Public International Law
Through the first half of the course, we have concentrated on several major ideas. The first idea is that to understand what is really going on with
complex international problems, we have to study the situation carefully, peeling back layers of information to expose the current issue, the
historical background to that issue, who the stakeholders are in both change and in the status quo, and what the political objectives are of all the
states and others with an interest. So, for example, if we were to look at Russia and Crimea, we would have to know the basic timeline of the story,
then look for the motivations of the key players and the historical and political reasons for them to take the positions they do, then think about
the political strategies and outcomes the key players want to have (Ukraine, Russia, the EU, the US, and maybe NATO).
The second theme for the first half of the course is to look at international law as a set of tools in a tool box that may be helpful in solving the
complex problems, or in some instances, may interfere with solving that problem. For example, well always see the interests of sovereign states in
exerting their power. Well see them act unilaterally, or negotiate treaties, or form alliances with other states. Well often also see the involvement
of IGOs and NGOs in these problems, and sometimes the involvement of civil society (businesses and people) will shape the resolution of big problems.
Weve also examined some pretty big issues as weve had class over the past several weeks. Two of the current world problems that could benefit from
some thoughtful analysis are:
1.The emergence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the armed response of other countries to their fighters.
2.The emergence of the Ebola epidemic in countries that have poor public health infrastructures.
Your job is to choose one of these stories to work on. Prepare a brief (no more than 2 pages) timeline of the key events. Then prepare a 2 page
discussion of what you believe are the key long-term issues and who they important stakeholders are, and if relevant, what large historical forces
led us to where we are now with the situation. Finally, prepare a 2 page discussion of what you see as the tools and actions that are available
consistent with international law as a means of addressing (and maybe even solving) the situation.
The audience for your paper should be one of the following:
(1) The President of the U.S.
(2)The Prime Minister of France
(3)The President of the Peoples Republic of China
(4)The President of South Africa