Blurring the Lines
Blurring the Lines
Law Enforcement, Fractured Order, and Warlike Force
Law enforcement is often seen as the de facto, and relatively pure, alternative to contemporary just war. If we are not at war, then the more restrictive law enforcement is the viable paradigm. This chapter interrogates two assumptions underlying this view. It begins by demystifying the unwritten assumption that the liberal law enforcement paradigm associated with Western democracies is the idealized foil to just war. Using France, whose postcolonial legacy complicates the turn to the Western liberal paradigm as an illuminating case, the chapter explores how domestic warlike violence creates a state of fractured order—the violence and potential for abuses of power that permeate society as the government seeks to balance security and individual rights. The chapter then turns to the transnational context to challenge the view that there exists a clear line between the state of war and the state of peace. Mali serves as a paradigmatic case to illustrate how the effectiveness of law enforcement is curtailed in spaces of contested order where heavily armed terrorist groups challenge the authority of the state, thus prompting a turn to Special Forces and drones to restore order. In both contexts, the chapter identifies a shift away from the restrained norms that typically govern the use of force in law enforcement to more warlike uses of force that blur the lines between peace and war. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how this shift might inform the ethics of limited force, which lies between law enforcement and just war.
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