Category Archives: International Security

From Protecting Lives to Protecting States: Use of Force Across the Threat Continuum

Retired Brigadier General Kenneth Watkin’s new book, Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: Controlling the Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict, helps address some of the issues with the increasingly blurred line between international humanitarian law and human rights law. Professor Mitt Regan’s review addresses the trends that Watkin regards as posing novel challenges for states accustomed to traditional concepts of the use of force and discusses Watkin’s concepts that are especially relevant to the question of how much the traditional categories of law enforcement guided by human rights principles and armed conflict governed by international humanitarian law should continue to frame thinking about the use of force. Regan also critiques Watkin’s use of the binary framework of law enforcement and armed conflict to guide analysis.

Prominence Effect

Countering the Prominence Effect: How US National Security Lawyers Can Fulfill Non-Prominent Humanitarian Objectives

Decision researchers describe a “prominence effect” that leads decision makers to choose an option with more defensible attributes when quantitative assessment of those options is difficult. Prominence is hypothesized as a factor in US policy decisions not to use military force to prevent or stop humanitarian crises. Prominence is also regarded as a behavioral failure affecting both the general public and public officials that can be mitigated to improve welfare outcomes in transnational security decisions. This article—by David G. Delaney and Paul Slovic—considers those hypotheses as they relate to attorneys advising the US president and other senior public officials addressing transnational security issues. It proposes a combination of institutional, organizational, and individual steps to mitigate prominence and related behavioral failures.

Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign Immunity in Cyber Space: Towards Defining a Cyber-Intrusion Exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In light of recent foreign cyber-assaults that have jeopardized personal privacy in the United States, it is time for individuals to explore opportunities for private suits against foreign governments. In the first attempt to do this, Doe v. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the courts found that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act barred suit under the Wiretap Act’s private cause of action and the common law tort of intrusion upon seclusion. Kurland posits that either a new exception should be added to the FSIA to ameliorate this legal lacuna.