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Making Endless War

The Vietnam and Arab-Israeli Conflicts in the History of International Law

Subjects: Law, International Law, Political Science, Conflict Resolution & Peace Studies, International Relations
Paperback : 9780472055876, 322 pages, 6 x 9, August 2023
Hardcover : 9780472075874, 322 pages, 6 x 9, August 2023
Open Access : 9780472903191, 322 pages, 6 x 9, August 2023

The open access version of this book is made available thanks in part to the support of libraries participating in Knowledge Unlatched
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How two conflicts have shaped the relationship between law and war since 1945

Table of contents

Foreword: How International Law Evolves: Norms, Precedents, and Geopolitics
Richard Falk
1: The Transformation of International Law and War between the Middle East and Vietnam
Brian Cuddy and Victor Kattan
2: From Retaliation to Anticipation: Reconciling Reprisals and Self-Defense in the Middle East and Vietnam, 1949–1965
Brian Cuddy
3: Public Discourses of International Law: US Debates on Military Intervention in Vietnam, 1965–1967
Madelaine Chiam and Brian Cuddy
4: Legality of Military Action by Egypt and Syria in October 1973
John Quigley
5: Revolutionary War and the Development of International Humanitarian Law
Amanda Alexander
6: The War Against the People and the People’s War: Palestine and the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions
Ihab Shalbak and Jessica Whyte
7: “The Third World is a Problem”: Arguments about the Laws of War in the United States after the Fall of Saigon
Victor Kattan
8: Operationalizing International Law: From Vietnam to Gaza
Craig Jones
9: From Vietnam to Palestine: Peoples’ Tribunals and the Juridification of Resistance
Tor Krever
10: War and the Shaping of International Law: From the Cold War to the War on Terror
Brian Cuddy and Victor Kattan


Making Endless War is built on the premise that any attempt to understand how the content and function of the laws of war changed in the second half of the twentieth century should consider two major armed conflicts, fought on opposite edges of Asia, and the legal pathways that link them together across time and space. The Vietnam and Arab-Israeli conflicts have been particularly significant in the shaping and attempted remaking of international law from 1945 right through to the present day. This carefully curated collection of essays by lawyers, historians, philosophers, sociologists, and political geographers of war explores the significance of these two conflicts, including their impact on the politics and culture of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States of America. The volume foregrounds attempts to develop legal rationales for the continued waging of war after 1945 by moving beyond explaining the end of war as a legal institution, and toward understanding the attempted institutionalization of endless war.

Brian Cuddy is Lecturer in Security Studies at Macquarie University.

Victor Kattan is Assistant Professor in the School of Law at the University of Nottingham.

“This is an illuminating collection that challenges us to take seriously who legal arguments speak to and how. This book brims with doctrinal and historical sophistication and shows just how central Vietnam and Palestine were, and are, to the conceptual battles of the law of war.”
—Naz K. Modirzadeh, Harvard Law School

- Naz K. Modirzadeh

“Contestation over international law rages in our day, and juxtaposing its relevance in two pivotal conflicts is an inspired way to illuminate how law is transforming politics and vice versa. This collection deserves to be widely read across multiple fields.”
—Samuel Moyn, Yale University

- Samuel Moyn

"Making Endless War provides a powerful statement on how episodes of violence, however specific they might appear, cannot be understood independent of greater forces – including (and perhaps especially) the principles and institutions that present their mission as an effort to constrain armed conflict. As such, Cuddy and Kattan’s collection can be viewed as a major innovation in building a greater genealogy of global violence."
--LSE Review of Books

- LSE Review of Books

Read: Q&A with the Editors | August 17, 2023