What “New Rules of War?”

May 20, 2010

I’ve been meaning to comment for awhile on the Mar/April print issue of Foreign Policy , and I finally got around to posting my observations at Current Intelligence. In brief, for an issue devoted to transformations in the way we fight, what struck me is how completely the authors and FP editors overlooked the ways in which the trends described relate to the law of war:

Even John Arquilla’s lead article misleadingly titled “The New Rules of War” gives no thought whatsoever to the actual moral and legal rule-sets governing war: humanitarian law, the law of armed conflict, and the UN charter regime… This is a pity not only because very few military professionals actually think this way, but also because for every single point made in the issue about military doctrine, force structure, civil-military relations or grand strategy, there are important “rules of war” questions that need some serious consideration by thought leaders in the beltway.

For a variety of examples engaging Arquilla, Luttawak and Singer, click here to read the whole thing.

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.