Playing the Game of International Law

Uri Weiss*, Joseph Agassi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the realist game of international negotiations, each state attempts to promote their interest regardless of international law. Thus, it is a negotiation in the shadow of the sword, i.e. a negotiation in which each side knows that if the parties do not achieve an agreement, the alternative may be a war, and thus the bargaining position of its party is function of their capacities in a case of war. Negotiation in the shadow of international law is an alternative to it: in this alternative the parties negotiate according to their international legal rights. It reduces injustice and incentives to armament and to terror. It thus promotes peace. A state can choose unilaterally to play the game of negotiations in accord with international law by merely respecting the rights of one’s neighbours regardless to their waving swords, and by this have much more peace and generate incentives against terror and armament. This efficiently brings much more security and peace. A policy of respecting international law, combined with conditional generosity, is more efficient. The wish for peace should make a country encourage its neighbours to avoid armament. The best way to do so is to adopt a policy of unilateral respect for international law and conditional generosity towards one’s neighbours. The international community should enforce, or at least encourage, negotiations in accord with international law.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Systems, Decision and Control
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages35
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameStudies in Systems, Decision and Control
ISSN (Print)2198-4182
ISSN (Electronic)2198-4190


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