Chicago Journal of International Law


The first "purpose" of the United Nations set forth in Article 1(1) of its Charter is "[tio maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace." Article 2(4) outlaws all aggressive uses of force. This reflects a radical departure from the prevailing legal regime of earlier centuries, which recognized a sovereign state's inherent legal right to resort to force and imposed a duty of neutrality on all states not involved in a conflict. Today, as America faces asymmetric threats to its security often characterized by the tactics of terrorism, there is wisdom to be found in the writings of one of America's greatest Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson. He foresaw the principle of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states, the utility of multilateralism and collective security arrangements, and the importance of dealing decisively with acts of aggression or terrorism, lest they become parents to others. A brief discussion of Jefferson's contributions in this area is particularly relevant to the theme of the present issue of the Chicago Journal of Internalional Law, as Jefferson led America in its first battles with state- sponsored international terrorism. In so doing, he relied upon a combination of regular forces (navy and marines) and unconventional/covert warfare to present his adversaries with the choice between abandoning their predation or losing their jobs and perhaps their lives. In the process, he showed the world that the most promising path to peace, when confronted by terrorism, is unity and strength, and paved the way for the restoration of freedom of the high seas.