The United States and the Rule of Law in International Affairs

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Cambridge University Press, 2004 M09 16 - 367 pages
John Murphy offers an insightful analysis of why the United States does not always accept the rule of law in international affairs, even though it has made immense contributions to its creation, adoption, and implementation. Examining the reasons for this failure, John Murphy analyses a number of cases, not to make a case that the United States has been an international outlaw, but to illustrate the wide-ranging difficulties standing in the way of US adherence to the rule of law. He explains how the nature of the US legal system and the idiosyncrasies of the international legal process combine to compound problems for the United States, and he explores several alternative scenarios for the position of the United States vis-a-vis international law. This timely book offers a much needed examination of US attitudes and practices and makes a major contribution to the contemporary literature in international law and international relations.

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Selected pages


Law and legal process in international affairs
The status of international law under US law
UN dues
Use of force
Arms control disarmament nonproliferation and safeguards
The law of the sea
The International Court of Justice
Prevention prosecution and punishment of international crimes
Human rights and international environmental issues
Summary and conclusions and some possible future scenarios

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About the author (2004)

John F. Murphy is Professor of International Law and Business, Villanova University School of Law, Pennsylvania. He is author or editor of numerous books and monographs and has served as a consultant to the US Departments of State and Justice, the American Bar Association Committee on Law and National Security and the United Nations Crime Bureau. He is currently the American Bar Associations' Alternative Observer at the US Mission to the United Nations.

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