35 Pages


Is there really such a thing as international law? Certainly there are two common theories of international relations, each contradictory to the other, each quite untenable. One, the so-called naturalistic theory, dates from Machiavelli. It is based on the notion that the State is merely might personified, that it has the right to do anything that is profitable to it. On this view the State cannot fetter itself by international law; its relations with other States depend simply on the respective strength which it and they possess. This theory leads to an absurdity. It it of course true that the State implies physical might. But if a State be that and nothing else, if it pay no heed to reason or to conscience, it will never maintain itself in a proper condition of safety. Even naturalistic thinkers allow that it is a function of the State to preserve internal order; that it cannot do if it refuses to obey any law in its relations with other States. Its deliberate contempt for good faith, loyalty, and treaty agreements in external relations would raise a crowd of enemies, and prevent it from fulfilling its purpose-the embodiment of physical force. Even Machiavelli's ideal, Caesar Borgia, ultimately fell into the pit which he had digged for others For the end and object of the State's

existence is not physical might; it embodies might only in order that it may protect and develop the nobler aspects of mankind. Thus the doctrine of pure might is a vain doctrine; it is immoral because it cannot justify its own existence.