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Cadmus  2012 

World Peace Through Law: Rethinking an Old Theory

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The author sets about re-thinking the old concept of “World Peace Through Law” (WPTL), meaning replacing the use of international force with the global rule of law. He traces the history of the WPTL concept back to the British legal philosopher Jeremy Bentham, whose 1789 ‘Plan for an Universal and Perpetual Peace’ proposed “a plan of general and permanent pacification for all Europe,” with troop reductions(especially in naval forces) and “a Common Court of Judicature” to resolve differences between nations. The author’s 21st century version of WPTL bears an uncanny resemblance to Bentham’s original proposal, calling for: 1) arms reductions (including abolition of nuclear weapons); 2) a four-stage comprehensive system of compulsory alternative dispute resolution(compulsory negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication); and 3) various enforcement mechanisms, including an international peace force.The author argues that now is the time for adoption of what is a mainstream middle-of-the-road proposition (previously adopted by four past American presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight David Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy) that is neither “too little” (our current strategy of “collective insecurity”) nor “too much” (world government or world federalism). Instead, WPTL calls for only 1) arms reductions, not general and complete disarmament; 2) compulsory international alternative dispute resolution systems, not a global legislature; and 3) means of effective enforcement (including an international police force), not pacifism.The whole concept of WPTL has been sadly neglected over the past half century. It is time to take a new look at the concept in this, the nuclear age.


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