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A Matter of PrincipleHumanitarian Arguments for War in Iraq$
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Thomas Cushman, Gary Marx, and Christine Williams

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520244863

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520244863.001.0001

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National Interest and International Law

National Interest and International Law

(p.94) (p.95) 5 National Interest and International Law
A Matter of Principle

Roger Scruton

University of California Press

This chapter elaborates the two rival views of international relations that compete for influence among the political elites, the national and the transnational, and the war in Iraq has sharpened the conflict between them. Neither view clearly justifies the war or clearly condemns it. It believes that the national approach is a better guarantee of peace and stability than the transnational alternative, and cases like the Iraq war provide some evidence for this conclusion. According to the national view, the business of politics is to maintain law, order, peace, freedom, and security within the borders of a sovereign state. For the transnational view, belligerence between sovereign states cannot be prevented by the threat of force but only by a rule of law. Disputes between states should be resolved in the same way as disputes between citizens—namely, by recourse to law and the imposition of a judgment.

Keywords:   international relations, national view/approach, transnational view, sovereign state, political elites, Iraq war

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