Essays On War In International Law
Indeed, there are lively and ongoing debates concerning just war doctrine in a number of academic disciplines and also among policy-makers and policy analysts.
But these groups rarely speak to each other and there is a growing gap between strong scholarship regarding ethics and war and policy-relevant work that can influence government decisions and public debates.
But the promotion of these principles and the development of the institutions to enforce them were strong enough that Walzer, in an important 2002 article, declared that there had been a “triumph of just war theory,” although he rightly also warned about “the dangers of success.” Among these dangers of success are overconfidence, complacency, and a failure to understand that new technologies can create new dilemmas regarding ethics and war. This issue of addresses how new technologies and political conditions create both challenges and opportunities in the prevention of war and constraint of violence within war.
The issue begins with three essays assessing how specific emerging military technologies are influencing current and potential operations in war.
Other technologies could better provide early warning of conflict and promote more effective peacekeeping, but pose new questions on ethical norms of the use of military force and intervention.
This essay surveys this landscape and introduces the principles of just war and the international law of war, upon which the issue’s contributors draw to discuss new and emerging dilemmas in the evolving warfare of the twenty-first century. SAGAN, a Fellow of the American Academy since 2008, is the Caroline S. Munro Professor of Political Science, the Mimi and Peter Haas University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University.
The United Nations Charter in 1945, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the Geneva Protocols of 1977 created legal institutions to interpret and promote traditional just war principles such as nonaggression, protection of prisoners, proportionality, and noncombatant immunity.
Cutting-edge technologies—drones, cyber weapons, autonomous weapons—could reduce collateral damage, but their ease of use could also breed more conflict by lowering the political costs of engagement.Yet significant changes in both military postures and political developments require a reconsideration of such categories.Rather than understanding the linkage among these categories in a linear continuum–from prewar to conflict and then to postwar decisions–our authors explore the ways in which these categories should be seen in a circular relationship, wherein the conditions that influence and affect military decisions in one of them ultimately reflect and influence the others.New knowledge about post-conflict medical system failures raises questions about both the best practices to end wars and sustain peace accords and about whether political leaders systematically underestimate the costs of going to war before they make decisions about military interventions.These are just a few of the emerging dilemmas that caused the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to create a new initiative on New Dilemmas in Ethics, Technology, and War in 2014.Drones provide the opportunity for more discriminate use of military force against targets, but can also provide a temptation to use military force more often or in more places than would otherwise be the case. commitment to a new war planning requirement–that U. nuclear weapons only be aimed against legitimate military targets that cannot be destroyed with reasonable prospect of success by conventional weapons–reduce civilian fatalities in a nuclear conflict, produce stronger adherence to the laws of armed conflict, and impact the credibility of deterrence?Walzer explores both the benefits and the dangers of drones from a just war theory perspective. Military technology is not developed in a political vacuum.Incentives to improve national security and win conflicts have often led to the development and use of new and more destructive technologies of war.And yet, especially since World War II, very strong incentives have also existed to prohibit aggression and promote self-defense, to encourage legal and moral constraints on violence in war to protect noncombatants, and to punish soldiers and political leaders whose actions are judged to be war crimes.Several technological innovations and political developments are changing the nature of warfare today in ways that pose complex challenges to the traditional standards that we use, under the influence of international law and just war doctrine, to judge governments’ and individuals’ actions in war.New technologies–including the use of drones, precision-guided weapons, cyber weapons, and autonomous robots–have led both to optimism about the possibility of reducing collateral damage in war and to concerns about whether some states find it too easy to use force today.