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Europe, the USA, and the Shape of International Legal Order: A comparative study of International weapons restrictions


The project examines the factors shaping the development of international legal norms regarding the conduct of warfare. Within this broad focus, it tries to illuminate three interrelated issues by combining insights from the fields of international relations, law, and comparative politics.

The project seeks to explain the different European and US approaches to humanitarian and security problems and their impact on international humanitarian law in the post-Cold War period. Based on several cases of international weapons restrictions, it tries to show that whereas there are differences on these issues across the Atlantic, they are not inherent in any fundamentally different cultural understandings or military capabilities, but are the product of different distributions of power among actors in those societies and the institutional structures that intermediate among them.

The analysis of state positions on the same weapons issues over time aims at explaining the process of gradual development of a Europe an approach toward humanitarian problems and the roles NGOs and EU institutions play in it.

The project explores the importance of the distribution of power in the state system, great power legitimacy, and moral values for shaping the laws of war through historical comparisons of international restrictions on weapons with inhumane or indiscriminate effects in three periods characterized by different power distributions (the relative multipolarity of the late 19th century, the bipolarity of the 1970s, and the unipolarity after the Cold War).

Pursuing my project at a European institution where I can get additional training in my fields of interest will greatly enhance the quality of my research and career prospects.

I hope that it would have important theoretical and policy implications about the future of transatlantic relations and the role of Europe as a balancer in the legal arena and trendsetter in the development of new international norms.

Call for proposal

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