Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



international law, reprisals, McDougal, New Haven School, exceptionalism, soft law, monism, dualism, reciprocity, tit-for-tat, stability, evolution.

Subject Categories

Conflict of Laws | International Law | Law


Can international law be enforced against a state? Against a superpower? Various current theories answer in the negative: dualism, consent, domestication, soft law, the New Haven school, and exceptionalism. But this Article claims that international law is enforced all the time by unilateral or multilateral reprisals. The stability of international law over time is a function of the successful working of the reprisal system. In sum, international law is a coercive order.