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Article

Abstract

[A]lmost all nations observe almost all principles of international law and almost all of their obligations almost all of the time.

There is more than a kernel of truth in this quip about the problem of state compliance with international obligations. Without strong monitoring and compliance mechanisms, states are tempted to embrace international solutions and then not follow through with their obligations. Despite such shortcomings, multilateral agreements on issues as diverse as environment, peace, trade, and international debt have given rise to international regimes. Nowhere is this clearer than in the environmental context where recent events, such as the Soviet nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and the burning of Kuwaiti oil fields, remind us that pollution recognizes no borders.

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