Why Do States Formally Invoke the Right of Individual Self-Defense?
19 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 26 Aug 2011
Date Written: 2011
The use of force is prohibited under the United Nations Charter. An exception is written in Article 51, which allows a state to conduct an act of individual self-defense by using a minimum level of forces. This article introduces a rational calculation model to explain why only some states invoke the right of individual self-defense in militarized interstate disputes. The author claims that the baseline probability of claiming the right remains low because explicit reference to Article 51 accompanies the uncertainty of justification success and poses diplomatic and legal costs. Balanced escalation and no alliance relationship would negate the uncertainty and costs and thus increase the likelihood of self-defense justification. Moreover, a state that is receiving American military aid is more likely to invoke the right. With strict conditionality, the state that is receiving US aid and wants to continue receiving it must inform the US Congress that military action is for self-defense.
Keywords: Self-Defense, Use of Force, Militarized Interstate Disputes
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