In 1955, Lauterpacht was named to the International Court of Justice. By then he had helped fill in the rules of the new legal order, including the prohibition on conquest and gunboat diplomacy. He grounded the new principles in the 1928 Peace Pact.
On January 10, 1946, the first meeting of the UN General Assembly opened in the Methodist Central Hall at Westminster in London. The Hall, which served as an air raid shelter during the war, had miraculously emerged unscathed. Above the dais hung a golden map of the world from a North Polar perspective—an image that would soon become the official symbol of the United Nations.
When the United Nations building in New York was being designed, the architects debated how many seats to include in the General Assembly meeting hall (under construction in the distance). Oscar Schachter, a leading international law scholar, advised them to include room for an additional 20 states beyond the then-current 51 members. Today, the United Nations has 193 members.
On June 30, 1948, a member of the British army hauled down the Union Jack for the last time in Palestine. When the British Mandate over Palestine expired with no designated successor, the resulting legal vacuum made it impossible to resolve the ensuing conflict without the consent of all involved—leading to decades of fighting.
Today, international law is no longer enforced with war. Instead, it relies on “outcasting,” in which a group denies rule-breakers the benefits of cooperation. Outcasting is similar to law enforcement in Medieval Iceland, where any law-breaker could be excluded from the community. The photo shows the “Law Rock” around which the Icelandic “Lawspeaker” once recited the laws from memory.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, displacing approximately 160,000 Greek Cypriots. In the aftermath, Greeks searched for relatives. More than two decades later, one of the displaced, Titina Loizidou, sued for compensation in the European Court of Human Rights and won. Turkey refused to pay but capitulated after the Council of Europe threatened to outcast it.
Under the UN Charter, states may use armed force in self defense or if authorized by the United Nations Security Council. After Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait in 1990, the Security Council voted to adopt Resolution 678. Acting under this authority, the United States and coalition forces expelled Iraq from Kuwait.
Outcasting can work against the most powerful states. When running for President in 2000, George W. Bush promised to protect jobs in the steel industry. Once elected, he boosted steel tariffs. Several countries filed a complaint in the World Trade Organization, which found the tariffs illegal and authorized equivalent tariffs against swing state industries. Bush ended the steel tariffs shortly thereafter.
Ukrainians seeking closer relations with Europe began protesting in November 2013. The protests, which spread across the country, led to the outster of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, who had close ties to Russia.
Russia responded to the ouster of Yanukovych by sending unidentified gunmen into Crimea, including these in Simferopol Airport. Referred to in the press as “little green men,” for their camouflage absent insignia, they were later confirmed to be Russian military troops engaged in the illegal seizure of Crimea. Europe and the United States responded with sanctions, which caused Russian GDP to shrink by 3.4 percent in 2015.
By the 1980’s, chlorofluorocarbons from aerosols and Styrofoam production began to tear a hole in the ozone layer, which protects the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer used outcasting to encourage states to reduce their consumption of ozone depleting substances. As a result, the ozone hole, which reached its maximum size in 2000, has since shrunk by 4 million square kilometers.
Isands are one of the remaining sources of territorial conflict in the modern era, because the legal sovereign is often unclear. Nowhere is this more true than in the South China Sea. In 2014, in a bid to assert sovereignty over the contested Fiery Cross Reef, China began to turn the reef into a large artifical island. The white bloom is dredged sand dumped on the reef.
By September 3, 2015, Fiery-Cross Reef had been transformed into an island containing an almost 10,000 foot runway. It is now armed with anti-aircraft weapons and a missile-defense system. Nonetheless, no country has recognized Chinese claims over the reef.
Sayyid Qutb (r.), a young Egyptian intellectual, came to the United States in 1948 to study at Colorado State College. Qutb was appalled at the moral decadence, racism, and vacuity he encountered. “The soul has no value to Americans,” he wrote to a friend. “There has been a Ph.D. dissertation about the best way to clean dishes, which seems more important to them than the Bible or religion.”
After returning to Egypt, Qutb became a leader of Islamic extremist thought. He wrote his most influential work, Milestones, while imprisoned. In it, he argued that the war with the West has always been a battle of ideas—between those who recognize that only God possesses sovereignty and those who impute it to man.
Abū Bakr al-Baghdādī, the self-declared caliph of the Islamic State, gave his first public address on Ramadan in 2014. Qutb’s worldview permeated his message. Baghdādī called all Muslims to join the Islamic State—a state defined by belief, not ethnicity or nationality. The Islamic State has attracted tens of thousands of fighters.
In 2014, the Islamic State released a video entitled “The End of Sykes-Picot” in which a follower declares that his group will eliminate all state borders. Standing at an over-run border post between Iraq and Syria, he raises his right index finger in the air, a gesture that not only alludes to the “oneness” of God, but has also come to represent the Islamic State’s rejection of any legitimate source of authority but God—including every modern state.