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This essay offers an installment of what would have been a continuing conversation with David D. Caron, a close colleague in the field of international law, on themes that engaged both of us across multiple phases of our intersecting careers. The issues are fundamental ones for both the theory and the practice of international law, involving such core concerns as how international law can be enforced in an international system that is not yet adequately equipped with institutions to determine the existence and consequences of violations or to impose sanctions against violators; and how to ensure that self-help enforcement measures in a largely decentralized and still incomplete system are consistent with the principles and values underlying the international legal order. David Caron was uniquely positioned to speak and write on these issues, not only with a mature scholar’s authority, but also with the authoritativeness conferred by the judicial appointments he held in recent years and the cases on which he would have deliberated and rendered judgments, but for his untimely death. Without his eloquent voice to provide wisdom and reach decisions in the context of concrete Disputes, I venture still-evolving thoughts on what may well seem unanswerable questions.


International Law | International Trade Law | Law