Introduction: Preserving a Rules-Based International Order

Introduction: Preserving a Rules-Based International Order, in IS THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ORDER UNRAVELING? (David L. Sloss, ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2022 Forthcoming)

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper

28 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2021

See all articles by David L. Sloss

David L. Sloss

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: July 22, 2021

Abstract

This book grows out of the work of a study group convened by the American Branch of the International Law Association. The study group had a mandate to examine threats to a rules-based international order and possible responses. The book consists of fourteen chapters, plus this Introduction. The several chapters in the book generally support the conclusion that the rules-based international order confronts significant challenges, but it is not unraveling—at least, not yet. Climate change is the biggest wild card in trying to predict the future. If the world’s major powers—especially the United States and China—cooperate with each other to combat climate change, then other threats to the rules-based order should be manageable. If the world’s major powers fail to address the climate crisis by 2040 or 2050, the other threats addressed in this volume may come to be seen as trivial in comparison.

This Introduction is divided into three parts. Part I presents a brief history of the rules-based international order. It shows that—between 1945 and the first decade of the twenty-first century—the international system evolved from a primarily sovereignty-based order to a much more rules-based order. However, since about 2008 or 2010, we have witnessed significant backsliding towards a more sovereignty-based order, especially in the areas of international trade and international human rights law. Part II then briefly surveys the major, current threats to the rules-based international order. Finally, Part III outlines a strategy to mitigate those threats in the interest of preserving a rules-based international order that is consistent with liberal, humanitarian values.

Keywords: international legal order, rules-based order, sovereignty-based order, climate change, international trade, international human rights

Suggested Citation

Sloss, David L., Introduction: Preserving a Rules-Based International Order (July 22, 2021). Introduction: Preserving a Rules-Based International Order, in IS THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ORDER UNRAVELING? (David L. Sloss, ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2022 Forthcoming), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3891633

David L. Sloss (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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