The limits of powerful states : international law's power to influence the behavior of strong states




Marshall, Christopher Russell

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While power has been thought to shape international law, we are seeing that international law itself has become a source of power for developing states. This occurs as developing states use international law as a means to affect regional change. Developing states’ reliance on international law, particularly as they form coherent foreign policy against a counter-colonial background, strengthens international law as a process by which developing states express their interests. Gradually, this strengthening snowballs to where it affects change in global international law processes and, at times, can act to constrain powerful states from acting in ways that directly reflect their personal interests. Indeed, the reliance on international law may reflect that the preservation of international law processes has become a shared, global interest. This imbues international law itself with an unexpected form of power.


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