This book looks at the evolving relationship between war and international law, examining the complex practical and legal dilemmas posed by the changing nature of war in the contemporary world, whether the traditional rules governing the onset and conduct of hostilities apply anymore, and how they might be adapted to new realities. War, always messy, has become even messier today, with the blurring of interstate, intrastate, and extrastate violence. How can the United States and other countries be expected to fight honourably and observe the existing norms when they often are up against an adversary who recognizes no such obligations? Indeed, how do we even know whether an "armed conflict" is underway when modern wars tend to lack neat beginnings and endings and seem geographically indeterminate, as well? What is the legality of anticipatory self-defense, humanitarian intervention, targeted killings, drones, detention of captured prisoners without POW status, and other controversial practices? These questions are explored through a review of the United Nations Charter, Geneva Conventions, and other regimes and how they have operated in recent conflicts. Through a series of case studies, including the U.S. war on terror and the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Kosovo, and Congo, the author illustrates the challenges we face today in the ongoing effort to reduce war and, when it occurs, to make it more humane.

part |27 pages


chapter 1|25 pages

The Changing Nature of War

Do we need new rules for an old problem?

part |56 pages

The Laws of War

chapter 2|23 pages

On Starting a War

The United Nations Charter and Other Jus Ad Bellum Rules

chapter 3|21 pages

On Conducting a War

The Geneva Conventions and Other Jus In Bello Rules

chapter 4|10 pages

On Concluding a War

The Absence of Jus Post Bellum Rules

part |53 pages

The Laws of War

chapter 5|19 pages

Applying Jus Ad Bellum Rules to the New Warfare


chapter 6|21 pages

Applying Jus In Bello Rules to the New Warfare


chapter 7|9 pages

Applying Jus Post Bellum Rules to the New Warfare


part |15 pages


chapter 8|13 pages

Adapting to the New Face of Violence