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International Law And The Critical Challenge

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Chapter Summary

Global crises such as Kosovo and Iraq serve to underline the fragility of the international legal system, to the extent that it becomes the object of derision to many who never suspect that the precisely same theoretical problems plague their own domestic legal systems, hidden by the judges wig and the policemans truncheon. The contradictions of international legal doctrine can thus be restated in the language of liberalism. The critical challenge to international law is based upon the three elements of the modern problematic: the acceptance of the radical subjectivity of values; the need for social normativity; and the hope and expectation that there exists essential harmony between freedom and reason, that the Rule of Law could provide a neutral means of arbitrating between competing visions of the good that privileged a priori the substance of neither.

Keywords: international law; liberalism



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