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HIST 105

by: Joshua Sweet

HIST 105 HIST 105

Joshua Sweet
Texas A&M

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History of the US
Neall Pogue
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Joshua Sweet on Thursday August 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 105 at Texas A&M University taught by Neall Pogue in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views.

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Date Created: 08/11/16
3/24/16 What is International Law and How does it Work? 3/24/16 On March 24, 2016, Dr. Charlotte Ku, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at the Texas  A&M University’s Law School, gave a lecture on “What is International Law and How  does it Work?” She asked us “when you hear ‘International Law,’ what comes to mind?” Some responses were:  ­Immigration (when traveling internationally, the documents required, legal and illegal  travel) ­Foreign Policy (interaction with other countries) ­Political asylum  ­Oceans (two miles out considered international waters, fishing, and regulations of  oceans) As we can see, there is an array of ways where international laws apply, including  international relations and how it affects domestic systems. International Law can be defined as “a legal system that provides the framework for  political discourse and interaction at the international and global level.” What is a legal system? It is the difference between talking with people verses the law. It  is authoritative in some way, since it has meaning and consequences. It includes decision­ making by actors (diplomats) who are authorized to act on behalf of their country. Some  forms of international law (treaties are a form of international law). Failure to perform  international law has some consequences including sanctions (shunning by the  international community), fines, and up to and including war.  So international law provides framework, interaction and participation, and may provide  clarity but not always a solution.  Some aspects that will influence whether or not countries come to an agreemtht include  interests (do the interested parties want a solution or not?), timing (in 20  century there  were conferences on how to regulate warfare, ironically one such conference started on  eve of World War One), values (today verses 1945, before 1945 e.g. human rights),  capacity (even if there is will and interest still need capacity to carry out idea), and  infrastructure (such as domestic systems to carry out law). International law relies mainly on governments to carry out obligations such as passing law and educating people.  Functions of International Law 1. To provide mechanisms and processes for cross­border and multilevel  interactions; and 2. To shape the values and goals these values are pursuing 3/24/16 What is International Law and How does it Work? 3/24/16 Like a smartphone, it needs an operating system to run apps. International Law has an  operating system (who, what, when say; if have an issue with another country how to go  about it), similar to America’s Constitution. Then the purpose of the operating system  (international law) is to run apps (promote values). However, sometimes in international  law there is not enough capacity to pursue values and goals, much like an operating  system may not be up to speed to power an app.   Dr. Ku wrapped up the lecture by discussing possible career opportunities, to include: ­Government Practice ­Private and Corporate practice ­Non­governmental institutions (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch) ­International organizations  Some examples included the State Department, military (J.A.G.), and even the State  Legislature. She also noted that non­governmental institutions can focus on a specific  topic/area/issue whereas other institutions face multiple issues and cannot specialize in  one issue. Her recommendation was to get a solid legal education and skills and find a  place to apply it.  At the end of the lecture I posed the question, “Does a country have to use the  international community/law to resolve a dispute (e.g. China and its neighbors territory  dispute in the South China Sea)?” Dr. Ku said that according to the U.N. Charter, nations are to resolve disputes without  war, but it is not always the case to use international law. One thing to look at is China’s  treaty obligations (Law of the Sea Conventions, etc.) that provide a process to a  resolution. However, China is careful to sign those treaties because they don’t want to  lose a dispute. So it is important to find a way to get all interests expressed in order to  manage the situation. For example, although Antarctica is different from the South China  Sea, in Antarctica all countries that had a claim had to release their claim so it could be  international property for research. There are a lot of possibilities on how to manage the  situation once the parties involved come together to find a solution. Another idea is to  share the resources in the area. However, any possible solution requires all the parties  (not just China) to want to find a solution to manage the situation. International law is  available to help, but they must come to it. At this moment in time the international  community can’t force them and don’t have enough resources to do so. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture. International law and the issues that face the  international community have always been of keen interest to me and I was able to learn  more about international law.


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