Journal Article

Whither the International Community?

Georges Abi-Saab

in European Journal of International Law

Published on behalf of The EJIL

Volume 9, issue 2, pages 248-265
Published in print January 1998 | ISSN: 0938-5428
Published online January 1998 | e-ISSN: 1464-3596 | DOI:
Whither the International Community?

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Proceeding from the summa divisio that Wolfgang Friedmann proposed for international law — into the ‘law of coexistence’ and the ‘law of cooperation’ — the article endeavours to establish the degree of community obtaining in contemporary international society by identifying the position of International law at the relevant moment on the schedule linking these two contrasting types of legal regulation. The article begins by comparing the two approaches, and then follows the evolution of international law through three stages. The first, starting from the Peace of Westphalia, provided the initial configuration of classical international law, the epitome of the law of coexistence. The advent of the industrial revolution called for a different type of legal regulation, which led to the emergence of law of cooperation regimes, albelt limited to technical fields. The two World Wars, and particularly the Charter of the United Nations, brought the approach of the law of cooperation to the centre-stage of international law, especially through the system of collective security. The third part of the article focuses on the Charter era, describing the expanding role of the law of cooperation approach in the initial design of the Charter, then the impact of the Cold War, and finally the post-Cold War present. The article draws the paradoxical conclusion that the end of the Cold War, far from pushing the international society towards a more integrated global community, has introduced new dangers new dangers and bones of contention among the members of this society, which create the risk of causing it to evolve in the opposite direction.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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