International Relations

“Why States No Longer Declare War”

Sep 5 '13

Yesterday in this space Eric Grynaviski argued that “we [the United States] need declarations of war.” Given that Grynaviski is also suggesting that innocents inside of Syria be able to “exercise a veto over U.S. policy (if feasible),” I think it’s safe to say that his views are far from the mainstream of U.S. thinking. This is fine–it’s good for scholars to think outside the box–but I think it means that his view of “need” is pretty theoretical.

In any case, I thought it would be helpful to point to this paper (link to preprint here) from Tanisha Fazal, “Why States No Longer Declare War.” Fazal argues that “one set of norms–the rise of international humanitarian law–generates unintended consequences that include disincentives to comply with the long-held norm of declaring war.”