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Defending the Society of StatesWhy America Opposes the International Criminal Court and its Vision of World Society$
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Jason Ralph

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199214310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199214310.001.0001

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International Society and America's War on Terrorism

International Society and America's War on Terrorism

(p.181) 7 International Society and America's War on Terrorism
Defending the Society of States

Jason Ralph (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The evidence presented in previous chapters contributes to the general argument that the US defends the idea of a society of states because it is in the kind of society that America can preserve a preferred self‐image and can best advance its particular interests. This chapter develops that argument one stage further by focusing on the US response to the terrorist attacks of 9–11. From the perspective of the Bush administration, only those fighting on behalf of sovereign states could claim a right to lawful belligerency and the right to protection under the laws of war. Dealing with the terrorist threat through the norms of the society of states, therefore, provided additional normative criteria to delegitimize Al Qaeda and it put the issue of counter‐terrorism in a legal and political setting the US could, as the most powerful state, more or less dictate. The chapter provides historical context to this policy by focusing on the US rejection of Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions and illustrates how US lawyers also used the concept of sovereignty in an attempt to escape the oversight of national as well as international courts.

Keywords:   sovereignty, international order, laws of war, war on terror, Al Qaeda, unlawful combatant, Guantánamo Bay, Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol, Supreme Court

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