From Treaties to Tweets: The (In)Formality of War Termination

Treaty of Versailles detail by William Orpen

This article explores the causes for informality in war termination and advocates for a return to formality.

Forever wars are a new, pervasive problem. Around the world, conflicts have been simmering and occasionally boil over. They do not seem to end, and this is not normal. International law scholars debate why this is happening, pointing to an expanding law of war, technological advances, and a strategic equilibrium that favors war over peace, among others.

The authors propose that one of the main causes is the rise of informal war termination—the shift from “Treaties to Tweets.” They advocate re-injecting formality back into the process of war termination to put an end to forever wars.

By Laurie Blank

Assistant Professor, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy; Academic Head, International Program in Government (RRIS); Senior Researcher, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, Reichman University; Adjunct Scholar, Modern War Institute (West Point); Senior Fellow, Lieber Institute of Law and Land Warfare (West Point).

By Daphne Richemond-Barak

Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law; Senior Fellow, Lieber Institute of Law and Land Warfare (West Point). On leave during the 2022-2024 academic years and serving as Special Counsel to the General Counsel, Department of Defense. The views expressed here are personal and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or the United States Government.

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