In order to fulfill the requirements of the extra creditassignment I have chosen to further develop the third writing assignment, whichwas based on the Chayes and Chayes reading. The writing assignment is based ontwo questions: Why do states comply with international law? Why do states failto comply with international law? I will answer these two questions based onthe reading of Chayes and Chayes by merging the two questions together, andthen briefly adding in information from the readings by Alter and Guzman.
I willdo this to be able to get a full scope of the reasons why states may or may notcomply from several different perspectives relative to those of Chayes andChayes. Chayes and Chayes, Alter, and Guzman all present clear anddistinct frameworks as to why they believe states may or may not comply withinternational law. Firstly, I will start off with the argument made by Chayesand Chayes. Chayes and Chayes go about the explanation of why or why not statescomply, in their article “On Compliance,” by introducing a managerialistapproach. The three main justifications they provide in explaining why statesgenerally comply with international law are interests, efficiency, and norms.
According to Chayes and Chayes, states would comply when itis in their interest to do so, because the most basic principle of internationallaw is that a state cannot be legally bound except with their own consent.Therefore, a state would not enter into a treaty that does not conform to itsinterests. Furthermore, a treaty does not present a state with a single choiceof signing or not signing. A treaty is formulated in a way that ensures thatthe final result will represent an accommodation of the interests of thenegotiating states. When it comes to the second aspect relating to efficiency,Chayes and Chayes argue that making decisions is a costly action. Governmentalresources for policy analysis and decision making are costly and in shortsupply.
This means that it is beneficial for states to conserve those resourcesfor the most urgent and pressing matters. Efficiency dictates considerablepolicy continuity. Finally, states also comply with international law when thematter being discussed is regarded as a norm. Generally, states accept thatthey are obligated to obey the law, as one of the fundamental norms ofinternational law is pacta sunt servanda.In many countries, an endowment to which a state has formally assented entailsa legal obligation to obey and is presumptively a guide to action.