Is this the “End of International Law”?
So asks Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation, in his interesting piece about the recent U.S. cross-border raids into Pakistan and Syria, with Iran looming (see this NYT article for background). Dreyfuss is very worried about this doctrine, and suggests that its acceptance could result in the “end of international law.” I wouldn’t go that far, but it is definitely a challenge to traditional norms of international law, although as I suggested here, the doctrine does have some pedigree in the Law of the Sea. Supporters appear to have grafted a new element to the traditional “hot pursuit” doctrine: the idea that raiding a “failed” or at least “failing” state that cannot maintain its sovereignty is more justifiable. President Obama (yes, I’m trying to jinx him) may have a particular interest in this doctrine since raiding Pakistan was something he first raised a couple of years ago.