In the City of God, St. Augustine remarks, ""remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale?"" Aliano, a Queens College, CUNY, political scientist, concurs, and to drive the point home, he begins each section and chapter with an epigram from Puzo's The Godfather. From Augustine to the Corleone family is a long way, but the basic analysis hasn't improved much. Aliano points out that a system of law requires an authoritative coercive underpinning, which is precisely what is missing from international law--a commonplace observation in the literature. Properly speaking, then, there is no system of justice in world politics; the power of individual nation-states alone decides what can or cannot be done, and Aliano is quick to show that nations will generally do whatever they are strong enough to get away with. Although his entire presentation is an argument that the nation-state is an anachronistic political form unable to cope with the global nature of the contemporary crises of economics and ecology--also a common observation--Aliano still holds out for the establishment of a viable international legal system which, based on the precedents he cites, would perforce involve sovereign nation-states. Basically a jazzed-up version of a downbeat analysis.