International military interventions endanger soldier and civilian lives, can be financially costly, and risk spiraling out of control. One incident which exemplified the risks involved a US and UK wish to stop a Russian ship from delivering helicopter gunships to the Assad regime in Syria in 2012. Forcibly intercepting a Russian ship in transit could have risked World War III, so they developed an alternative, non-confrontational maneuver: instead of military intervention, the UK persuaded the ship's insurer, London's Standard Club, to withdraw the ship's insurance. This loss of insurance caused the ship to return to Russia, thus avoiding an international clash as well as the delivery of deadly weapons to Syria. This use of legal maneuvering in lieu of armed force is known as "lawfare" and is becoming a critical tool in the foreign policy arena.
In Lawfare, author Orde Kittrie draws on his experiences as a lawfare practitioner, US State Department attorney, and international law scholar in analyzing the theory and practice of lawfare. Kittrie explains how factors including the increased reach of international laws and tribunals and the rise of economic globalization and information technology have fueled lawfare's increasing power and prevalence. The book includes case studies of recent offensive and defensive lawfare by the United States, China, all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and several non-governmental organizations and individuals. Kittrie asserts that much of the United States' most effective and creative lawfare today is being waged by private sector or other non-governmental attorneys. He analyzes why this is the case, and describes how such attorneys' expertise and experience can contribute even more to U.S. national security. Kittrie also explains that lawfare, deployed more systematically and adeptly by the U.S. government, could likely reduce U.S. and foreign casualties, and save U.S. taxpayer dollars, by supplementing or replacing the use of armed force as a tool for achieving some significant U.S. national security objectives. Understanding this alternative to armed force has never been more important.
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Orde F. Kittrie is a tenured Professor of Law at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, and director of its Washington, DC Semester Program. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan Washington, DC think tank. A renowned expert on lawfare, nonproliferation, the Middle East, and international security law, he served in the U.S. Department of State for over a decade in several key legal and policy positions, including as lead attorney for nuclear affairs, lead attorney for strategic trade controls, director of the Office of International Anti-Crime Programs, and special assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs. He has frequently testified before Congress, and twice served on National Academy of Sciences committees. He is the recipient of a university-wide annual award honoring outstanding teaching, and previously served as President of the Hispanic National Bar Association Southwest Region.
"Lawfare...provides a fascinating analysis of how the vacuum caused by the lack of a sheriff is playing out today in the international legal arena...[T]he book provides numerous, painstakingly documented examples of how, in recent decades, both other governments and non-state actors have increasingly altered and deployed law both to augment their own power and constrain that of the U.S. and its allies...[W]hile Lawfare does an outstanding job of diagnosing the role of law in the international arena, its greatest strength lies in its proposed antidotes - its balanced and practical recommendations for how the U.S. and its allies should respond. U.S. and allied policymakers and lawyers should read this important book and heed its call to action." -R. James Woolsey, Jr., Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Former Director of Central Intelligence (From the Foreword)
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