Can Law Control Force?

  • Tom Campbell


Few thoughtful people do not now fear nuclear catastrophe within a period which is infinitesimal when set against the history of mankind.1 It appears that we may not have long to go. I say nuclear catastrophe partly because any exchange of nuclear arsenals will bear no resemblance to anything that could be called war. There will be no invasions, no developing strategies, no war cabinets, no protracted national efforts, no armistices, no peace settlements. It will all be over in a matter of hours; an unimaginably horrible episode, but hardly a war. I say nuclear catastrophe rather than nuclear war also because the episode which ends civilisation is as likely to be an accident as it is to be a monstrous design; the result of human error or foolishness rather than of deliberate choice, an ultimate irony to mock the rational pretensions of the human race.


Armed Conflict Moral Authority Fair Trial Nuclear Catastrophe Mandatory Rule 
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  1. 5.
    See, for instance, M. Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars (New York, 1977)Google Scholar
  2. and David Lubann, ‘Just War and Human Rights’, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 9 February 1980, pp. 160–81.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See Noreen Burrows ‘Tanzania’s Intervention in Uganda: Some Legal Aspects’, The World Today, 3 May 1979, pp. 306–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Warwick Legal Defence Trust 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Campbell

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