The 6th AIIFL Distinguished Public Lecture

The Transatlantic Divide: Development and Security

17 October 2003 (Friday) 6:30 pm
Council Chamber, 8/F Meng Wah Complex
University of Hong Kong

Professor Thomas Heller
Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies, School of Law, Stanford University; and Paul Hastings Visiting Professor in Corporate and Financial Law Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong

The lecture developed the hypothesis that the American form of modernity grew up and developed under different historical and economic conditions than did the European version of modern social, political and legal organization. This has, in turn, resulted in alternative visions of international relations, law and obligations. While there have been various currents of rapprochement and separation over the twentieth century, the events of the post-cold war world have emphasized important underlying differences in these alternative views of modernity that have become manifest in US-EU antagonisms on issues ranging from Iraq to multilateral institutions like the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court. However, the characterization of unilateral against multilateral does not adequately capture the causes or the meaning of these differences. Professor Heller completed the lecture with observations on problems relating to security — including terror, human rights and development aid — to elaborate these complex interactions.