Volume 109
Issue 5
April '21

The Missing D in U.S. Foreign Relations Law

Written By: David G. Moore

Abstract

United States foreign relations law once subsisted on the outskirts of constitutional and international law. Now a recognized field of scholarship in its own right, foreign relations law addresses some of the most important questions of our time, such as whether the President may unilaterally conduct strikes against Iran or withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. For all its importance, however, U.S. foreign relations law has developed with blinders on. U.S. foreign policy embraces at least three Ds: defense, diplomacy, and development. Yet foreign relations law scholarship has approached the critical questions of the field almost exclusively through the lens of defense and diplomacy. This Article highlights the missing D in U.S. foreign relations law and, in so doing, makes two primary contributions. 

First, the Article expands the field of foreign relations law to embrace development fully and demonstrates how that embrace qualifies the conventional wisdom on core issues, such as the scope of presidential power, the relationship between the President and Congress, and the role of U.S. states and cities in foreign affairs. Second, the Article introduces a new research agenda for foreign relations law scholarship. If foreign relations law could significantly neglect an established component of U.S. foreign policy for so long, what else is missing? Drawing on the characteristics of development aid, the Article identifies avenues for research that may uncover further areas of neglect. 

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