Multilateral Conferences: Purposeful International by Ronald A. Walker (auth.)

By Ronald A. Walker (auth.)

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Chapters 5, 11, 12 and 13 will attempt to show how this can be done, at times. The other hurdle to be overcome before scepticism can be allayed is the widespread misconception that multilateral constructs such as international treaties and organisations are not an effective way of controlling the behaviour of governments. The next chapter therefore addresses this threshold question. 3 Influence on Governments There are four principal ways in which one government can use multilateral diplomacy to influence the decisions and actions of other governments.

It has become a benchmark of appropriate governmental performance: a government which does not comply is not living up to expectations; it is failing as a government. International law gets closest to the concept of norms with its concept of ‘customary international law’, sometimes called ‘the Laws of Mankind’, which are considered to apply to all states. The main means whereby governments can add to customary international law is by concluding and nurturing conventions. 5 Examples already cited include the Nuclear Safety Convention and the Universal Postal Convention.

Conclusion This is only a small sample of what might be said about how governments make decisions, and obviously the way these generalisations manifest themselves in different countries and at different times varies greatly; but I hope it is enough to demonstrate that here is a field of study, and potentially a field of expertise, deserving of the attention of all who aspire to influence the decisions that governments take. Formally, as we have noted, international relations is the interaction of states.

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