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Gabriella Blum
“How We Fight Wars Today”
Monday, September 17, 2018, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Gabriella Blum

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Gabriella Blum is the Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School, specializing in public international law, the law of armed conflict, international negotiations, and counterterrorism. She is also the faculty director of the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict and a member of the Program on Negotiation Executive Board.

She is the author of The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones – Confronting a New Age of Threat (Basic Books, 2015), co-authored with Benjamin Wittes and recipient of the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize; Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists (MIT Press, 2010), co-authored with Philip Heymann and recipient of the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize; and Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries (Harvard University Press, 2007); as well as journal articles in the fields of public international law, international negotiations, and the law and morality of war.

She is currently working on a book titled “The Fog of Victory” as a Carnegie Fellow.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in the fall of 2005, Blum served for seven years as a senior legal advisor in the International Law Department of the Military Advocate General’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces, and for another year as a strategy advisor to Israel’s National Security Council.

Blum is a graduate of Tel-Aviv University (LL.B. (’95), B.A. (Economics) (’97)) and of Harvard Law School (LL.M. (’01) and SJD (’03)).

Abstract

Our present-day capacity for destruction is unparalleled in human history. Yet, contemporary wars fought by liberal democracies, destructive to life and things as they are, are overall much less devastating, especially in terms of their human toll, than wars of the past. The greater military power that we possess does not manifest itself in greater destruction, but, to the contrary, in greater restraint. We thus live in a paradox of power: our means and methods of war have become both harsher (in potential) and tamer (in practice).

I explore how the evolution of international law, technology, and social norms – and the dynamic between them – has contributed to the paradox of power, and I consider the implications of the paradox for conceptions of victory on the modern battlefield.

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