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Claims to Pre-emptive Uses of Force: Some Trends and Projections and Their Implications for World Order

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Chapter Summary

The United States’ claim to a right of what has come to be known as “pre-emptive self-defense” has provoked deep anxiety and soul-searching among the members of the college of international lawyers. The United Nations Charter’s prescription with respect to the use of force is essentially binary: a use of military force is either in self-defense, as that concept is conceived in the Charter, in which case it is lawful, or it is not, in which case it is unlawful. In the period since the United States lodged its broader claim, a number of governments have openly debated the question of a possible right of pre-emptive self-defense. lawful. This chapter examines two groups of states: those participating in the U.S. coalition effort in Iraq, part of whose rationale was preemptive self-defense, and those states which have refused to take part and have been critical of United States’ action there.

Keywords: Iraq; Pre-Emptive; pre-emptive self defence; Projections; Trends; United Nations Charter; United States; use of military force; World



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