Document Type



Critical Defense Zones and International Law: The Reagan Codicil, 76 American Journal of International Law 589 (1982)


Conflicts may erupt from mistakes and misperceptions. Because of the increasing speed, total destructiveness, and irrevocability of the contemporary instruments of violence, minimum world order requires that states communicate to their adversaries, clearly and in advance, exactly which parts of the planet they deem indispensable to their own security and, hence, which expansive political or military changes initiated by or enuring to the benefit of an adversary will be unacceptable and likely to lead to war. These processes of communication are complex. Not all that is demanded is deemed reasonable. Not all that is demanded wins acceptance. The areas referred to in such communications may be reciprocally accepted as critical defense zones or CDZ's. In the past, failure to indicate such zones unequivocally may have contributed to the eruption of conflict.

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