Matthew Waxman

Matthew Waxman

Research Team: 

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

Analysis and Commentary

My Review Of Charlie Savage's Book, Power Wars

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Saturday, November 7, 2015

Earlier this week, Time magazine published reviews of Charlie Savage's new book, Power Wars, by me and former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer.

Analysis and Commentary

Similar Ethical Dilemmas For Autonomous Weapon Systems And Autonomous Self-Driving Cars

by Kenneth Anderson, Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, November 6, 2015

In writing about autonomous weapon systems (AWS) and the law of armed conflict, we have several times observed the similarities between programming AWS and programming other kinds of autonomous technologies, as well as the similarities of ethical issues arising in each.

Analysis and Commentary

Best Of My Lawfare-ish Summer Reading

by Matthew Waxmanvia Lawfare
Friday, September 4, 2015

As usual, I didn’t make much of a dent in my intended summer reading. From among those I made it through, though, the following three books stand out. I recommend all of them to Lawfare readers.

Complexities of CybersecurityAnalysis and 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
Analysis and Commentary

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.

Analysis and Commentary

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.

Analysis and Commentary

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.

Analysis and Commentary

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
Analysis and Commentary

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.

Analysis and 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.