The law of international conflict is clear on when and how a state may invoke a state of armed conflict between sovereign nations. For example, in the US, the power to declare war is reserved for Congress, regardless of the President’s position as head of the US Armed Forces. It also dictates the reasons for which one nation may declare war on another. For example (and these are very limited), after the Second World War, the Allies, in an attempt to end the practice of armed conflict, created the United Nations. As one of the UN’s first acts, it invoked the United Nations Charter, which prohibits both the threat and the use of force in international conflicts. This has effectively made declaration of war a largely obsolete instrument in international relations. You may be wondering by this time what exactly I am blathering on about. I recently read an article in The Guardian, a UK media outlet, titled “NotPetya malware attacks could warrant retaliation, says Nato affiliated-researcher” [sic]. The title worried me, so I dove in and read the article.
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