By Charles Covell (auth.)
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Additional info for The Law of Nations in Political Thought: A Critical Survey from Vitoria to Hegel
This is true not least, and in fact notably so, with the thinkers for whom the natural law conceptualization was crucial in regard to state law and the law of nations. For this conceptualization provided for the integration of law proper with the normative principles of justice and political morality, and it conﬁrmed the universality of the latter principles, as in accordance with the standpoints speciﬁc to the liberal tradition. As to liberalism in its international application, it is to be observed again that the thinkers we discuss all allowed that states and rulers were subject to law in the sphere of their mutual external relations, as it is to be observed also that the law of nations, as the relevant form of law, was accepted by the thinkers to contain the principles, such as sovereignty and the faith of treaties, that are central to liberal internationalism.
It was also lawful to take the money of innocent parties and to destroy their food crops and livestock, when Vitoria, Suarez, Gentili and Grotius 35 this was required to weaken the war effort of the enemy. However, the despoliation of the innocent population was not to be undertaken if the war could be carried on successfully without doing so. In cases where the enemy powers would not restore things wrongfully seized in war, then the injured parties were permitted to recover the measure of what was due from guilty and innocent parties alike.
Indeed, this international law system is itself to be read and interpreted as nothing less than a concrete expression and embodiment of liberalism, as a tradition in international thought and practice and with its own particular standpoint on international questions. That all of this holds is underlined through attention to the general principles of international law, as so, for example, with noninterference, self-determination, the sovereign equality of states and the binding force of international obligations.
The Law of Nations in Political Thought: A Critical Survey from Vitoria to Hegel by Charles Covell (auth.)