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Technological innovation, non-obvious warfare and challenges to international law

Authored by: Rachel Kerr

Routledge Handbook of War, Law and Technology

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138084551
eBook ISBN: 9781315111759
Adobe ISBN:


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We are experiencing a period of immense upheaval in all spheres of human existence. In this context, it is not surprising that war too is undergoing rapid and dramatic change. Over the last few decades, received images of conventional war based on highly organised and trained forces engaged in a ‘duel’ have become almost entirely outdated. Whether characterised in terms of so-called ‘new wars’, 1 Revolutions in Military Affairs, 2 hybrid wars, 3 virtual wars, 4 human wars, 5 spectator-sport wars 6 and wars among the people, 7 the image of war has shifted radically from the twentieth century experience of major inter-state war to a twenty-first century dominated by wars within as well as among states and involving a complex mix of state and non-state actors. These wars are often categorised in terms of what they are not rather than what they are, including ‘non-state’, 8 ‘non-obvious’ and ‘non-linear’ wars, such as those in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. 9

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