Today is the anniversary of, by some measures, the U.S. military’s worst battlefield defeat ever. On Nov. 4, 1791, U.S. military forces, under the command of Northwest Territory Governor and U.S. General Arthur St. Clair, were routed by a confederacy of Native American tribes near the Wabash River in present-day Ohio. Although Indian Wars rarely feature much in discussions of constitutional war powers, they were among the most urgent threats facing the new republic. “St.
Matthew Waxman is a law professor at Columbia Law School, where he co-chairs the Program on Law and National Security. He is also co-chair of the Cybersecurity Center at Columbia University’s Data Science Institute, as well as Adjunct Senior Fellow for Law and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served in senior policy positions at the State Department, Defense Department, and National Security Council. After graduating from Yale Law School, he clerked for Judge Joel M. Flaum of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter
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On September 25, 1794, President George Washington proclaimed that that he was sending state militia forces to subdue what was dubbed the “Whiskey Rebellion.” The following week, Washington became the first and only sitting president to command forces in the field. The episode included some other important firsts—and even though few shots were ultimately fired, it highlights some significant and peculiar ways in which law controlled military power in the early republic.
Review of Craig Forcese, Destroying the Caroline: The Frontier Raid that Reshaped the Right to War (Irwin Law, 2018)
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As President Trump goes into this week’s NATO summit complaining about burden-sharing, amid inflamed anxieties at home about presidential powers over foreign relations, it is worth remembering the “Great Debate” of the early 1950s. That dispute pitted President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson against congressional NATO skeptics, and it concerned whether the president could unilaterally deploy four additional U.S. Army divisions to Western Europe.
National security adviser John Bolton is often caricatured as a unilateralist. One of his legacies during the George W. Bush administration, however, was a significant new multilateral effort: the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).
On Wednesday, British Attorney General Jeremy Wright delivered public remarks titled "Cyber and International Law in the 21st Century.” This unilateral move marks an important step by states in developing and defending interpretations of existing international frameworks as applied to cyber.
Most of the commentary about John Bolton's appointment as national security adviser has focused on his extreme policy views, especially with regard to military strikes against North Korea and Iran. I want instead to offer here a few firsthand thoughts about his formidable skills—which are what make him so dangerous. The Trump White House is something of a clown show, but Bolton is no clown.