Conclusion America versus Europe

in The Perils of Global Legalism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226675749
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226675923 | DOI:
Conclusion America versus Europe

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Europeans and Americans view international law differently. Characterizing this conflict is difficult because, of course, there is a diverse array of views on both sides with much overlap, and many American scholars have largely come to agree with the European scholars, albeit in the peculiar idiom of American legal scholarship. International law consists of agreements and norms that reflect the mutual interest of states involved, and can and ought to be changed as the interests of states change. This view of international law harks back to the old positivist tradition of international law that existed in Europe, as well as the United States. International law is just a form of international cooperation and has no particular moral valence beyond any other form of cooperation—and certainly does not consist of rules that constrain sovereigns. American legalism does not extend very far from its shores: international courts are not the same thing as American courts, which are staffed by Americans who share American values and interests.

Keywords: international law; United States; Europe; legalism; international cooperation; international courts

Chapter.  1061 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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