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The reading materials in Week 6 explore the impact of international law on states, and more specifically, state behaviors. The idea is not to oversimplify the influence of international law but to understand in what circumstances (under various theories) would the legal framework and rules of international society shape and limit the behavior of nations and their alternatives. And these include many scenarios that constitute a change in state behavior - such as abstaining from invasion to imposing tariffs. One notes that state actions are primarily motivated by state interests. A state might uphold international law or norms because it is advantageous to its interest or even when it comes as a great sacrifice. The readings offer several theories hypothesizing why states might or might not conform to international law.

From a state psychology point of view, "Politics of Law Observance" suggests that some states may not observe the law because of a priori assumption of how other nations would behave. For instance if country A does not feel that the international community will impose threatening sanctions (or not threatening enough) to induce a change in behavior, then Country A would violate the law. Other (less cynical) reasons for non-compliance include ambiguity of legal rules, where the enforcement provisions are also vague that violating country knows that other nations wouldn't know how to quite respond. Moreover there could be limitations on capacity, where the states simply cannot perform the agreement either because of impossibility or fundamental change in circumstance.

"The Theory of Compliance" suggests that efficiency, interests, and norms are three reasons for compliancy. In economic reasoning - since international law establishes an authoritative rule system, simply observing the law saves transactions since the burden of persuasion rests on the deviator. There are also important foreign policy reasons for observing the law - such as common interests of nations. There is a built-in presupposition that nations have a common interest in keeping society and international relations orderly and friendly. States will observe international law when it suits their short-term or long-term interests. For instance, even in contentious treaties, states are engaged in an active process to weigh the benefit and burdens of legal commitment and more fully define their own interests. More subtly, there are "norms" that induce compliance. Taking a cross-example from "Politics of Law Observance," this could include domestic influences such as national values can also mold attitudes towards a particular law or obligation. It is common that Western countries observe international law more often than totalitarian regimes - because the people in free countries have internalized a particular obligation

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