Antonia Chayes

Borderless Wars

Civil-Military Disorder and Legal Uncertainty


Current Courses, academic year 2015-2016



Fridays 10:30-12:30; Crowe 307
Professor Antonia H. Chayes
Office Hours: Wednesday 2-5pm. Cabot 511
Classroom tba


Changes in warfare over the last decade, and the increasing difficulty of drawing clear legal or political lines within the ballooning grey area of not-war nor-peace, have posed serious challenges to the adequacy of traditional understandings of civil-military relations. This course seeks to explore these challenges. In particular, it will examine:

  • The journey from the ideal of sequential cooperation – civilian policy setting, military execution, civilian rebuilding – to the current requirements for simultaneity, combining kinetic operations with state and society building programs, particularly as has been the case using counterinsurgency doctrine and counter-terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Changes (and confusion) in post-conflict objectives, the definition of “victory”, and potential obligations for various actors; Differing perspectives between military and civilian actors at headquarters and in the field on what the goals should be, where there is agreement, and the means for achieving those goals. " 4"
  • Role confusion: many actors now have a role in grey area warfare—and the lines between civil and military have become blurred.
  • The moral, legal, political, and strategic issues posed by the military and/or civilian use of approaches such as targeted killings, assassination and capture away from the battlefield. • The future threat of cyber warfare, the ways in which such warfare can blur the line between military and civilian policing responsibility, and the civil-military complications inherent in protecting a non-physical battlefield deeply integrated into civilian life across national borders.
  • Whether and how civil-military relationships are further complicated by the lack of a clear legal underpinning and a stretched legal framework both domestically and internationally

International Treaty Behavior: A Perspective on Globalization

In the Fall 2015 semester, this will be taught as an INDEPENDENT STUDY(The full course will be taught in Spring 2016)

This course deals with the different types of international agreements across a wide range of subjects: security and arms control; trade; human rights to name a few. It examines issues about choice of instrument, the difficulty of negotiating a treaty, and understanding how treaties are implemented. The course deals with compliance, defection and ways of measuring compliance. Later we discuss “ exceptionalism” and how that is manifested in reservations and other forms of treaty behavior. Most important, an ongoing class simulation gives students the opportunity to learn not only about negotiating a treaty, building coalitions, but the importance of using language to get the desired outcomes from that negotiation.


Not Currently Offered



This course is not currently offered

Course Description: The course offers a broad sweep of the legal, political and policy issues involved in international intervention in conflicts since the end of the cold war. In many respects, this course should be considered as an introduction to the detailed course offerings on such subjects as peace operations, post-conflict corruption, post-conflict economic development, rule of law and statebuilding. It covers conflict prevention, the dilemmas of intervention and a heavy focus on post-conflict recovery when peace is tenuous. Introductory sessions cover legal, conceptual and historic background, with an ongoing theme of the intersection of law and politics. The course emphasizes the continuum from war to peace, rather than offering in-depth case studies. Specific cases such as Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq will be used illustratively. This course will approach conflict analysis with the assumption of multiple causality in which context plays a very large role.


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