FLS Chapter 11: International Law and Norms
FLS Chapter 11: International Law and Norms
Does International Law Matter?
Two main problems
Law is seldom precise enough to deal with every possible interaction between states.
International law is product of states' interests and interactions, and states decide rules by which they'll constrain themselves.
Hard for scholars to determine effectiveness because states make laws that serve interests and make them do actions they'd do anyways.
Like all institutions, international law facilitates cooperation by setting standards and rules. Cooperation is dependent on reciprocity, in that one side will do something if expects other to do same.
Some international law also creates compliance constituencies within states that then have interests in ensuring that their governments follow the rules.
What Are International Norms?
International norms are another institution constraining states.
are standards of behavior for actors with given identity. Norms define what actions are "right" or appropriate.
Norms define what it is we
do and shape interests. Norms are violated because are not hard rules, but then you risk being ostracized.
Three categories of norms.
Constitutive norms: define who is legitimate actor under what circumstances. All states have flags, national anthems, ministries of science and tech, etc.
Procedural norms: define how decisions involving multiple actors get made. Analogous to secondary rules in international law.
Regulative norms: governs behavior of actors in interactions of other actors, like nuclear taboo.
Norms are difficult to identify and are deeply internalized; actors don't even usually consider violating them.
How Are International Norms Created?
Some principles become norms simply by force of own inherent moral standing.
Transnational advocacy networks (TANs) are central to spreading norms through international systems. They are also known as
Once adopted, supporters of norms hold governments accountable.
TANs: Changing Minds, Altering Interests.
Transnational advocacy networks
are sets of activists allied in pursuit of common normative objective.
TANs promote norms to alter interests and change interactions at individual and state levels.
TANs also change how actors conceive of interests by promoting new moral values.
Norms life cycle
Convince critical mass to embrace beliefs.
Norms cascade occurs as number of followers passing a tipping point and coercion to conform can happen.
Norms internalized and widely accepted.
Naming and shaming violators.
shows NGOs activate linkages to pressure other states.
What is International Law?
Established by states through either custom or convention to facilitate cooperation.
"Body of rules which binds states and other agents in world politics in their relations to one another and is considered to have status of law."
Body of rules - not an ad hoc list. Woven together by one or more unifying principles. Right now, is sovereignty, especially that all states have equal rights to make law and only bound by consent.
Status of law - primary and secondary rules.Primary rules are negative and positives, "Don't do x." Secondary rules structure making of primary, "rules about how rules are made."
Body of rules separates IL from norms and other international institutions. Norms are singular rules disconnected from a larger body of rules, and can contradict secondary rules, esp. sovereignty.
Is All International Law the Same?
Obligation: degree to which actors are legally bound.
Precision: how specific are obligations states incur.
Delegation: degree to which third parties are given authority to implement or make rules.
Distinguishes between hard and soft law. Hard law is obligatory, precise, and delegates substantial authority to third parties like international courts. Soft law is aspirational, ambiguous, and does not delegate much power to third parties.
Soft law sets goals for negotiations that may become hard law.
How is International Law Made?
States establish IL because it facilitates cooperation. Can also bargain over IL. Benefits of cooperation and adherence lead to creating.
In IR, there are two principle mechanisms for making IL.
Custom/accepted practice - carried out by states based on subjective belief that an action is a legal obligation.
Customary international law
develops slowly, as states recognize practices as appropriate and correct. Secondary rules vague. Countries' time to recognize practice is not specified.
International treaties - negotiated and then ratified. Originate in convention bringing together a number of states. Differ in obligations, precision, and delegation, addressing differences in interests. Secondary rules are clear. Countries that voluntarily sign are bound.
Beyond Norms: TANs and International Cooperation
TANs endorsements provide informational shortcut that allows voters to make decisions identical to those if they were informed. Perceived as principled actors with normative beliefs. By helping appropriate decisions, enhance prospects for cooperation between states. Uncertainty makes bargaining inefficient but TANs can reduce uncertainty. They facilitate cooperation.
TANs monitor whether and how states comply. Allow states to have greater confidence in commitment of others.
Conclusion: Can States Be Constrained?
Traditionalists argue that states are only bound as much as they want to be bound. Globalists argue international law and networks are showing effective forms of global governance.