This book constitutes an extremely valuable contribution to the field. It significantly adds to the body of literature concerning the motivating factors underpinning the decisions by policy makers to resort to or refrain from the use of armed force. - Howard M. Hensel, Professor, Air War College, USA. This book offers a fresh perspective on timeless questions concerning anarchy and order, power and principle, and public and private morality, by taking a novel approach to the study of the onset of war. Rather than looking at the distribution of wealth, military might, or other material capabilities to explain the onset of war, this book focuses instead on how international norms affect the use of military force. Critical of the realist assumption that international legal norms are unable to curb hostilities without a powerful central authority to enforce their injunctions, it contends that the normative context within which national leaders act sets the tone for world politics by communicating commonly accepted understandings about the limits of permissible action. Using quantitative analyses of the relationships between war initiation norms and various types of armed conflict, the author calls into question realist beliefs regarding international norms, demonstrating that restrictive normative orders reduce the likelihood of war. Gregory A. Raymond is Distinguished Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Boise State University, USA. .
The constructivist research programme on international norms has demonstrated convincingly that, how, and why norms matter. Norms have been shown to constitute the identity of actors, to guide their behaviour into desired directions, and, altogether, to generate the normative basis of the international system. In the course of this intensive debate, its main concepts, such as the question of what constitutes a norm or different norm types, became fuzzy. Also, while the focus on the intended effects of norms certainly encompasses an essential part of the phenomenon, their unintended effects have been largely neglected. Motivated by these shortcomings, the article presents a new systematisation of effects of norms. The typology developed here discerns two types of intended effects, namely prohibitive and obligative effects, as well as two corresponding types of unintended effects, namely permissive and omissive effects.
This work offers a comprehensive and critic approach to international judicial and arbitral case law concerning interpretation of international norms and international institutions as well as to the way the International Court of Justice conceives access to its jurisdiction and its exercise.