Better Gardening: Reconsidering Optimism and Cynicism towards the International Order

  • Daniel Kang
  • Cambridge International Law Journal
  • 2021

This short piece by CIL Research Assistant, Daniel Kang, primarily seeks to appeal both to the cynics and defenders of the international legal order. It highlights how cynicism remains untenable despite severe backlashes against the order, but also recognises the flaws within current defences of the order. It briefly draws on widening political divides in the US to distil key lessons for informing a better resistance against cynicism and an improved optimistic defence of the order. The article proposes that a new conceptualisation of the defence as inclusive and nurturing gardening may best guide us in this endeavour, one which also involves a healthy amount of introspection from states across the globe.

The article hopes that through adopting this better gardening of the international order, we can shed any impossibly Edenic conceptualisation of the garden and instead progressively work towards resolving already entrenched issues while engaging critical voices instead of sidestepping them.

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