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This article addresses whether international law today is capable of instituting the rule of law. It offers a renewed look at the internationalists who brought us modern international law, such as Lauterpacht, Cassin and Lemkin. They tenaciously worked at placing the individual’s right to life and to human dignity front and center in international law while also preserving peace among states. Their struggle began in earnest first in the interwar years after the “war to end all wars” (1918 – 1939), and then again in 1945 after yet another, still worse, world war had occurred, devastating Europe, but leaving the internationalists with undiminished commitment. The internationalists drew inspiration from others, such as Grotius and Vattel, and in a more general way from the Enlightenment tradition in which they were steeped. The article looks beyond international law to fields that can shed light on both the internationalists and on prospects for international law in its dynamic with the rule of law. It incorporates work from philosophy, political science, history, diplomacy and even psychology. It explores arguments surrounding the U.N. Charter’s Article 2 prohibition against humanitarian intervention, and the issue of whether war is inevitable, and if war can be moral. It seeks to create a dialogue among the thinkers whose work was consulted, both from the standpoint of their various fields and across time, sometimes even across centuries. In this way, readers are invited to draw independent conclusions from the sources discussed, as the author takes them along the path she followed in reaching her own assessments.