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Chapter Five: The Emerging World Order

Section 5: Enforcement


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Mexican Dance by Russian Dancers (two shown), 1998. 



Even within the confines of customary international law and treaties, there will be disputes. Roger Fisher identifies four basic mechanisms for resolving such disputes. The first is making an all-out effort to win. This is generally unsatisfactory in view of goals of increasing power and promoting ''peace". The second is called "we decide who should win. The third is "we adapt to our adversary's efforts." Fisher argues that each of these approaches may aggravate disputes. These two approaches in effect describe the situation when domestic courts determine the outcome of conflicts.



The most desirable mechanism for resolving disputes from the point of view of the long-term interests of nations is the fourth, "we let an independent mechanism decide who wins".



Reference to an independent process conserves resources, avoids damage to the game, provides for winning some disputes and losing others, and also serves as a strategy which is largely invulnerable to disclosure and reciprocal use by others. It has the further advantage of helping structure a complex, confusing and continuous situation into a set of limited and discrete disputes that can be dealt with one at a time. This enables the parties to the game to keep score, to see that no one party is always having his way, and above all tends to keep the amount involved in any one dispute small enough so that the system of wins and losses is acceptable. (Fisher, Points of Choice, p. 83).



 The independent mechanism may be an arbitration group specifically selected for a given dispute, or a regional court such as the European Court of Justice and Court of Human Rights, or a world wide court such as the International Court of Justice. Permanent rather than temporary institutions are preferred to ensure that principles are applied consistently from case to case, and so that the selection of an arbitration panel does not itself become part of the dispute. Global rather than regional courts are preferred for purposes of uniformity, thus the importance of the UN decision making organs, notably the International Court of Justice (ICJ).







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