The term “lawfare” is increasingly used to characterize the pervasive role of law in the conduct of war, but there is nothing new about the concept. Law has always played a role in war, requiring that a pragmatic balance be struck between the necessities of war and the need to protect the innocent. The significance of this balance between military necessity and humane treatment under the law has never been more central to the credibility of U.S. military operations than it is today. The real question raised today is whether “lawfare” will come to define a fundamental distortion of this […]
September is the showcase month at the U.N. headquarters in New York. In 2009, in addition to rolling out the red carpet for newly elected leaders from the U.S. and Japan, the organization also made ambitious attempts to address climate change and nuclear nonproliferation. Compared to past years, expectations were sky high, as President Barack Obama delivered a speech detailing his administration’s commitment to multilateralism after years of U.S. neglect. With Washington’s full backing, the U.N. seems ripe for an image makeover to accompany the structural facelift currently in progress. However, despite the optimism, no one is forecasting any progress […]
The U.N. climate change negotiations currently underway and set to conclude in Copenhagen late in 2009 seek to establish new arrangements in anticipation of the termination of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. According to our current understanding of the science, a successful outcome to these negotiations is critical to maintaining a stable climate, even if the estimates of the costs of damage from inaction vary widely. The negotiations are currently beset by a series of obstacles. But if these are overcome, the resulting agreement will change the global landscape in terms of trade, politics and the entire international system. The […]
Commander Derek Granger, captain of the U.S.S.Donald Cook, discusses counter-piracy operations during a patrol on theGulf of Aden. Video by David Axe.
Fourteen years after the massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in Bosnia, the perpetrator of the largest atrocity in Europe since World War II, indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic, still roams free. Worse still, if the recent anniversary of the massacre — which garnered little notice in European countries and the United States — as well as recent diplomatic signals are any indication, Europe and the U.S. seem ready to effectively turn the page on his arrest. This is surprising, because while the instruments of international accountability are slow and cumbersome, they are beginning to demonstrate the capacity to […]
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently completed its most comprehensive assessment in months of Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s degree of cooperation with the agency and U.N. Security Council resolutions. Although the Aug. 28 report (.pdf) notes some new developments, its basic message is that Iran has not appreciably changed its main nuclear policies despite years of negotiations, U.N. sanctions, and its recent presidential elections. As a result, as in the past, both advocates and opponents of harsher sanctions on Tehran can cite some of the agency’s findings to support their positions. The report, which was promptly leaked to […]
The Internet made a major contribution to global society by disrupting the regulation of media content by nation-states. It took the libertarian principle of “absence of prior restraint” and globalized it: No one had to ask for permission, or be licensed, to make their ideas and publications globally accessible. This open access, sometimes praised as “network neutrality” or the “end to end principle,” took states by surprise. The explosion of ideas, services and expression associated with the Internet’s growth in the mid-1990s happened because states weren’t prepared for it and because states weren’t in charge. Yet even if we accept […]