Is international law 'positive morality'?

I agree to a certain extent that it is because there is no supreme body to enforce laws in the international arena and as such it is entirely up to a State to decide whether or not they want to comply with the rules. Nevertheless, a State might not always do what is morally correct if it is in their self-interest to benefit from the action in some way or another. I'm not sure that it's real law either but just 'suggestions'.

I'm curious to know what other people think ;)

I agree to a certain extent that it is because there is no supreme body to enforce laws in the international arena and as such it is entirely up to a State to decide whether or not it wants to comply with the rules. Nevertheless, a State might not always do what is morally correct if it is in their self-interest to benefit from the actions they take in some way or another. I'm not sure that it's real law either but just 'suggestions'.

I'm curious to know what other people think ;)

International law is more like club rules that everybody ostensibly plays by to keep everyone else from getting too mad at them. But of course if you have enough pull you can bend them, or if your infraction is minor no one is going to expend the effort to punish you.

So in that sense it is akin to a moral system. However, it is not based on morality but upon political expediency. Those two things may overlap sometimes, but it is important to remember that they are not the same.

Depend on how powerful the state is. If you're a powerless African nation, then it's ostensibly "law". If you're China or the US, then it's more a notion of good sportsmanship.

There's an idea behind it that no state is ever allowed to engage in stuff like slavery or genocide, or invade other nations without UN permission. But obviously a state vital to global economy/with a vast nuclear arsenal can just go ahead and do so anyway.

Ultimately, "international law" is one of the instruments of realpolitik, a noble lie which is in reality applicable only when it's allowed by it. It can't be any different in a system where there's such vast differences in strength between the supposed subjects of it, with the only thing they share being that they're generally more powerful than the UN.

The idea of a sovereign nation means that as a nation within its own territory they don't have to answer to anyone. While it seems that that means an 'evil' country can treat its citizens however it wants in violation of agreements like human rights, but in reality it means that no country can create laws, proclaim them to be international and then start enforcing them on smaller nations. For example, the declaration of human rights, written entirely based on the moral values of the US, includes the right to own property as a fundamental human right, but lots of countries consider systems like communism to be a viable and preferable alternative.
In, say, Cuba, noone has the right to own property and the government has the power to confiscate land or possessions without repayment, but ultimately this power is only used when it is truly in the public interest, and as a result there are things considered 'rights' in Cuba that don't exist in america, like free health care. The whole of the international law system is just western countries trying to make their political ideology appear to be the unarguably correct one, such that any other ideology seems to be breaking the human rights of its citizens and therefore evil.

No. UN is a relatively weak inter-national organization that relies upon its existing members for its power. Its peace-keeping armies rely upon contributions from the member states, and so are its own budgets. When member states refuse to act or actively block others from acting (like the USA blocking major UN attacks against Israel), there is no value to those laws. The UN's refusal to accept acts of slavery and genocide and condemn it as strongly as they can is one of the things that are "morally good".

The idea of a sovereign nation means that as a nation within its own territory they don't have to answer to anyone. While it seems that that means an 'evil' country can treat its citizens however it wants in violation of agreements like human rights, but in reality it means that no country can create laws, proclaim them to be international and then start enforcing them on smaller nations. For example, the declaration of human rights, written entirely based on the moral values of the US, includes the right to own property as a fundamental human right, but lots of countries consider systems like communism to be a viable and preferable alternative.
In, say, Cuba, noone has the right to own property and the government has the power to confiscate land or possessions without repayment, but ultimately this power is only used when it is truly in the public interest, and as a result there are things considered 'rights' in Cuba that don't exist in america, like free health care. The whole of the international law system is just western countries trying to make their political ideology appear to be the unarguably correct one, such that any other ideology seems to be breaking the human rights of its citizens and therefore evil.

 

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