We now see yet another major theme or even paradox emerging in our discourse, in the sense that while lawlessness and anarchy in the international system stems from the fact that there is no overarching enforcement mechanism of international law in the international system, the need to bridge the gap between the behavior prescribed by international law and the behavior outside of international law is growing by the day as a result of rapid globalization and hyperconnectivity. 

We can perhaps use two indicators, one pertaining to a domestic context and one pertaining to an international context, in order to demonstrate that the need for conformity and compliance to a shared notion of mores, norms, and rules is growing and that in fact such a shared notion of mores, norms, and rules actually exists between and within nations, despite their surface differences. For one, in the United States, polling has shown that in terms of interracial marriages in the United States, the proportion of interracial marriages in the United States as a proportion of new marriages has gone from up from 3 percent in the 1960’s to about 20 percent in this current decade. Also, the overall approval rating for interracial marriages in the United States has gone up from about 4 percent in the 1950’s to an astounding 94 or 95 percent over the last couple of years. 

And on an international level, two-way trade between the two opposing poles in the international system – namely, the United States and China – has been going up over the course of the last few decades as opposed to going down, to the point where two-way trade between the two opposing poles of the international system reached an all-time high last year. As a result, not only is there a need for shared mores, norms, and rules as a result of changes and evolutions to our collective social reality due to globalization and technology, but these shared mores, norms, and rules actually exist between people of various background and cultures, as evinced by just two indicators which we have just employed. And perhaps the main reason as to why such a shared notion exists is because the basis for a shared notion is actually a law that is supernatural, according to certain legal theorists of “natural law” and so forth.

Hedley Bull has argued that there is essentially a “clash” between the “imperatives” of international law on one hand and the imperatives of the global balance of power on the other hand. For instance, the global balance of power requires war to a certain extent in order to “get the better of the balance” as one scholar argued, hence the war in Ukraine and so forth, even though such a war violates the core organizing principle of the international system, namely, sovereignty. But given that the law is ultimately political, it follows that the way in which the clash between the balance of power and international law is resolved is if international law “absorbs” the balance of power, as Bull suggested. 

This absorption of the balance of power by international law is ultimately diplomatic and political by nature, given that the law is “an instrumentality of political purposes of all kinds, and the promotion of order is only one of them.” Overall, the political will to fulfill duties and obligations set out by international law as well as the evolving social, political, and moral outlook of international society will absorb the balance of power into international law over the course of time, but of course, there are diplomatic and political initiatives which need to be undertaken in order to make that absorption happen. 

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