Jörg Fisch 21 Journal of the History of International Law 6 : 21–26, 2004. ©2004 Koninklijke Brill NV. Printed in the Netherlands. Power or Weakness? On the causes of the worldwide expansion of European international law Jörg Fisch ONUMA Yasuaki’s “When was the Law of International Society Born? – An Inquiry of the History of International Law from an Intercivilizational Perspective”, JHIL, Vol. 2 (2000) 1-66. Onuma Yasuaki’s article is an important contribution to our understanding of present international law and its history. I fully subscribe to his distinction between European and universal international law, and to his thesis that there was no worldwide interna- tional law before the twentieth century, while at the same time there existed other regional systems. I would like to add two points to Onuma’s propositions. The first is a limitation of the validity of his thesis to modern scholarship, the second is a re-evalu- ation of the part played by European power and superiority, showing that the present international society is the result not of European superiority but of European weak- ness. 1. Realism of the Contemporaries, Illusions of Modern Scholars Eurocentrism is the vice, or the weakness, or the arrogance of
Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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