ment and air power that were so impressively demonstrated in the liberation of Kuwait. The irregular forces involved are, moreover, large in scale, so any potential intervenor is compelled to face the possibility of large-scale casualties. In Somalia, the environment is less unfavorable and the indigenous forces smaller, but the most effective intervenor, the United States, withdrew its forces following a domestic political response to combat losses among American troops.
Nevertheless, international law has played and continues to play an effective and important role in restraining the rule of force. This role may be characterized under two heads, one of which is an "invisible" effect, while the other has been highly visible, particularly in recent years.
Since the development of international law, which was formalized in the Western world in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, based in part on the practice of international relations and in part on the work of Grotius, a certain element of paradox has adhered to the concept of international law. International law exists, and is generally accepted in principle, but there exists no established and authoritative international police force having the general power to enforce it. In this respect, international law differs quite fundamentally from the laws of individual nations, which exist under some sovereign authority which (at least normatively) exercises a police power to enforce it.
Now, it is certainly true that international law, by itself force, possesses no direct power to prevent the resort to force by "rogue" states that are bent upon aggression or other violations of international law. If such states possess military power, only the countervailing military force of other states can impose restraint upon them. It is also true that when nations feel their most vital interests to be at stake, they may feel compelled to abandon efforts to seek redress through international law, and may ins