LAW: an Overview

Human nature consists of three basic components. These are to
live, to propagate and to dominate. If Humanity was left without any
other parameters, this natural state of existence would govern its
behavior. Fortunately, there are parameters that exist. These
parameters are law. The topic of this paper addresses the type of law
that operates in creating potential boundaries for the behavior of
states. This law is called the Law of Nations or international law.
Patrick Moynihan, a senator from New York, has written a book on this
subject called On the Law of Nations. His book argues that states need
international law to monitor their actions and to maintain order. He
also notes the frequent departures states do from international law.
This essay will reflect his plea to return to the norms that
international law provides; it will also discuss and identify the moral
dilemmas that are present with international law and its relationship
with states.
The term "laisser aller" or "letting go" is used by Friedrich
Nietzsche to describe this state of nature, in which man resides
absently of law. His use of the term represents the struggle morality
wages against nature and reason. He equates morality in any form, with
"tyranny and unreason." Nietzsche proposes that man's natural existence
be, in essence, nihilistic. Logically, the political entity known as
the state, created by man will inherit these traits. Thus, the
conclusion is that the creation and institution of international law are
in direct violation to nature.
However, international law exists and states "generally" submit
themselves to it. . Since most of this law is derived from codified
norms of states, the term submission can be used. There is a disservice
committed to humanity when the law is broken, not just to those who are
weaker in the global community but to the law itself. A violent raping
of the law is committed when it is taken in an a la carte form. The
constant shifting back and forth from international law to nature
creates an incoherent system and a basis for calling the reversion to
the natural state, evil. In this setting "illegal" unilateral action is
immoral. Conversely, the adherence to the law is equally immoral. This
conclusion is drawn from the virtue of integrity. Either have a
commitment to comply with morality or completely abstain from a
hypocritical form of servicing the law with words and no conformity.
Consistency, is an extremely important factor of a system of law.
Moynihan argues that the United State has begun to traverse a
path leading away from its adherence to international law. "There is
clear evidence that the United States is moving away from its long
established concern for and advocacy of international legal norms of
state behavior." The implication of the United States' departure is
extremely troubling. The decline of universalism in world politics can
be seen through the example of the United States. Moynihan has no
trouble in finding examples in recent history to support his argument.
During the Bush Administration two examples are cited of
unilateral action condoned by the United States, which are violations of
international law. The first is the precedent allowing the Federal
Bureau of Investigation apprehend fugitives of United States law
anywhere around the world. This violates the principles of sovereignty
and jurisdiction. The second example is the United States' raid on the
home of the Nicaraguan embassador in Panama. This clearly violates the
idea of extraterritorality. These actions are interpreted to be in
violation to the very law that the United States constitution promises
to up hold. Because of these actions and many others that are
frequently taking place all around the globe, an underlying disregard
for law in the international community exists. One could conclude that
there is no real international law but international suggestion.
The moral dilemma does not exist in an isolated location, such
as the United States. This is a wide spread enigma that confronts
political thinkers of today. The existence of an operational universal
system in a predominated arena of nationalism is nearly impossible. The
two systems have been shifting since the Treaty of Westphalia, according
to Hans Morganthau. He argues that nations are now "the
standard-bearers of ethical systems, each of them of national origin and