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Force Rules
Chicago Journal of International Law (2006)
  • John C Yoo, University of California, Berkeley
This piece criticizes U.N. proposals to reform the international legal rules on the use of force. While they properly identify threats to international peace and security as arising outside the context of great power warfare, they make it even more difficult for nations to address these new challenges. They codify a rule that gives the Security Council complete authority over all uses of force short of national self-defense, rather than providing nations with flexibility. They expand the size of the Security Council, which will only aggravate the body's collective action troubles in authorizing force. Reform should begin by modifying the rules to produce higher levels of desirable uses of force. If we want the international legal system to address rogue nations, international terrorism, and WMD proliferation, then we must reconceive the imminence doctrine to take into account expected harm of an attack. If we want to increase, rather than suppress, military intervention that will produce positive externalities to the international system by containing rogue regimes, by flushing out international terrorist groups, or by ending human rights disasters, we should adopt an international public goods approach to thinking about the use of force. The international legal system ought to promote, rather than deny, uses of force to solve these problems.
  • International law,
  • United Nations,
  • use of force,
  • terrorism,
  • war
Publication Date
Citation Information
John C Yoo. "Force Rules" Chicago Journal of International Law Vol. 6 (2006)
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