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Posts by Matthew Waxman

Matthew Waxman is a law professor at Columbia Law School, where he co-chairs the Roger Hertog Program on Law and National Security. He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow for Law and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. He previously served in senior policy positions at the State Department, Defense Department, and National Security Council. After graduating from Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

The Heroism of Effective Logistics: A Dispatch from Kerem Shalom

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 5:15 PM

We witnessed a moving scene today—if the loading and unloading of trucks amid looming concrete security barriers can ever really be moving: A major joint Palestinian-Israeli operation to route goods into the Gaza Strip. We’re not talking here about politics. The politics of the Kerem Shalom crossing are endless and complicated, with Palestinians and many . . .
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There Is a Recent Silver Lining for Gitmo Policy – But It’s Not What People Have Been Talking About

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Monday, December 8, 2014 at 7:06 AM

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is likely to extend the ban on any transfers of Guantanamo detainees into the United States but ease restrictions on transfers to other countries. Some commentators are hailing this as a decent compromise, containing some silver lining for the White House’s proclaimed policy of closing Guantanamo (see here . . .
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China’s ADIZ at One Year

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 4:10 PM

A year ago this week, China abruptly declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering a large area of the East China Sea, including islands the legal possession of which China disputes with Japan.  Over on the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative – a terrific new online resource for information, analysis and commentary on Asian maritime . . .
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NYT on Autonomous Weapons and Ways to Regulate Them

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM

The New York Times has a useful article today on autonomous weapon systems and debate about their regulation.  The issue is also on the discussion agenda this week in Geneva for the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapon.  The Times article says: Warfare is increasingly guided by software. Today, armed drones can be operated by . . .
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A Draft AUMF to Get the Discussion Going

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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM

President Obama said last week that he wants an AUMF for the ISIL conflict, and he further stated that he wants to “right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights.” So we thought we would draft a notional AUMF along those lines to get a discussion going. What . . .
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New CNAS Program on Autonomous Weapons

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Sunday, October 26, 2014 at 9:56 PM

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) last week announced a new project on “Ethical Autonomy.” (This is a topic on which Ken and I have written, most recently in a piece co-authored with Daniel Reisner titled “Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems.”) CNAS’s description of the project is below. The . . .
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Obama’s Surprising War Powers Legacy

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 8:56 AM

We have an essay in The New Republic titled Obama, Not Bush, Is the Master of Unilateral War.  It argues that President Obama, ironically in light of his own lofty rhetoric about lodging war decisions with “the people’s representatives” in Congress, has through his practices created new precedents that push outward the boundaries of unilateral . . .
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Panetta Slams White House on Iraq Withdrawal

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Friday, October 3, 2014 at 10:30 AM

A big Monday-morning quarterback question since ISIL began overrunning parts of Iraq as Iraqi military forces collapsed has been whether the United States should have kept in place a significant residual force, rather than withdrawing altogether after the U.S. combat mission there ended in late 2011.  A significant part of this larger strategic question has . . .
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Breaking News: Guantanamo Closure Plans Are Stalled (but now it’s the Pentagon’s fault)

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 12:03 PM

So reports the Associated Press this morning. This story stating the obvious upshot of President Obama’s doomed Guantanamo policy has a few interesting aspects to it, but fails to put Guantanamo policy in the broader context of a legal framework that President Obama has talked about putting in place, or how recent events with respect . . .
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Readings: Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 12:08 AM

We are pleased to share our recently published article on law and autonomous weapons, on which we teamed up with our good friend Daniel Reisner (formerly head of the Israel Defense Forces International Law Department). The article, “Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems,” appears as 90 International Law Studies 386 (2014), . . .
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Israel-Gaza and the Law of Armed Conflict: Recommended Readings

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Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 11:12 AM

A number of friends and colleagues have asked me recently for recommended readings on the law of armed conflict and Gaza. I’ve decided, therefore, to post some of my suggestions and some explanation as to why I chose them. I hope to update this compilation as I improve it and perhaps as more is written. . . .
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Libya Chaos Means a Backward Step for Responsibility to Protect

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Over on CNN’s Global Public Square, I’ve written about recent events in Libya – including the evacuation of American and many foreign diplomats – and what they mean for the Responsibility to Protect. The piece begins: The 2011 international coalition intervention in Libya was supposed to be a step forward for the Responsibility to Protect . . .
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A New White House Signal on AUMF Reform?

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Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that “[a] top White House official suggested Saturday that Congress pass new legislation to support President Barack Obama’s authority to act against an array of terrorist groups not clearly linked to the September 11 attacks.”  Gerstein quotes White House counterterrorism czar Lisa Monaco as stating this weekend at the Aspen Security Forum: “The 2001 AUMF has provided us . . .
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Unwinding Sanctions

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Monday, June 9, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Most discussion of economic and financial sanctions focuses naturally on the imposition of them. As Peter Feaver and Eric Lorber point out in a new Foreign Affairs article, an equally important strategic issue is unwinding or relieving them. Successful coercive diplomacy requires credible threats to impose costs for bad behavior, but it also requires credible . . .
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Law of the Sea and Maritime Strategy

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Sunday, May 18, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Recent flare-ups in the South China Sea, including provocative moves by China to put a huge oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam and the Philippines’ challenge to China over its maritime claims, have produced a lot of reporting on law of the sea, territorial legal disputes, and how disputed territorial claims in Asia . . .
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Snowden Disclosures and Norms of Cyber-Attacks

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Secrecy—of the sort that typically shrouds cyber-defense and cyber-attack capabilities and doctrine—complicates the development of international norms.  Secrecy makes it difficult to engage in sustained diplomacy about rules.  Officials can talk about them at high levels of generality, but can’t get very specific, and it’s therefore hard to reach agreement.  Secrecy makes it difficult to . . .
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Spinning the IMF Report on Iran Sanctions

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Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 3:04 PM

I am amused today by these two headlines about the IMF’s just-released assessment of Iran’s economy and the effects of remaining sanctions: the New York Times reports that I.M.F. Study Details Perils of Iranian Economy, while the Wall Street Journal reports that Iran’s Economy Improving Amid Nuclear Talks. Since one of the most difficult challenges . . .
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CNAS Report on War in the Robotic Age

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Friday, January 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Robert Work and Shawn Brimley of the Center for a New American Security just published 20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age.  It’s a provocative report about how many new technologies (in cyber, robotics, miniaturization, etc.) will reshape warfare.  I was particularly interested in some things it says about autonomous weapon systems – weapon . . .
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Brennan Center Report Slams Current State & Local CT Programs

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The Brennan Center for Justice released today a new report titled “National Security and Local Police.”  They conducted surveys of more than a dozen major police departments and their affiliated state or city intelligence “fusion centers” (funded heavily by federal grants) and Joint Terrorism Task Forces (FBI-led interagency and intergovernmental coordination groups for terrorism investigations).  . . .
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David Remes Responds on Forced Repatriations from Guantanamo

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Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM

David Remes wrote in to rebut my recent post, which stated that some forced repatriations are a “virtually inevitable part of any plausible plan” toward closing Guantanamo.  I’ve pasted Remes’ entire note below. Remes is correct in theory (and some would say as a matter of principle): there are other options, including outright release of . . .
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