The Use of Force in International LawThis seminar will examine the international jus ad bellum, which governs when states may use armed force across international borders. The jus ad bellum is widely understood to be both foundational to the modern international order and ineffective at constraining militarily powerful states. How is that so? We will ask what international law can realistically hope to accomplish in this area; which legal rules best achieve those goals; and to what extent the existing regime is capable of responding to modern security challenges, like cross-border terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and the commission of mass atrocities. We will focus not only on the black-letter doctrine but also on the power dynamics that affect whether global actors apply the doctrine in concrete cases.
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