International Law, Libertarian Principles, and the Russia-Ukraine War
by Stephan Kinsella
Free Life, 19 April 2022
In a discussion with some fellow libertarians about the current Russia-Ukraine war, I noticed some of them kept avoiding condemning Russia’s invasion, criticizing pro-Ukraine western media and state propaganda, and kept changing the subject to the baleful role the US and NATO have played. NATO should have disbanded after the Cold War ended; NATO is “provoking” Russia, and so on. “Of course Russia doesn’t want NATO on its doorstep and perceives it as a threat; how would the US feel if Russia were to position missiles in Canada?” And so on. They didn’t come right out and take Russia’s side, but I have seen some people literally defend Russia and claim it is simply defending itself from aggression from the US/NATO and Ukraine or via Ukraine, and, moreover, that Russia is exercising heroic restraint in an attempt to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damages. Read more>>
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Much of “classical international law” theory, developed by the Catholic Scholastics, notably the 16th-century Spanish Scholastics such as Vitoria and Suarez, and then the Dutch Protestant Scholastic Grotius and by 18th- and 19th-century jurists, was an explanation of the criteria for a just war. For war, as a grave act of killing, needs to be justified.
… Classical international law … should be brought back as quickly as possible.