Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Erik M. Jensen

First Page



Right V. Might contains much of interest, and it is a useful primer. But it is not helpful as a guide to national behavior. The amoralistic positions of many of its contributors are not ones that the United States, or any other states concerned with principle, should adopt. The United Nations Charter, narrowly construed, is not a moral document. While few seriously advocate the Charter's repudiation, moral discourse would not be harmed by such an act, and life would go on with states acting largely, although not entirely, on the basis of perceived self-interest. Professor Henkin uses doomsday rhetoric to suggest that repudiating the Charter would help create a relativistic world: "Rejecting the Charter in effect would reject Nuremberg, undermine our national justification in history, and reestablish Adolf Hitler as no worse than anyone else." That is nonsense. A relativistic world in which mini-Hitlers are immune under international law already exists in the international lawyers' interpretation of the United Nations Charter's dictates on force.