A trope of international law scholarship is that the United States is an “exceptionalist” nation, one that takes a distinctive (frequently hostile, unilateralist, or hypocritical) stance toward international law. However, all major powers are similarly “exceptionalist,” in the sense that they take distinctive approaches to international law that reflect their values and interests. We illustrate these arguments with discussions of China, the European Union, and the United States. Charges of international-law exceptionalism betray an undefended assumption that one particular view of international law (for scholars, usually the European view) is universally valid.
European Law | International Law | Law
European Legal Studies Center
Center on Global Governance
Anu Bradford & Eric A. Posner,
Universal Exceptionalism in International Law,
Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 52, p. 1, 2011; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 290
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/1628