International Law for International Relations
Relations between states and nations are governed by international law - concordance of the wills of the states, consent of one state with the behavior of the other, or, on the contrary, by peaceful efforts to change this behavior on a mutually acceptable compromise agreement. It is known that the idea of the rule of law, as opposed to chaos or tyranny, is central to the development of human civilization; the law is a code of conduct provided by the authorities (Cali, 2010). International law is prescriptive; it is a regulatory subsystem, part of the international system. Based on the information from the book International Law for International Relations edited by Basak Cali's, this reflection paper focuses on international law in the system of international relations, its functions, norms, and their possibility to resolve international challenges in the modern world as well as the reasons for its study.
Firstly, Cali (2010) writes that the international system of law includes the relationship between its subjects. The author writes about the difference between international law and other law. However, some features radically distinguish the system of international law from that of domestic law. Thus, international law regulates the social relations of international nature that go beyond national borders and that are not included in the domestic jurisdiction of the state. The enforcement of international law is performed by its subjects through the International Court of Justice, the UN Security Council, and various committees (Cali, 2010). The subjects of international law are sovereign states, the nations, fighting for their independence and self-determination, and as international intergovernmental organizations as well as state-like formations.
The norms of international law are established by its subjects based on the free will of equal participants of international dialogue. However, throughout history, the problem of the effectiveness of international law norms has remained the most acute and widely discussed. The effectiveness of international law depends on how it achieves its goal and to what extent real international relations meet its standards. There is also a concept of social efficiency, defined as the ability of international law to resolve the tasks of the international community (Cali, 2010). As for modern international law, it represents a rather effective legal system. It appears that nowadays, many nations prefer to obey the norms of international law, and the percentage of violations is not very high. However, some violations can affect other nations significantly. A good example is Russia that continues to violate the norms of international law systematically. The unprecedented disregard for international law by the Russian government has led to large-scale tragic consequences. It is recognized that each nation has the right to protect its interests by all legal under international law means, including measures of coercion. One form of coercion in international law is international law sanctions. Sanctions against Russia are justified, as they are the punishment for ignoring the norms of international law.
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The author also gives an answer to the question whether international law is the same discipline as international relations, or they are two different fields of study. Cali (2010) concludes that they are separate but overlapping fields. These two disciplines have much in common, but some key differences are also present. Firstly, they are similar, as both of them are related to the international phenomena. Both international relations and international law are concerned with the processes, institutions, and events, connected with international affairs (Cali, 2010). However, they may be interested in the same international phenomena but for different reasons. At the same time, they vary in approaches and methods.
When it comes to the main functions of international law and international relations, one should know that the functions of law are derived from the system of international relations. They depend not only on the subject of international law impact but also on the achieved level of international law regulation of the certain spheres of relations. The result of the international law action is the emergence, regulation, termination, or reduction of some relations (Cali, 2010). The main function of international law is to ensure the proper functioning of international system in the limits, defined by international law norms (Cali, 2010). At the same time, the function of international relations is to find the ways and means to resolve conflicts between the states and nations, arising as the result of the collision of real and misunderstood national interests (Cali, 2010). Currently, the instability, which has arisen in connection with the collapse of the USSR and the national conflicts in the Middle East, has a negative influence on the further development and functioning of international law. These and other reasons generate many armed conflicts of regional nature, in the resolution of which the UN is not always at the height, as with the example of Iraq. These conditions require the activation of the process of further improvement and progressive development of international law and its functions.
Basak Cali (2010) also explains why it is important to study international law. Firstly, international law is important as an institution of regulation of interstate relations. It is a necessary tool in creating a new world order. As a part of this process, the world order also undergoes significant changes. Setting a new world order is possible only on a solid legal basis, and its stability can be ensured only by means of law (Cali, 2010).
To sum up, international law has come a long way to its current state, changing with the development of relations between various nations. Its main purpose today is the maintenance of world order, global security, the prevention of wars, and bringing order to international economic and other relations. Now, when the world changes, it is necessary to facilitate the improvement of international legal system. The subjects of international law must agree on the mechanisms to ensure the implementation of legal regulations and responsibility for their violation.