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Under the international legal system, enforcement does not necessarily follow authoritative decision. In contrast with the structure of national legal systems, international decision-making processes typically do not take place within a system that offers institutionalized assurance of bringing about compliance. Uncertain enforcement of international decisions reduces the incentive to comply in particular cases. Possible failure of enforcement moreover undermines expectations of effectiveness and authority which are fundamental aspects of any regime of law. On the international plane enforcement action may imply the resort to coercive measures of a possibly violent nature. It may therefore entail the threat of an armed confrontation between enforcer, or enforcement agency and the party against whom the international decision is to be made effective. The choice of the proper enforcement strategy will thus depend on a balanced assessment of the probability of effectiveness and the maintenance of peace associated with the particular alternative courses of action available in a given situation.

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