Thursday, July 6, 2006

Lawfare is a term used to denotes the utilization of legal arguments to support warfare. Originally, lawfare was used to restrict enemies striking capability by means of international law. For example, the utilisation specific weaponry is deemed to violates the law of war. Thus, the country that has lack of firepower would use international instrument to illigalise these weapons.

The term lawfare was popularised by two Chinesse Colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui in their book titled "Unrestricted Warfare". According to the two, the modern battlefield is no longer distinctive and clear, and at the same time, the means for battle is also varied. International Law, they said, is a mean of the modern battles:

"...resources warfare (grabbing riches by plundering stores of resources); economic aid warfare (bestowing favor in the open and contriving to control matters in secret); cultural warfare (leading cultural trends along in order to assimilate those with different views); and international law warfare (seizing the earliest opportunity to set up regulations)."

"From the famous Geneva Convention to the United Nations and to the present, they have begun to continuously make various resolutions concerning war, erected one railing after another on the roads of crazy and bloody wars, and have wanted to utilize international laws and regulations to control the harm of war to mankind to the lowest level, from specifically not allowing the use biochemical weapons, not allowing the indiscriminate killing of civilians, not allowing the mistreatment of prisoners, and limiting the use of land mines, etc. to the widespread opposition to the use of military force or the threat of the use of force in handling national relations issues. All of these regulations are gradually becoming accepted by each nation. The most commendable of these is a series of treaties on nuclear non-proliferation, the banning of nuclear testing, bilateral and multilateral reduction of nuclear weapons, etc. which have to date resulted in mankind avoiding entrance into a nuclear winter. At the conclusion of the Cold War, the entire world was overjoyed and considered that a "fearful peace" was being entered from this. After Schwartzkopf used a "storm" fist to down Saddam on the Gulf fighting stage, President Bush was elated with success: "The new order of the world has already withstood its first test." He was like Chamberlain returning from Munich announcing that mankind will "get together in a world having the hope of peace." What was the result? Like Chamberlain, he also boasted too early."

"The direct result of the destruction of rules is that the domains delineated by visible or invisible boundaries which are acknowledged by the international community lose effectiveness. This is because all principals without national power who employ non-military warfare actions to declare war against the international community all use means that go beyond nations, regions and measures. Visible national boundaries, invisible internet space, international law, national law, behavioral norms, and ethical principles, have absolutely no restraining effects on them."

Through unrestricted warfare, it is possible for weak states (or groups) to win over strong states. Unrestricted warfare utilises the principle of assymetry: terrorist versus state, guerilla versus regular army, etc. By legal default, terrorist are non combatant ( a.k.a. civilian) that are protected under Geneva Conventions, while regular soldiers are combatant.

Lawfare would also be very beneficial in the coming nanotech era. Many types nano weaponries are actually OK under the current legislations, although they are extremely dangerous. This could be profitable for high tech nations, as well as terrorists.

The current lawfare is not only limited in humanitarian law, but also other legal areas. Through capital market laws speculant such as George Soros can acquire arm companies, oil wells, and even patent to high tech weaponries overnight through his deals, without bloodshed. Of course, he has to pay a lot for the lawyers.... ;)