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The reading materials in Week 6 explore the impact of international law on states, and more specifically, state behaviors. The idea is not to oversimplify the influence of international law but to understand in what circumstances (under various theories) would the legal framework and rules of international society shape and limit the behavior of nations and their alternatives. And these include many scenarios that constitute a change in state behavior – such as abstaining from invasion to imposing tariffs. One notes that state actions are primarily motivated by state interests. A state might uphold international law or norms because it is advantageous to its interest or even when it comes as a great sacrifice. The
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“The Theory of Compliance” suggests that efficiency, interests, and norms are three reasons for compliancy. In economic reasoning - since international law establishes an authoritative rule system, simply observing the law saves transactions since the burden of persuasion rests on the deviator. There are also important foreign policy reasons for observing the law – such as common interests of nations. There is a built-in presupposition that nations have a common interest in keeping society and international relations orderly and friendly. States will observe international law when it suits their short-term or long-term interests. For instance, even in contentious treaties, states are engaged in an active process to weigh the benefit and burdens of legal commitment and more fully define their own interests. More subtly, there are “norms” that induce compliance. Taking a cross-example from “Politics of Law Observance,” this could include domestic influences such as national values can also mold attitudes towards a particular law or obligation. It is common that Western countries observe international law more often than totalitarian regimes – because the people in free countries have internalized a particular obligation to follow international law and its governments are sensitive to “guilt” of violations especially in the area of human rights. Thus the frequent “interaction” of country following international law leads to a more solid

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