During the Cold War, international relations and international law were dominated by the struggle for global leadership between the United States and the Soviet Union. The resulting clashes reverberated in legal issues relating to the functioning of the United Nations, the use of force, nuclear nonproliferation, human rights, etc. The third world countries, caught in the middle, repeatedly made claims for reform and initiated rule-making initiatives, but with limited results. After the end of the Cold War, the United States, its Western allies, and their shared economic and geopolitical interests remained largely unchallenged in the international arena.
While the United States is arguably still the only superpower and the European Union remains the largest economy, the world is undergoing major change. China, India, Russia, Brazil, and other States in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa are increasingly active voices in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, and have started questioning the dominance of the West in these organizations. These countries are forming alliances in the major international organizations and establishing new institutions to assert their authority and pursue their interests. In short, a new set of actors is moving onto center stage. In the process, these actors are seeking to reshape international rules governing trade and finance, military force, the environment, and beyond.
How will the international legal order evolve to reflect this new multipolar world? Will the international legal order undergo significant change as the global balance of power and influence shifts? Are there barriers preventing these actors from having a full voice in the international legal order? Can the major international organizations adapt adequately? Will new organizations emerge? How will human rights law, environmental law, trade law, the law of armed conflict, the law of the use of force, and other bodies of law reflect the interests and influence of a new set of actors? Are trends emerging already? How should the legal profession and nonlegal experts—in the fields of technology, finance, trade, climate science, arms conflict, and arms control—respond?
During the 2013 ASIL Annual Meeting we will address these questions and discuss the evolution of international law in a multipolar world.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Conference: ASIL Annual Meeting 2013
The 107th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law will take place April 3-6, 2013, in Washington, DC. The theme is "International Law in a Multipolar World." The program is not yet available, but online registration is now open. Here's the idea: