Presidential Foreign Policy: An Opportunity for International Law Education

8 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2013 Last revised: 3 Jul 2013

Date Written: 2012


This essay explores an interesting opportunity for the president in the foreign policy arena: the role of educator on international law and its central principles, for both the president and his surrogates in the executive branch. In the current environment in which the United States is engaged in extensive, wide-ranging, and challenging military operations against diverse foes, this educational role has significant potential in the arena of the law of armed conflict specifically. With reference to historical and current examples of how presidents have used — or not used — international law as an effective communication medium, this essay highlights how the president can communicate effective messages with regard to international law, and the law of armed conflict in particular, to the public through a much more focused and proactive view of the president as an educator in this area.

Keywords: law of armed conflict, foreign policy, president, drone strikes, self-defense, jus ad bellum, international humanitarian law

Suggested Citation

Blank, Laurie R., Presidential Foreign Policy: An Opportunity for International Law Education (2012). Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 45, No. 1, 2012; Emory Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-243. Available at SSRN:

Laurie R. Blank (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-1711 (Phone)


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