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The Limits of International Law argues that international law matters but that its scope and significance is far less than assumed by academics, the media, and many public officials. Adopting a rational choice framework, the authors show that international law is a term that we use to refer to variously circumscribed cases of international cooperation.
States are able to cooperate through international law but only under narrow conditions; much of international law merely;ratifies existing relationships, and has no independent normative force. Indeed, recent efforts to replace international politics with law and judicial process rests on a misunderstanding of the past accomplishments of international law. The Limits of International Law will have important implications for;debates about the role of international law in the foreign policy of the United States and other nations.