fbpx
John Selden and the Western Political Tradition
Ofir Haivry
Legal and political theorist, common lawyer and parliamentary leader, historian… Read more
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789
Joseph Ellis
In The Quartet, Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Joseph Ellis tells the unexpected… Read more
World Order
Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots… Read more
You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World
David P. Goldman
China’s 5,000 year-old empire has become the world’s largest economy,… Read more
Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution
Tucker Carlson
The popular FOX News star of Tucker Carlson Tonight offers his signature… Read more

More Books »

Law without Nations?: Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States (2005)

Jeremy Rabkin

What authority does international law really have for the United States? When and to what extent should the United States participate in the international legal system? This forcefully argued book by legal scholar Jeremy Rabkin provides an insightful new look at this important and much-debated question.

Americans have long asked whether the United States should join forces with institutions such as the International Criminal Court and sign on to agreements like the Kyoto Protocol. Rabkin argues that the value of international agreements in such circumstances must be weighed against the threat they pose to liberties protected by strong national authority and institutions. He maintains that the protection of these liberties could be fatally weakened if we go too far in ceding authority to international institutions that might not be zealous in protecting the rights Americans deem important. Similarly, any cessation of authority might leave Americans far less attached to the resulting hybrid legal system than they now are to laws they can regard as their own.

Law without Nations? traces the traditional American wariness of international law to the basic principles of American thought and the broader traditions of liberal political thought on which the American Founders drew: only a sovereign state can make and enforce law in a reliable way, so only a sovereign state can reliably protect the rights of its citizens. It then contrasts the American experience with that of the European Union, showing the difficulties that can arise from efforts to merge national legal systems with supranational schemes. In practice, international human rights law generates a cloud of rhetoric that does little to secure human rights, and in fact, is at odds with American principles, Rabkin concludes.

A challenging and important contribution to the current debates about the meaning of multilateralism and international law, Law without Nations? will appeal to a broad cross-section of scholars in both the legal and political science arenas.

Purchase the Book