Exploiting legal thresholds, fault-lines and gaps in the context of remote warfare
Research handbook on remote warfare
Cheltenham ; Northampton : E. Elgar, 2017
Conflicts increasingly involve action at a distance as opposed to traditional battlefield engagements. Development of new weapons, modern communications and growing economic interdependence between states push national decision-makers to adopt asymmetrical strategies to minimize the exposure to risk of their own forces while their opponents can be easily attacked, and also for the purpose of avoiding attribution and retribution. Since international law is used as a tool for legitimizing state policies, legal thresholds, fault-lines and gaps will be used by states to portray their own actions as legal or at least belonging to a grey area but never illegal. These issues have been brought to the fore not least by increased tensions between the West and Russia. This chapter first introduces means of remote warfare such as computer network attacks, psychological operations, use of irregular and/or nonstate groups, and expulsion of populations. It then discusses how remote warfare may exploit legal thresholds, fault-lines and gaps.