National Security Law

On behalf of all of us at Opinio Juris I would like to thank Tom Farer for joining us this week in the first Oxford University Press/ Opinio Juris book symposium to discuss his new book Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-Conservatism: The Framework of a Liberal Grand Strategy. We would also like to thank Kristen Boon and Mark Shulman for joining us...

Ken, since I have commitments most of today, I can answer only briefly and perhaps a little too abruptly, the surprising, even astonishing remarks in your last post, remarks so surprising, given their source, that I am wondering whether someone pretending to be you actually made the post. Let’s begin with the granular. In my post on the Israeli-Palestine conflict I...

Colleagues, The pan of discourse is beginning to sizzle. A delightful sound. So rather than racing on to another main issue I attempt to address in my book, in this post I stop and engage with discussants. Let me start with Ken Anderson in part because his very interesting categorization of ways of thinking about strategy lubricates a segue to Mark...

Tom Farer's 'Latin Americanization' thesis deserves comment; i.e. that recent anti-terrorism / Guantanamo  measures by the Bush administration are comparable to tactics that certain authoritarian Latin American regimes undertook, in that (i) states of emergency were proclaimed in conjunction with incursions on human rights, and that (ii) neither judicial nor congressional oversight effectively limited the executive's power. The analogy between the current US administration's behavior towards terrorism...

Building on Tom Farer’s insights, my friend Chris Borgen asks if “what we have is more like a grid with varying degrees of multilateralism and unilateralism as well as degrees of interventionism and noninterventionism.” Chris’s grid helps to explain intervention, i.e. when and how to intervene.  He implies that policy is made to reflect and implement ideas about the relationships...

I want first to qualify my statement in the last post that probably a majority of contemporary scholars and governments still cling to the position that the only legitimate uses of force are defense against armed attack and enforcement action authorized by the Security Council. In fact, particularly among European and American legal scholars and NATO governments there has grown...

This, according to an article in the Guardian, September 3, 2008, from a correspondent in Washington.  According to the story: "If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued," Biden said during a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, according to ABC. "[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution," he...

There are only two things about the consequences of the use of force that can be predicted with absolute confidence. One is that innocent lives will be destroyed. The other is that when democracies go on a war footing, the normally ample liberties of their residents (particularly resident aliens but also citizens) will shrink. It therefore follows from the description...

In his opening post and in the opening chapter of his book, Tom Farer gives us a tour of the horizon of how international law and self-interest interact in American foreign policy thinking. He paints a picture which focuses on a struggle between two different views of America's role in the world, the Liberal view and the Neocon view. In this...

I want to join the rest of Opinio Juris in welcoming Tom; I have read Confronting Global Terrorsm and American Neo-Conservatism with great interest and am looking forward to commenting on it.  As befits someone who, on some definitions anyway, probably counts as a neo-con, I have some disagreements with the book - starting, unsurprisingly, with the definition of neoconservative...