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Proportionality in Warfare as a Political Norm


This chapter argues in favor of a political version of the norm of proportionality. Proportionality, as embodied in the “orthodox” narrow proportionality test, is widely used in the legal and ethical debates about the use of force. There are, however, reasons to be dissatisfied with the current norm. This article identifies the reasons for the failure of proportionality—mainly the lack of commensurability between the variables that are aggregated in the calculus of proportionality and the lack of attention paid to the intertemporal dimension of proportionality. Moreover, this chapter challenges the prevailing individualist model we find both in law and ethics. It argues for a reframing of proportionality in political terms which meets the challenges of contemporary warfare. The chapter then establishes five principles that would serve as the groundstone of this new political norm.
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hal-03393255 , version 1 (21-10-2021)



Ariel Colonomos. Proportionality in Warfare as a Political Norm. Jens David Ohlin; Larry May; Claire Finkelstein. Weighing Lives in War, Oxford University Press, pp.217 - 240, 2017, 9780198796176. ⟨hal-03393255⟩
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