Sixty years ago, the United States and Great Britain spearheaded efforts to create a new world order based on international rules. Today these two nations are leading the charge to disregard the very global safeguards they once fought to establish. In this eye-opening book, international lawyer Philippe Sands explains why this radical policy shift has...
Sixty years ago, the United States and Great Britain spearheaded efforts to create a new world order based on international rules. Today these two nations are leading the charge to disregard the very global safeguards they once fought to establish. In this eye-opening book, international lawyer Philippe Sands explains why this radical policy shift has occurred and how it will affect twenty-first-century world politics.
Using the events of September 11 and the subsequent “war on terror” as justification, the Bush administration has turned its back on many international agreements governing basic human rights, war, torture, the environment, and free trade, with Tony Blair often colluding. Focusing on watershed events such as the repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol and the abuses at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, Sands argues that the United States and Britain are undermining international law at the precise moment when it has become most essential.
Crisp, impassioned, and hard hitting, Lawless World is at once an exposé and an indictment of a catastrophic realignment of the laws that govern international affairs.
From Publishers Weekly
Sands, a British international lawyer and law professor, delivers a cool, reasoned lashing to the Bush administration for leading—and to Tony Blair for colluding with—a "full-scale assault" on the international rule of law, in this richly detailed survey of modern international legal disputes. Since FDR and Churchill signed the Atlantic Charter after WWII, putting in place a rules-based system limiting the use of force, protecting human rights and promoting fair economic liberalization, the world has seen a transformation of international relations, Sands explains, most dramatically marked by Bush's decision to "go it alone." Tracking the current administration's "efforts to rewrite international law into irrelevance," Sands covers the Pinochet case, the creation of the International Criminal Court, U.S. abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, the U.S.'s selectively multilateralist policy vis-à-vis global free trade, and the "disgraces" of Guantánamo, Iraq and Abu Ghraib. The author also presents a series of dense but lucidly written legal stories to illustrate how the Bush administration's unilateralism has had egregious consequences for 21st-century efforts to make the world safer, cleaner and more just. (Nov.)