Towards a New Theory of International Law
- January 27th, 2020
- in Capstone Commentary
by James Niiler
Since the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the West – and now by extension the rest of the world – have supposedly relied on the concept of national sovereignty as the guiding principle of international law. However, the true principle of international law is not actually national egalitarianism, but liberalism, the ideological backbone of Western foreign policy.
Liberalism is the belief in the so-called ‘open society.’ It posits the natural state of humanity is one of perfect freedom (Gaus et al., 1996). It champions individualism, egalitarianism, and the democratic process as the ideal methods for social governance. Its economic arm, neoliberalism, seeks to draw the world closer together into the fold of capitalism and free trade; its military arm, neoconservatism, seeks to expand liberalism through armed conquest.