In Justifying International Acts, Professor Lea Brilmayer offers a theory of international relations which transcends a matrix composed of two conceptual axes. One axis represents a continuum measuring the degree to which the scholar in question believes in the need for, and intellectual plausibility of, some kind of justification for governmental action exogenous to self-interest. The other axis represents a continuum measuring the degree to which the scholar believes that governments, rather than the individuals affected, should be the focal points for our efforts at justification. In his review of Professor Brilmayer's book, Professor Lee notes that the principle proposed by the former makes recourse to neither national self-interest nor ethics. The approach taken by Professor Brilmayer effectively expands the parameters of international relations discourse by demanding a political justification for every act of transborder government coercion. Professor Lee applauds Professor Brilmayer's "vertical theory" for its ability to reveal the subtle interrelationships among political philosophy and may well lead to foreign policy that is more coherent and stable.
Evan T. Lee,
Relativism and Normative Choice in the Legitimation of Transnational Coercion,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol26/iss2/12