The Philosopher & The News

Samuel Moyn & The Legal Constraints on War

March 26, 2022 Episode 32
The Philosopher & The News
Samuel Moyn & The Legal Constraints on War
Show Notes

On March 16th the UN’s International Court of Justice asked Russia to halt its invasion of Ukraine. It had found no evidence to support Russia’s claim that Ukraine was conducting genocide against Russia Speakers in the East of the country, which has been Russia’s justification for the war. A day later Russia rejected the ruling. 

So, is international law completely impotent in preventing countries from going to war?  And why has the law been more effective in constraining the way that countries fight even illegal wars? 

Has the way that the US and other great powers defied international law undermined its effectiveness, and allowed countries like Russia to ignore it? And was Leo Tolstoy right in thinking that making war less brutal, and more humane, would in fact end up in causing more suffering and destruction, by perpetuating war into the future?

Samuel Moyn is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at the Yale Law School and a Professor of History at Yale University. He has written several books on European intellectual history and human rights history, including Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (2018). His latest book is Humane: How the United States Abandoned Peace and Reinvented War.

Pease leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts.

This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the spring issue of the philosopher, and its spring online lecture series:

Artwork by Nick Halliday

Music by Rowan Mcilvride