This new edition provides a critical introduction to the concepts, principles and rules of international law through a consideration of contemporary international events. It examines both the possibilities and limitations of the legal method in resolving international disputes, and notes the actual effects of international law upon international disagreements.
Such an approach remains sceptical rather than cynical, and is intended to provide the means by which the role of international law may be evaluated. This entails discussion of the legal quality of international law; the relationship between international law and international relations; the Eurocentricity' of international law; and the connection between political power and the ability to use or abuse (or ignore) international law. The new edition explores the impact of the United States' latest direction in foreign policy (arguably an intensification of pre-existing neo-conservative trends); considers in greater depth the issue of economic self-determination in relation to ex-colonial nations; expands the discussion of jurisdiction to cover immunity from jurisdiction; and covers recent developments at the International Criminal Court.
Underlying the book is the assertion that international law is political in content (in the sense of being concerned with the exercise of power) but that it draws much of its effectiveness from its self-portrayal as being apolitical, or at least politically neutral.