Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Organising a conference, workshop or event series
The wars fought in Vietnam and the Middle East in the 1960s and early 1970s were not just physical confrontations. They were also battles of ideas, including legal ideas. To justify their decisions to resort to the use of military force and to use that force in particular ways, the United States, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Israel, Egypt, Syria and other parties to these conflicts appealed widely to international laws and customs. These appeals rested not only on settled understandings of the relevant international law, but also on legal interpretations that attempted to shift those understandings. Moreover, the legal arguments advanced in one place (Vietnam or the Middle East) often had significant purchase in the other place.
This workshop seeks to examine in greater depth some of the international legal justifications both for the resort to force and for the conduct of hostilities that emerged during the Vietnam War and the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars. These wars set legal precedents for the justification of violence that changed the face of armed conflict, and these precedents matter for why and how war is waged today. The workshop will pay particular attention to the connections between these two conflicts. Justifications made in one conflict had an effect on the justifications made in the other, and legal ideas around the acceptable use of force migrated and mutated between the two conflicts.