in: The review of politics, Volume 55, Issue 2, p. 291-310
Much of what states do in the international system they do as a response to their perceived obligations, commitments, or responsibilities. Not all of these obligations are owed to the same sort of recipient, however: some may be owed to other identifiable parties with whom one has arrived at a bargain or an exchange of benefits, but obligations may also be owed to a chosen rule of conduct or guide to action, as in the case of deterrence, and to oneself, as in the case of selfpreservation or one's sense of honor. All three types of international obligation have been recognized in international law and practice, but no one of the three categories encompasses all the duties of states. A complete understanding of international relations requires attention to all three parties to which international obligations may be owed.