Friday, March 07, 2008

Thanks to Peter Spiro, David Zaring, and the folks at Temple University

I just wanted to take a moment publicly to thank everyone at Temple University for the lovely conversation about my early draft paper on politics and method in public international law, which I offered yesterday at an international law seminar there.  The redoubtable Peter Spiro, whose new book, Beyond Citizenship, is out from OUP and highly recommended even from a skeptic like me (I don't think you can really take part in that debate without reading Peter's book), organized things, and it was terrific.  David Zaring, from Wharton, commented and was very patient and generous with comments on a very early stage, development stage paper.  (You can see the gist of it in the post preceding this one.)  I prefer to present very early stage papers where possible - meaning the point is not to show off something already done, but to develop it - precisely because I prefer getting comments at a point when the ideas are still being shaped.  Once too far along, the ideas are a bit set in concrete and it feels like defending a completed paper, rather than getting help in developing a new one.  David's comments were extraordinarily useful.  Likewise comments from the rest of the international law faculty and numbers of very thoughtful students.  My thanks to everyone.

ps.  A quick note to myself, so I don't forget it when I get past the current crisis deadline and start working on this again.  The broad background for this discussion, at least in matters of method, is the general decline of the humanities and the rise of social science as the way of explaining things.  David was quite right to point to the method axis and suggest that it might better be labeled not prescriptivist and descriptivist, but humanities and social science.  The subtext for the discussion of international law method might be the decline of Kant and the rise of Bentham.  But it seems to me that a big part of this method issue in law is the role of quantitative modeling - and it is echoed across the academy as, for examples, business schools dump the marketing and motivational and leadership stuff and recast themselves as applied economics, etc.  The humanities have themselves to blame for their loss of status, having embraced postmodernist theories that deprived them of any claim to authority, much less truth.  No one looks to humanities, from novels to the essay to art to you-name-it, as a source of revelation.  Social sciences, preferably with a statistical edge, have taken pride of place.  The difficulty is that it is hard, at least in large swathes of law, to see that the new methods are as yet set to deliver.  Mathematics in many of the new fields appears to be less a means of revelation than of a way of establishing an intellectual pecking order: the more math, the smarter you must be:  but the relationship to truth in the real world appears murkier.  Maybe one day the methods will pay off in unambiguous ways - I am no postmodernist, and I would like to hold out for ways of coming at complex social truth, including statistically.  But much of it seems more promising as yet than able to deliver.  How much of the stuff that I see in political science, IR, and international law in these new fields depends, for example, on survey research that cannot be made better than it is by any amount of statistical massage.  Here is a moment for the humanities and its traditional emphasis on the interpretation of texts: consider the Pew survey questions for worldwide attitudes toward Americans, or about religions, etc., and consider the ambiguities that many of those polled might :  when American pollsters are able to show a vastly better track record just for exit polls for national elections, then we might turn to consider the same issues on a worldwide cross cultural basis.  But at the moment, it is more the promise of a method than a method.  In that sense, the new quantitative methods of social science in the traditional humanities and law appear to be more exercises in post modernism than science.  Sorry this is cryptic; it is really scattered notes to myself. 


Anonymous said...

Constructive Sovereignty is an emerging theory pioneered by John Maszka intended to address globalization's increasing onslaught against state sovereignty. The theory maintains that states are not the primary actors, their constituents are. Therefore, their preferences are not fixed. Since states merely represent the preferences of their constituents, they will only adhere to and ultimately embed those international norms their constituency will accept. Rather than push for larger and more powerful international organizations that will impose global norms from the outside in, the theory of Constructive Sovereignty posits that ultimately change must come from the inside out. That is to say, from each state's own constituency. As each state's constituents become more and more international, they will become more receptive to international norms and they will voice their acceptance of these norms both politically and (especially) as consumers. It is therefore a central pillar of the theory that privatization is not only the driving force behind globalization, but also that private enterprise possesses the incentive to implement those international norms reflected in the preferences of consumers (profit). As private enterprise meets the increasingly international demands of consumers, it will itself become more international in scope. The cycle is self-perpetuating. In this way international norms are embedded and viewed with legitimacy by each state's constituency, while state sovereignty is maintained and respected.

Anonymous said...


24th June 2008

Dear Companions

I am readdressing with humble concern the report on the subject of the heaviest issue.
There is a necessity of immediate attention, accuracy, consideration and examinations of the conditions heretofore exposed.

On the fifty-fifth session, 7th September 2001, 11th plenary meeting, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 55/282.
The General Assembly proclaimed the 21st of September of each year as the International Day of Peace.
The General Assembly also addressed the subsequent statement embodied in paragraph 3 of the aforementioned Resolution;

3. Invites all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system, regional and non-governmental organisations and individuals to commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the International Day of Peace, including through education and public awareness to co-operate with the United Nations in the establishment of the global ceasefire.

Considering the Provision of the UN Charter and taking into account the role of the above mentioned relevant resolution adopted by the competent organs of the United Nations, each State has the duty to comply in full and in good faith with its international obligations under the principles of International Law.
Non-violence, non-proliferation and global disarmament are of primary importance and essential conditions to ensure order and education within the International Community.

Bearing in mind the paramount importance that the faithful observance of international law subsume and considering in consequence that the prosperity and peace of the International Community are to a remarkable extent endangered, each State has the duty to co-operate with one another, irrespective of their differences in their political, economic and social systems, in the various spheres of international relations, in order to maintain international peace and security and to promote international stability and progress, the welfare of nations and international co-operation free from discrimination based on such differences.

Desiring to draw diligence and respect to the aforesaid objective and therefore to adopt and maintain collective effective measures for the prevention and removal of breaches and threats to the peace and to bring adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations, I have humbly requested the attention of national and international institutions or bodies disclosed into the present report, addressing the necessity to comply with the requirements that the resolution referred to above entails.

The institutions or bodies I do now raise objections to are heretofore reported.

o UN Security Council;
o UN General Assembly;
o UN Peace Building Commission;
o UN Non-Proliferation and Disarmament departments;
o UN Secretary General;
o UN Security Council Presidents;
o UN 193 Permanent Mission Representatives to the United Nations;
o The Vatican City in Rome;
o UN Spiritual Foundation;
o International Court of Justice;
o Court of Justice of the European Communities;
o The Council of the European Union;
o European Court of Human Rights;
o European Commission;
o Eurojust;
o Inter Parliamentary Union;
o Association of Secretary General of Parliaments;
o National Parliaments;
o World Embassies;
o Amnesty International Worldwide;
o Fundamental Rights Agency;
o NHS Mental Health Departments Worldwide;
o The White House, the President of the United States of America;
o The President of the United Kingdom;
o The President of the European Commission;
o The President of Zimbabwe;
o Russian Politician, Founder and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
o Committee of the Regions of the European Union;
o European Social Committee;
o Office for Official Publication of the European Communities;
o The World Council of Religious Leaders;
o European Ombudsman;
o United Kingdom Ombudsman;
o His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales;
o Her Majesty the Queen Elisabeth the ii;
o UK Royal Court of Justice, 16 Judges informed;
o UK Inspectorate of Court Administration;
o UK House of Lords;
o UK House of Common;
o UK Ministry of Justice;
o UK Ministry of Defence;
o UK Her Majesty Stationery Office;
o UK Government Offices;
o UK London Government Communication Headquarters;
o UK London Local Government Association;
o UK Greater London Authority;
o UK London Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
o UK London Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration;
o UK London Improvement and Development Agency;
o UK London Cabinet Office;
o UK Security Service MI5;
o UK London Secret Intelligence Service;
o UK London Government Human Rights Unit;
o UK London Metropolitan Police Forces, Working for a Safer London;
o BBC News;
o First Minister and Deputy First Minister, UK, Belfast;
o Youth Justice board for England and Wales;

It is discernible that the institutions or bodies reported have neglected to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of national and international law can be maintained.

The cessation of violence and of any other form of abuse, corruption, maladministration and the eradication of conflict within the International Community are relevant factors consequently unattended.
Notwithstanding the fact that concrete and heavy situations are pressing upon the people of all States, political and religious conditions remain unchanged.

I do object contemporary arrangements.

A war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law.
States shall settle their international disputes by non-violent means in such a manner that international peace, security and justice are not endangered.
All States shall pursue in good faith negotiations for the conclusion of a universal treaty on general and complete disarmament and strive to adopt appropriate measures to reduce and eradicate tensions and strengthen confidence among States.
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breaches of the peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendation to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Notwithstanding the fact that the situations resulting from a violation of international law, also situations in which co-operation in the economic, political, social, cultural, educational and health fields is deprived of at the national and international scale, the disregard and contempt for human rights and fundamental freedoms and malfunction of the promotion and maintenance of the essential development of friendly relations between nations all do imply a violation of moral obligations, the establishment of the global ceasefire is to date by States neglected.

I do raise objections to States armaments.


Your Brother

Giuseppe Biundo