I differ with Cheng's appraisal of certain events and think that we need a more sophisticated analysis of the twin policy goals he identifies and embraces--self-determination and global order--before they can offer real policy guidance. But State Succession and Commercial Obligations stands out as a rigorously researched, original, and insightful effort to understand this quite confused and opaque body of international law. Cheng's work will both enable and encourage a more candid, reasoned, and constructive debate about the global policies at stake each time “a state fundamentally changes its structures of power and authority, and an authoritative international response is needed to manage disruptions to international arrangements that may result from that change.” Briefly, I find Cheng's analysis of the dynamics of State succession relative to commercial obligations sophisticated, pragmatic, descriptively comprehensive, and, for the most part, normatively compelling. But it may be too ambitious. Defining disruptions to global commerce as the principal indicia of State succession tends to inflect, and at times to bias, the general analysis of the diverse phenomena that fall within the rubric of State succession. This commercial focus can obscure or normatively predispose our understanding and appraisal of equally vital, but non-economic, dimensions of State succession, including the core policy goals--self-determination and global order--that Cheng identifies and recommends. And to a certain extent, this compromises the work's descriptive accuracy and normative appeal.
Robert D. Sloane,
The Policies of State Succession: Harmonizing Self-Determination and Global Order in the Twenty-First Century Tai-Heng Cheng, State Succession and Commercial Obligations,
30 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1288
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol30/iss4/7