Chicago Journal of International Law


The geopolitics of the future US-China relationship has received a great deal of attention. Less attention has been directed to another topic-the role of international law in any future US-China confrontation. One might worry that America's often dismissive attitude toward international law today will come back to haunt it when, in the future, American power is no longer unchallengeable. On this view, America should bind itself and the world to strict adherence to international law and international institutions such as the United Nations and the World Court. When America is no longer so mighty, it will be grateful for the protection that these institutions offer to the weak against the strong. One useful way of evaluating this argument is to imagine how existing international laws and institutions might be applied to conflicts between the US and China in the foreseeable future. [CONT]