Lawfare can generally be defined as a strategy employed to debilitate and defeat the United States through the manipulation of international and domestic legal fora, opinion and processes. Lawfare’s effectiveness lies in the fact that ours is a country so strongly committed to the rule of law that it will often bend over backward to appease charges of illegality – however specious – to the detriment of its own interests. This arrangement is recognized, appreciated, and most importantly actively encouraged by adversaries of American power.
Lawfare is often buttressed by demands that the U.S. abide by so-called legal norms, both domestic and international. These “standards,” however, are often artificially created by nothing more than the policy pronouncements of politicians, NGOs and/or the U.N. General Assembly. But because champions of American interests too often ignore rather than challenge their assertions, otherwise legally insupportable, politically charged policy declarations are coming to define the parameters of legal thought in the minds of America’s citizens.
By using legal-norms arguments to shape public opinion, pressure is indirectly applied on policymakers to adopt practices inimical to the Nation’s security.