Kroenig 12 – Matthew Kroenig is an Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University and a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, May 26th, 2012, “The History of Proliferation Optimism: Does It Have A Future?” http://www.npolicy.org/article.php?aid=1182&tid=30
What’s Wrong with Proliferation Optimism?
The proliferation optimist position, while having a distinguished pedigree, has several major flaws. Many of these weaknesses have been chronicled in brilliant detail by Scott Sagan and other contemporary proliferation pessimists.34 Rather than repeat these substantial efforts, I will use this section to offer some original critiques of the recent incarnations of proliferation optimism.¶ First and foremost, proliferation optimists do not appear to understand contemporary deterrence theory. I do not say this lightly in an effort to marginalize or discredit my intellectual opponents. Rather, I make this claim with all due caution and sincerity. A careful review of the contemporary proliferation optimism literature does not reflect an understanding of, or engagement with, the developments in academic deterrence theory over the past few decades in top scholarly journals such as the American Political Science Review and International Organization.35 While early optimists like Viner and Brodie can be excused for not knowing better, the writings of contemporary proliferation optimists ignore much of the past fifty years of academic research on nuclear deterrence theory.¶In the 1940s, Viner, Brodie, and others argued that the advent of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) rendered war among major powers obsolete, but nuclear deterrence theory soon advanced beyond that simple understanding.36 After all, great power political competition does not end with nuclear weapons. And nuclear-armed states still seek to threaten nuclear-armed adversaries. States cannot credibly threaten to launch a suicidal nuclear war, but they still want to coerce their adversaries. This leads to a credibility problem: how can states credibly threaten a nuclear-armed opponent? Since the 1960s academic nuclear deterrence theory has been devoted almost exclusively to answering this question.37 And, unfortunately for proliferation optimists, the answers do not give us reasons to be optimistic.¶Thomas Schelling was the first to devise a rational means by which states can threaten nuclear-armed opponents.38 He argued that leaders cannot credibly threaten to intentionally launch a suicidal nuclear war, but they can make a “threat that leaves something to chance.”39 They can engage in a process, the nuclear crisis, which increases the risk of nuclear war in an attempt to force a less resolved adversary to back down. As states escalate a nuclear crisis there is an increasing probability that the conflict will spiral out of control and result in an inadvertent or accidental nuclear exchange. As long as the benefit of winning the crisis is greater than the incremental increase in the risk of nuclear war, threats to escalate nuclear crises are inherently credible. In these games of nuclear brinkmanship, the state that is willing to run the greatest risk of nuclear war before backing down will win the crisis as long as it does not end in catastrophe. It is for this reason that Thomas Schelling called great power politics in the nuclear era a “competition in risk taking.”¶40 This does not mean that states eagerly bid up the risk of nuclear war. Rather, they face gut-wrenching decisions at each stage of the crisis. They can quit the crisis to avoid nuclear war, but only by ceding an important geopolitical issue to an opponent. Or they can the escalate the crisis in an attempt to prevail, but only at the risk of suffering a possible nuclear exchange.¶ Since 1945 there were have been many high stakes nuclear crises (by my count, there have been twenty) in which “rational” states like the United States run a frighteningly-real risk of nuclear war.41 By asking whether states can be deterred or not, therefore, proliferation optimists ask the wrong question. The right question to ask is: what risk of nuclear war is a specific state willing to run against a particular opponent in a given crisis? Optimists are likely correct when they assert that Iran will not intentionally commit national suicide by launching a bolt-from-the-blue nuclear attack on the United States or Israel. This does not mean that Iran will never use nuclear weapons, however. Indeed, it is almost inconceivable to think that a nuclear-armed Iran would not, at some point, find itself in a crisis with another nuclear-armed power. It is also inconceivable that in those circumstances, Iran would not be willing to run any risk of nuclear war in order to achieve its objectives. If a nuclear-armed Iran and the United States or Israel have a geopolitical conflict in the future, over, for example, the internal politics of Syria, an Israeli conflict with Iran’s client Hezbollah, the U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, passage through the Strait of Hormuz, or some other issue, do we believe that Iran would immediately capitulate? Or is it possible that Iran would push back, possibly even brandishing nuclear weapons in an attempt to coerce its adversaries? If the latter, there is a real risk that proliferation to Iran could result in nuclear war.¶ An optimist might counter that nuclear weapons will never be used, even in a crisis situation, because states have such a strong incentive, namely national survival, to ensure that nuclear weapons are not used. But, this objection ignores the fact that leaders operate under competing pressures. Leaders in nuclear-armed states also have very strong incentives to convince their adversaries that nuclear weapons could very well be used. Historically we have seen that leaders take actions in crises, such as placing nuclear weapons on high alert and delegating nuclear launch authority to low level commanders, to purposely increase the risk of accidental nuclear war in an attempt to force less-resolved opponents to back down.
The United States Federal Government should condition the use of the President’s authority for targeted killings as a first resort to instances of self-defense or response to attack by a non-state actor located within a state has consented to the United States’ carrying out targeted killing missions within its borders, or that is unwilling or unable to prosecute or neutralize such actors.
The standard of “unable or unwilling” should require offering notice, when feasible, to the targeted state and allowance of time for a good-faith effort to neutralize the threat to the United States. “Ability” should be defined by analysis of the level of sovereign control the state exercises over the territory in which the relevant non-state groups are located.
Competes---it’s functionally distinct from the plan because it makes no reference to active hostilities or geographical limits on targeted killing authority.
Solves the case---the U.S. and every other state already justify targeted killings with an “unable or unwilling” framework---no other legal model will ever achieve status as a norm---the plan forfeits the ability to shape that norm by clarifying its criteria
Ashley S. Deeks 12, Academic Fellow, Columbia Law School, Spring 2012, “ARTICLE: "Unwilling or Unable": Toward a Normative Framework for Extraterritorial Self-Defense,” Virginia Journal of International Law, 52 Va. J. Int'l L. 483
In an August 2007 speech, then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama asserted that his administration would take action against high-value leaders of al-Qaida in Pakistan if the United States had actionable intelligence about them and President Musharraf would not act. n1 He later clarified his position, stating, "What I said was that if we have actionable intelligence against bin Laden or other key al-Qaida officials ... and Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against them, we should." n2
On May 2, 2011, the United States put those words into operation. Without the consent of Pakistan's government, U.S. forces entered Pakistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. In the wake of the successful U.S. military operation, the Government of Pakistan objected to the "unauthorized unilateral action" of the United States. n3 U.S. officials, on the other hand, suggested that the United States declined to provide Pakistan with advance knowledge of the raid because it was concerned that doing so might have compromised the mission. n4 This failure to notify suggests that the United States determined that Pakistan was indeed "unwilling or unable" to suppress the threat posed by bin Laden. n5 Unfortunately, international lawcurrentlygives the United States (or any state in a similar position) little guidance about what factors are relevant when making such [*486] a determination. Yet the stakes are high: the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has come under serious strain as a result of the operation. If, in the future, a state in Pakistan's position deems another state's use of force in its territory pursuant to an "unwilling or unable" determination to be unlawful, the territorial state could use force in response. The lack of guidance therefore has the potential to be costly.
President Obama's speech invoked an important but little understood legal standard governing the use of force. More than a century of state practice suggests that it is lawful for State X, which has suffered an armed attack by an insurgent or terrorist group, to use force in State Y against that group if State Y is unwilling or unable to suppress the threat. n6 Yet there has been virtually no discussion, either by states or scholars, ofwhat that standard means. What factors must the United States consider when evaluating Pakistan's willingness or ability to suppress the threats to U.S. (as well as NATO and Afghan) forces? Must the United States ask Pakistan to take measures itself before the United States lawfully may act? How much time must the United States give Pakistan to respond? What if Pakistan proposes to respond to the threat in a way that the United States believes may not be adequate?
Many states agree that the "unwilling or unable" test is the correct standard by which to assess the legality of force in this context. For example, Russia used force in Georgia in 2002 against Chechen rebels who had conducted violent attacks in Russia, based on Russia's conclusion that Georgia was unwilling or unable to suppress the rebels' attacks. n7 Israel has invoked the "unwilling or unable" standard periodically in justifying its use of force in Lebanon against Hezbollah and the Palestine Liberation Organization, noting, "Members of the [Security] Council need scarcely be reminded that under international law, if a State is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory to attack another State, that latter State is entitled to take all necessary measures in its own defense." n8 Similarly, [*487] Turkey defends its use of force in Iraq against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) by claiming that Iraq is unable to suppress the PKK. n9 Several U.S. administrations have stated that the United States will inquire whether another state is unwilling or unable to suppress the threat before using force without consent in that state's territory. n10
Given that academic discussion of the test has been limited thus far, we may describe what "unwilling or unable" means only at a high level of generality. n11 In its most basic form, a state (the "victim state") suffers an armed attack from a nonstate group operating outside its territory and concludes that it is necessary to use force in self-defense to respond to the continuing threat that the group poses. The question is whether the state in which the group is operating (the "territorial state") will agree to suppress the threat on the victim state's behalf. The "unwilling or unable" test requires a victim state to ascertain whether the territorial state is willing and able to address the threat posed by the nonstate group before using force in the territorial state's territory without consent. If the territorial state is willing and able, the victim state may not use force in the territorial state, and the territorial state is expected to take the appropriate steps against the nonstate group. If the territorial state is unwilling or unable to take those steps, however, it is lawful for the victim state to use [*488] that level of force that is necessary (and proportional) to suppress the threat that the nonstate group poses.
A test constructed at this level of generalityoffers insufficient guidance to states. Although many inquiries in the use of force area lack precision, including questions about what constitutes an "armed attack" and when force is proportional, states and commentators have discussed the possible meanings of these terms at length and in great detail. n12 The same is not true for the "unwilling or unable" test; strikingly little attention has been paid to the nature and consequences of -- or solutions to -- the imprecision surrounding the "unwilling or unable" test.
The test's lack of contentundermines the legitimacy of the testas it currently is framed and suggests that it is not, in its current form, imposing effective constraints on a state's use of force. n13 To address this flaw, this Article first identifies the test's historical parentage in the law of neutrality and then conducts an original analysis of two centuries of state practice in order to develop normative factors that definewhat it means for a territorial state to be "unwilling or unable" to suppress attacks by a nonstate actor.
Identifying the test's pedigree demonstrates the legitimacy of the core test and helps to frame the relevant law that should inform the test's content. As Thomas Franck has noted, "Pedigree ... pulls toward rule compliance by emphasizing the deep rootedness of the rule." n14 Embedded in this argument is an assumption that states are reasonable actors, that they develop particular rules for good reasons, and that rules with a long pedigree may be seen asparticularly instructive because they draw from the collective wisdom of states over time. While following precedent and tradition does not always result in the ideal normative outcome, n15 this Article will demonstrate why it is useful to consider the historical development and applications of the test in ascertaining what its meaning should be.
It is worth noting that this test is not the only standard around which states could have coalesced. Although it is possible to imagine a range of [*489] alternative regimes, it is beyond the scope of this Article to explore those other regimes in detail. n16 Instead, this Article takes as a given that states currently view the "unwilling or unable" test as the proper test. The fact thatstates currently are acclimated to using the "unwilling or unable" testsuggests thatany other test would have to overcome a high barto become the preferred test, a hurdle no other option is poised to meet.
In considering the appropriate content of the test, I argue that the "unwilling or unable" test, properly conceived, should advance three goals, derived from Abram Chayes's articulation of how international law can influence foreign policy decisions. n17 First, the "unwilling or unable" test should constrain victim state action by reducing the number of situations [*490] in which a victim state resorts to force. Second, the test should be clear and detailed enough to serve to justify or legitimate a victim state's use of force when that force is consistent with the test. Third, the test should establish procedures that will improve the quality of decision-making by the victim and territorial states and by those international bodies that are seized with use of force issues. In considering these goals, I identify the relevance of the "rules versus standards" debate and discuss why, in this context, we should favor a more precise rule over a less determinate standard. A test that promotes the goals I have described within the framework of the UN Charteris likely to be seen as a credible international legal norm. It therefore willlegitimize those uses of forcethat areconsistent with the test's requirementsanddelegitimize (and possibly reduce the frequency of) those that stand in tension with the test.