Article Title

A World of Peace Under the Rule of Law: The View from America

Publication Title

Washington University Global Studies Law Review


These remarks address a world of peace, the rule of law, and the view from America. In order to have a peaceful world, you need three basic components. You need laws to define what is permissible and impermissible. You need courts to settle disputes amicably or to hold wrongdoers accountable. And, you need a system of effective enforcement. Those three components—laws, courts, and enforcement—are the basic foundations for every society, whether it be a city, or a town, or a village, or a nation, or the world. If you didn’t have laws, or courts, or enforcement, you would have total chaos. And in the international arena, all of these component parts are very weak. The laws are uncertain and ambiguous. International courts, such as the International Court of Justice, have no independent enforcement powers. The new International Criminal Court (“ICC”) and other similar international tribunals are all part of a burgeoning evolutionary process. We live in a world that is just beginning to be put together on an international level that contains the vital component parts for a more civilized world community. Insofar as we succeed in putting the missing parts in place, the world will be more tranquil. To the extent that we don’t have those components, the world will be less peaceful.