Bellum Americanum: The U.S. View of Twenty-First Century War and Its Possible Implications for the Law of Armed Conflict

After describing Bellum Americanum at some length, the article turns to the “stressors” it presents for the current law of armed conflict. The term stressors is used to suggest that law evolves as it is stressed by changing circumstances. Much as water seeks a constant level, law inevitably moves to fill normative lacunae. Correspondingly, law loses its normative valence when it no longer serves “community”-a relative concept-ends. Thus, law is contextual and directional. It is contextual in the sense that it is understood and applied based upon the specific social, economic, political, and military milieu in which it operates. It is directional, for it is characterized by distinct vectors; its generation or demise is rarely spontaneous or random. Cognizant of the suspect character of any predictive effort, then, this article will describe and analyze how the context of a notional future, Bellum Americanum, might affect law substantively and directionally. Of course, only time can validate the approach.