O'Reilly logo

The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 18 Global Security and International Law

Richard Falk

A Conceptual Introduction

Addressing the General Assembly on September 25, 2012 President Barack Obama made the following unqualified observation: “We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundaries of international law and respect for human rights.” In my judgment, this is a perceptive historical assessment of the contemporary situation, but unfortunately it is only inconsistently reflected in the foreign policy of the United States and many other leading countries. As descriptive, perhaps, is the cynical observation of Henry Kissinger, contained in a Wikileaks document: “the illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” Somewhere between these two extremes is situated the complex link between global security policy and adherence to international law, part respect, part interpretative manipulation, part expedient violation.

In effect, there is a wide gap between the public rhetoric of respect for or neglect of international law and human rights and the behavior of states within and beyond their borders undertaken on behalf of national and global security. The extent of this gap is one way of depicting the contours of global insecurity that exist in this historical era (see Mittelman, 2010).1 The shortcomings of response to global insecurity are particularly evident in the inability of international law to implement restraints on ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required