Episode 5: The “Unmaking” of Treaties with John Bellinger

The United States now faces three cases before the International Court of Justice: two instituted by Iran and one by Palestine. With new cases pending against the U.S. in the ICJ, the Trump Administration announced its decision to withdraw from the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights with Iran and the 1961 Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

What are the implications of the ICJ’s decision on provisional measures in Iran v. United States? Will the U.S. drop out of the case? Were the treaty withdrawal decisions an overreaction or are they justified? Guest John Bellinger discusses his perspectives on the ICJ cases against the United States and U.S. foreign policy and decision-making considerations for treaty withdrawals.

Guest: John Bellinger, partner at Arnold & Porter and former Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State and Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council.

About the Podcast

The Society's podcast International Law Behind the Headlines, hosted by Catherine Amirfar and Kal Raustiala, tackles, through interviews with today's top legal experts, the international legal issues dominating today's headlines. All episodes are available via iTunes, SoundCloud, and here.

Catherine Amirfar is a litigation partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, Co-Chair of the firm's Public International Law Group and a member of the Management Committee. Her practice focuses on international commercial and treaty arbitration, international and complex commercial litigation, and public international law. Prior to rejoining Debevoise in 2016, Ms. Amirfar spent two years as the Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State and received the State Department's Superior Honor Award in recognition of her contributions to the Department. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Law Institute, and the U.S. State Department Advisory Council on International Law (ACIL). In 2020 Ms. Amirfar was elected President of the Society, having previously served as Vice President from 2016 to 2018.

Kal Raustiala is professor at UCLA School of Law and the UCLA International Institute. Since 2007 he has served as director of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations, and from 2012-2015 as UCLA's Associate Vice Provost for International Studies. A graduate of Duke University, Professor Raustiala holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, San Diego. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Chicago, Columbia, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, National University of Singapore, and Princeton. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former member of the editorial board of the American Journal of International Law, from 2016-2018 he served as Vice President of the American Society of International Law.