International Relations

Background Information

A fundamental problem with world politics is the absence of order. The international system is characterized by a collection of sovereign states that are independent of each other. In the absence of a world government, states must find ways to cooperate with other states to promote their interests. International law is one way that states cooperate with each other. International law establishes rules that determine how states behave toward each other. Examples of international law include:

Geneva Convention (a series of laws dealing with the law of war and combat)
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights
Convention Against Torture
Hague Hijacking Convention
International law is very different from the laws of individual nations. Unlike domestic law, where a government enforces the laws of the nation against citizens who violate the law, in international law, there is no world government and no world military or police force. For this reason, enforcement of international law is voluntary, resting on the willingness of states to obey and enforce international law against violators. Intergovernmental organizations can take a variety of actions to coerce and punish a state for violating international law, but most of these actions are actually recommendations because there is no world government. Instead, should a state violate international law, it takes the action of other states to persuade, coerce, or punish a state for its violation.

Despite the absence of a world government and the voluntary nature of enforcement of international law, most states obey international law because it suits their interests. States also derive benefits from doing so—namely, earning trust and goodwill and creating friendly relations with other states. A state that violates international law risks international criticism and opposition, political and economic ostracism and isolation, denial of the benefits of international trade with other states, and even possibly attack or invasion by other states (for example, in 1991, when Iraq invaded Kuwait and a multi-national coalition led by the United States liberated Kuwait and militarily expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait).

Read the following articles:
“The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction”
“The Case for Universal Jurisdiction”
In a two page, APA-formatted document, compare and contrast the arguments presented in the two articles. Specifically address universal jurisdiction.
Use the APA Style CENTRAL website to review how to cite sources and format a paper properly.