Matthew Waxman

Matthew Waxman

Biography: 

Matthew Waxman is a professor of law at Columbia Law School and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He previously served as principal deputy director of policy planning (2005–7) and acting director of policy planning (2007) at the US Department of State. He also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs (2004–5), director for contingency planning and international justice at the National Security Council (2002–3), and special assistant to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (2001–2). He is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School. He served as law clerk to Supreme Court justice David H. Souter and US Court of Appeals judge Joel M. Flaum. His publications include The Dynamics of Coercion: American Foreign Policy and the Limits of Military Might (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

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Recent Commentary

Complexities of CybersecurityFeatured Commentary

Cultivating Cyberattack Norms After Snowden and Sony

by Matthew Waxmanvia The Briefing
Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The cyberattack late last year against Sony, attributed by the US government to North Korea, has highlighted the issue of international norms — especially those related to impermissible actions in cyberspace and permissible actions in response to them.  For the United States to effectively advance norms it must balance secrecy and transparency as well as build and sustain credibility.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands
Blogs

The Palestinian Authority’s Lose-Lose-Lose Move On ICC

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Monday, January 5, 2015

Just before the end of the year, the Palestinian Authority took steps to become party to the Rome Statute and thereby join the International Criminal Court (ICC). This is a lose-lose-lose move: it is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinian Authority, and bad for the ICC.

Blogs

The Heroism Of Effective Logistics: A Dispatch From Kerem Shalom

by Matthew Waxman, Benjamin Wittesvia Lawfare
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We witnessed a moving scene today—if the loading and unloading of trucks amid looming concrete security barriers can ever really be moving: A major joint Palestinian-Israeli operation to route goods into the Gaza Strip.

Blogs

There Is a Recent Silver Lining for Gitmo Policy – But It’s Not What People Have Been Talking About

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Monday, December 8, 2014

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is likely to extend the ban on any transfers of Guantanamo detainees into the United States but ease restrictions on transfers to other countries.

Blogs

China’s ADIZ At One Year

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A year ago this week, China abruptly declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) covering a large area of the East China Sea, including islands the legal possession of which China disputes with Japan.

Barack Obama
Blogs

Obama’s Surprising War Powers Legacy

by Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We have an essay in The New Republic titled Obama, Not Bush, Is the Master of Unilateral War.  It argues that President Obama, ironically in light of his own lofty rhetoric about lodging war decisions with “the people’s representatives” in Congress, has through his practices created new precedents that push outward the boundaries of unilateral presidential powers to initiate military conflict.

Featured Commentary

Obama, Not Bush, Is the Master of Unilateral War

by Jack Goldsmith, Matthew Waxmanvia New Republic
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Late in the summer of 2013, President Barack Obama pulled back from his announced plans to use unilateral military force against Syria and stated that he would instead seek Congress’s approval. “I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress,” and “America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together,” he said.

White House at night
Blogs

Panetta Slams White House on Iraq Withdrawal

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, October 3, 2014

A big Monday-morning quarterback question since ISIL began overrunning parts of Iraq as Iraqi military forces collapsed has been whether the United States should have kept in place a significant residual force, rather than withdrawing altogether after the U.S. combat mission there ended in late 2011. 

Blogs

Breaking News: Guantanamo Closure Plans Are Stalled (But Now it’s the Pentagon’s Fault)

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So reports the Associated Press this morning. This story stating the obvious upshot of President Obama’s doomed Guantanamo policy has a few interesting aspects to it, but fails to put Guantanamo policy in the broader context of a legal framework that President Obama has talked about putting in place, or how recent events with respect to ISIL further undermine any remaining efforts to close Guantanamo.

Blogs

Readings: Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems

by Kenneth Anderson, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We are pleased to share our recently published article on law and autonomous weapons, on which we teamed up with our good friend Daniel Reisner (formerly head of the Israel Defense Forces International Law Department). The article, “Adapting the Law of Armed Conflict to Autonomous Weapon Systems,” appears as 90 International Law Studies 386 (2014), available online at SSRN (free pdf download).

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