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Advanced Introduction to International Conflict and Security Law

Nigel D. White

Advanced Introduction to International Conflict and Security Law provides a concise and insightful guide to the key principles of international law governing peacetime security, the use of force, conflict and post-conflict situations. Nigel D. White explores the complex legal regimes that have been created to control the level of armaments, to limit the occasions when governments can use military force to mitigate the conduct of warfare and to build peace.
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1 Basic conditions of peace and security

Nigel D. White


Any number of facts could be given to show that we live in a very violent world. To pick a few – there are tens of thousands of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) currently in existence, there are hundreds of thousands of child soldiers engaged in conflicts around the globe, and trillions of dollars are spent annually by states on military establishments. Additional statistics on the numbers of soldiers, tanks, artillery, rockets, mines, warplanes, naval vessels, small arms and so on, would simply overwhelm the reader and would, in all likelihood, lead to a sober assessment of the state of humankind that it was intent on self-destruction. However, the instinct for survival, inherent in human nature, provides a powerful restraint on the use of these means of violence.

In order to ensure the survival of the planet, more specifically the system of international relations based on nation-states, states and other key actors naturally act to establish the basic conditions for the control of violence. Without controlling and containing violence in international relations it would not be possible to establish a viable international political and legal order. Overall, the aim of international law is to reduce the levels of violence between states, and increasingly within states and against civilian populations (the achievement of peace), by addressing existential threats to states, peoples and groups (the achievement of security).

Historically, peace has been equated to the absence of war; security was viewed as the security of states from aggression by...

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