A careful examination of the nature of international relations and the specific technique of international law shows a basic difficulty confronting every attempt to regulate relations between States. It is the fact that in case of disputes between States there exists no authority accepted generally and obligatorily as competent to settle international conflicts, that is, to answer impartially the question: which of the parties to the conflict is right and which is wrong. If the States do not reach an agreement, or do not voluntarily submit their dispute to arbitration, each State is left to decide for itself the question whether the other State has violated, or is about to violate, its right; and the State which considers itself injured is free to enforce the law, and that means what it considers to be the law, by resorting to war or reprisals against the alleged wrongdoer. Since the other State has the same competence to decide for itself the question of law, the fundamental legal problem remains without impartial solution. The objective examination and unbiased decision of the question whether or not the law has been violated is the most important and essential stage in any legal procedure. As long as it is not possible to remove from the States in dispute the prerogative to answer for themselves this question of law and transfer it once and for all to an impartial authority, namely, an international court, further progress toward the reign of law and order in the world will be slow indeed.