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Unpublished Paper
ExpressO (2008)
  • E. Michael Abler, California Western School of Law

The international system stands at a crossroads. To the right, the road leads towards a New Internationalism defined by international norms, transnational organizations, and collective security. To the left, the road continues along the traditional realpolitik path marked by the preeminence of nation-state sovereignty, national self-interest, and balances of power. A critical factor in determining which road to take is how well the current collective security arrangement keeps the peace. That arrangement is centered on the U.N. Charter and the Security Council, which has relied heavily on economic sanctions to addresses breaches of peace and security. Critics contend that economic sanctions are inefficacious and illegitimate. Unfortunately, the alternatives are less effectual and more unviable. By undermining the practicality of collective security, these challenges push the international system towards the realpolitik path. A modest proposal successfully addresses these challenges. The U.N. General Assembly is the key. The Assembly is broadly representative of the international community and is the sole organization capable of creating a global consensus on an issue. By leveraging the Assembly’s strengths, collective security is reaffirmed, and continued movement towards a New Internationalism preserved.

The road chosen has tremendous ramifications on the critical questions of international peace and security because each road leads to sharply divergent world views.

  • United Nations,
  • Security Council,
  • international system,
  • economic sanctions
Publication Date
August 31, 2008
Citation Information
E. Michael Abler. "RETOOLING ECONOMIC SANCTIONS" ExpressO (2008)
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