Now that Americans have chosen the 44th President, international lawyers are beginning to scrutinize President-Elect Obama’s approach to foreign policy, and with that, how he perceives international law.
During the Democratic primaries Obama was quizzed by the American Society of International Law, and he emphasized the importance of international law in the conduct of American foreign policy, stating:
“Since the founding of our nation, the United States has championed international law because we benefit from it. Promoting – and respecting – clear rules that are consistent with our values allows us to hold all nations to a high standard of behavior, and to mobilize friends and allies against those nations that break the rules. Promoting strong international norms helps us advance many interests, including non-proliferation, free and fair trade, a clean environment, and protecting our troops in wartime. Respect for international legal norms also plays a vital role in fighting terrorism. Because the [George W. Bush] Administration cast aside international norms that reflect American values, such as the Geneva Conventions, we are less able to promote those values abroad.”
The ASIL survey can be accessed here.
Obama’s stance echoes Harvard Professor Noah Feldman’s discussion of international law in this recent article.