State Department and other U.S. officials involved in consular activities, technical negotiations, and economic programs represent the majority of the American civilian, non-intelligence foreign policy establishment. Many would be puzzled by the question posed in this essay. International agreements, understandings, and conventions represent the daily grist and foundation of their work. These agreements, such as those on the rights of American citizens abroad, international trade, criminal extradition, and scientific cooperation, embody the corpus of customary law and mutually agreed-upon arrangements through which affairs among nations are ordinarily conducted. The behavior regulated by these arrangements actually represents the heart of day-to-day international activity below the "high politics" that attracts media attention.
Paul H. Kreisberg,
Does the U.S. Government Think That International Law Is Important?,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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