War, Commerce, and International Law
Despite international law doctrine that emphasizes fairness in wars between states, pillaging, confiscation, destruction of private property, and violation of contract rights continue to characterize wars and conflicts in the twenty-first century. In War, Commerce, and International Law, Professor James Thuo Gathii frames the relationship between war and commerce throughout history and in the contemporary world in terms of relationships between more powerful and less powerful states.
Through his use of relevant contemporary examples such as the resource war over “blood diamonds” and the commercialization of war through private military security companies like Blackwater, Professor Gathii explores the intersection of the public realm of diplomacy and war and the private realm of the global economy. In so doing, he convincingly demonstrates how the interpretation and application of ostensibly fair international law norms have nonetheless perpetuated the legacy of imperialism and colonial conquest in the modern world.
This book will engage and edify legal scholars, historians, and any readers interested in the complex connections between war, commerce, and the rules of international law in the modern world.
Harvard Law Review
"An important book. Gathii reconfigures our understanding of the relationship between violence and trade, between the public world of diplomacy or war - and the private legal world of global economic life. For Gathii, war is a legal institution - commerce the continuation of public politics by other means. And all of it has a history, told here with broad sweep and illuminating detail. This will be an indispensable reference for all those seeking to rethink the ways we are govern at the global level."
David Kennedy, Harvard Law School
"War and commerce are two of the great preoccupations of international law. Prof. Gathii's superb book sheds original and sometimes startling light on the complex and shifting relations between war and commerce. This pioneering book provides rich new insights into some of the fundamental issues confronting our discipline."
Antony Anghie, Professor of Law, College of Law, University of Utah
"James Gathii is one of the most knowledgeable and perceptive critical thinkers in international law today. His important book on a long-neglected subject describes the law against plunder, pillage, and confiscation in armed conflict and occupation, and the tragic failures to respect this law. With these facts revealed, his hope and ours is for greater compliance with this and other humanitarian law."
Mary Ellen O'Connell, Robert and Marion Short Chair in Law, University of Notre Dame
Prof. Gathii's historic work opens up a completely new vista in the critical scholarship of international law. It is an intellectual project of enormous substance and innovative method. He has taken the blinding veil off the sanitized and traditional jurisprudence of international law. Prof. Gathii has written for the ages - a book by which future scholarship in international law will have to be judged."
Makau Wa Mutua, Dean and Professor of Law, University of Buffalo Law School