Lawfare and the End of History

This paper focuses on the modern practice of using law, both national and international, to achieve policy goals and political ends that usually are the result of tactical military action. Lawfare, as this practice is referred to, is now a crucial tactic in the modern era of international relations, where war is largely carried out in a far from traditional manner. Lawfare, then, is a unique form of irregular warfare that can be employed by nations against one another and against insurgents in asymmetrical conflicts at home and abroad. This new reliance on irregular and asymmetrical warfare generally and lawfare specifically is reflective of Hegel’s view of the end of history, particularly as articulated by Alexandre Kojève. Basically, that as individuals gain equal recognition, the mode of satisfying desire will necessarily take the form of law and bureaucracy.

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Terrorism, Modernity, and the Politics of the Tactical

During his 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry stated, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.” Though this statement was widely lampooned on right-leaning American media outlets, it is worth examining: swimming pools, and choking on one’s food, are more deadly, all things being equal, than terrorism. Yet terrorism produces a “conceptual helplessness,” in which, “We seem to be left with no good choices. To call what happened on September 11 evil appeared to join forces with those whose simple, demonic conceptions of evil often deliberately obscure more insidious forms of it. Not to call the murders evil appeared to relativize them, to engage in forms of calculation that make them understandable—and risked a first step toward making them justifiable.”

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The 2017 Telos Conference in New York: Kenneth Anderson on Asymmetrical Warfare in the Post–New World Order World

At the 2017 Telos-Paul Piccone Institute Conference, held this past weekend in New York City, Kenneth Anderson delivered a keynote address entitled “Situating Asymmetrical Warfare among Forms of Emerging Conflict in the Post–New World Order World.” We are delighted to present the full video of the address here.

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Mechanized Warfare and the Fate of the Individual

“The vastness and deadly desolation of the field, the long-distance operation of steel machines, and the relay of every movement in the night drew an unyielding Titan’s mask over the proceedings. You moved toward death without seeing it; you were hit without knowing where the shot came from. Long since had the precision shooting of the trained marksman, the direct fire of guns, and with it the charm of the duel, given way to the concentrated fire of mechanized weapons. The outcome was a game of numbers: Whoever could cover a certain number of square meters with the greater mass of artillery fire, won.”
—Ernst Jünger, Sturm, describing the Battle of the Somme, whose centenary is this year.

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Why We Kill Each Other: Warfare in a Post-National World

“Fraternity means that the father no longer sacrifices the sons; instead the brothers kill one another. Wars between nations have been replaced by civil war. The great settling of accounts, first under national ‘pretexts,’ led to a rapidly escalating world civil war.”

—Ernst Jünger, Eumeswil

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In the Midst of Battle

“He tried to imagine how he looked: a trembling bundle in a torn uniform, with a blackened, sweat-streaked face and staring eyes. . . . He stood and tried to calm his nerves through a series of curses. He thought he had talked himself back into heroism, when a new and even more terrible impact hurled him back into his hole. A second that followed immediately upon the first broke off a huge piece of the trench wall and almost buried him. He writhed free from the mass of earth and ran along the trench. No man could be seen at his post. Once he stumbled over a heap of debris under which lay a dead body. Somehow, a long, jagged board had penetrated his body; his eyes, glassy and bulging, stood out of their sockets.”

—Ernst Jünger, Sturm, describing the Battle of the Somme, whose centenary is this year.

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