Foreign Policy Blogs

Law and Security Strategy

International Law vs. Municipal Law

A conversation in the comments section of one of last week’s posts deserves its own post.  The conversation was geared toward answering this question:  If the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules some act illegal, is the act definitively illegal?  Commenter Dan and I took opposing sides, him answering no, me answering yes. My position […]

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East Timor's Strategic Decision

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer reported last night about the 10th anniversary of East Timor’s independence.  Following Portuguese decolonization of Portuguese Timor in 1974, East Timor declared independence, and was subsequently invaded by Indonesia.  East Timor battled Indonesia for independence for the next two decades, eventually winning in the late 1990’s.  One particular line of […]

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Was it Terrorism?

How the Fort Hood crime is prosecuted depends on how the word ‘terrorism’ is defined.  However, as Slate notes: There’s no precise, internationally accepted definition of terrorism or who qualifies as a terrorist. One 1988 study identified 109 definitions for terrorism, and it’s a safe bet there are now many more. The U.S. Code contains […]

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"Gillette v. United States" and Hasan

The New York Times earlier this week on Major Nidal Malik Hasan: In recent years, he had grown more and more vocal about his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and tortured over reconciling his military duties with his religion. He tried to get out of the Army, relatives said, and apparently believed […]

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The Two Walls

Since the Israeli West Bank barrier went up in 2002, comparisons to the Berlin Wall have not been hard to find.  Yesterday’s historic anniversary naturally invites a revisitation to the analogy. Legality is actually one of the most potent differences between the two cases.  The Berlin Wall didn’t violate international law.  In fact, the East […]

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In the 16th century, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote: You must understand, therefore, that there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force.  The first way is natural to men, and the second to beasts.  But as the first way often proves inadequate one must needs have recourse to the second.  So a prince must […]

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