Eric F. Green

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Throughout this century, international law has focused on eliminating the use of force from interstate relations. In 1928, the signatories of the Kellogg-Briand Pact renounced war "as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another," and seventeen years later, hoping "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," states pledged to abide by article "2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force. The Charter's prohibition, however, is not absolute: it expressly permits state uses of force for self-defense and for U.N. purposes. These exceptions to the rule have provided and continue to provide legal cover (with varying persuasive power) for state recourse to violence. Instead of relying on these explicit exceptions, however, the Soviet Union has looked outside the U.N. Charter to justify its apparent violations of article 2(4). Soviet international law theorists argue that the October Revolution and the emergence of other socialist states have irrevocably altered the system of international relations and, since World War II, introduced into international law a socialist subsystem based on the principles of socialist internationalism.

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