead, it leads to the realization that international law occupies the space between the extremes, allowing for the permanent renegotiation of the place of Mars and Venus in international affairs.

Keywords: transatlantic relations; international relations; Iraq war; United States; Europe; international affairs

Chapter.  8245 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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