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The following sections attempt to analyze the concealed uses of the concept jus cogens and to offer an interpretation of its possibilities and dangers for a future world order. First, the inquiry is framed by introducing criteria for peremptory norms, the theme of dual formalism, and the problematic analogy to public order in municipal law. A review of the concept's contemporary development follows. The inquiry then explores ideological conflict and some questions of content, including two recent decisions against the United States. The final section revisits the myth of supernorms, including the problem of dissonance with ordinary norms, incommensurability of the dual normative systems, and a brief note on Cardinal Richelieu's reason of state and international public order.