Law Without Nations?: Why Constitutional Government Requires Sovereign States By Jeremy A. Rabkin (Princeton University Press, 350 pp., $29.95) Jeremy A. Rabkin's book is a forceful defense of the virtues of national sovereignty, and of the claim that American constitutional government places strict limits on the reach and authority of international law. In part, Rabkin is responding to critics of the unilateralism of the Bush administration--its rejection of the Kyoto Treaty, its refusal to join the International Criminal Court, its invasion of Iraq without explicit U.N.
On January 4, 1947, 130 men and women met at Washington's Willard Hotel to save American liberalism. A few months earlier, in articles in The New Republic and elsewhere, the columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop had warned that "the liberal movement is now engaged in sowing the seeds of its own destruction." Liberals, they argued, "consistently avoided the great political reality of the present: the Soviet challenge to the West." Unless that changed, "In the spasm of terror which will seize this country ...
For more than a decade, you could take several things for granted in Turkey. Islamists normally had no role in government, the army was ultimately in charge of politics, and Ankara was a staunch ally of Israel. The rise of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's popular prime minister, whose party was elected in 2002 in the biggest vote in recent Turkish history, changed the first two assumptions. Erdogan hails from an Islamic party that had pushed for the legalization of the headscarf and other blurrings of the line between mosque and state.
The war in Iraq has come and—barely three weeks later—already seems about to be gone. Of course, this is not the end of the Iraqi venture. Indeed, if history teaches us anything about modern Mesopotamia, it is that this venture will only get harder. Iraq frustrates those who attempt to remake it. The British tried, for many years, after they planted the Union Jack over Baghdad on March 11, 1917. That victory did not come to pass until nearly 30, 000 British troops had been killed, with a roughly equal number of Ottoman soldiers slain on the same battlefields.
The international war crimes tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia, once written off even by some of its supporters as a well-intentioned but ineffectual experiment, has been making remarkable strides in recent weeks. Since the summer, NATO has conducted three raids to arrest indicted war criminals in Bosnia; this has evidently scared some other suspects into turning themselves in. Four suspects, all Bosnian Serbs, have surrendered to the tribunal since mid-January.
When I was a kid in Minnesota my family had a huge Scandinavian feast every Christmas Eve, complete with two dozen relatives, three feet of snow, a mountainous evergreen trimmed to the top, a six-course dinner with lutefisk and turkey and eight or ten pies, long-winded after-dinner stories about baseball and World War II, and, of course, lots of brightly wrapped presents. It has taken me three decades of rigorous economics training and life on the East Coast to shake off the warm nostalgia of those holidays.
This piece originally ran on September 2nd, 1957. C. L Sulzberger, the scholarly editorial columnist of The New York Times, had the courage in a recent dispatch from Paris to put forward a daring brink-of-war proposal for the Middle East -- a Western blockade of Russian arms shipments. The Soviet arms buildup in Egypt during 1956, he assumes, precipitated the Israeli attack. Likewise, Russian arms shipments to Yemen led to the more recent Yemini attack on British Aden.
The Lease-Lend Bill will pass; the important question is how soon and with what modifications. Passage without change of a word or a comma three months or even six weeks from now might be worth less than passage in a few days with alterations. The President has therefore been wise to consult with congressional leaders and consent to changes that do not alter the essence of the measure. Other amendments will be offered in both House and Senate.