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The last time I spoke at Georgetown University Law Center was on the
occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the Legal Adviser's Office, known
affectionately at the State Department as "L." I have now been the Legal
Adviser at the State Department for more than three and a half years. During
that time, at nearly every public event I attend, I find myself being asked
questions about one issue: armed conflict. Nearly every question I am asked
involves Guantanamo, Afghanistan, cyber war, detention, and targeting practices.
While these key areas raise tremendously important legal questions, in
fact, they do not occupy even half of my time. More than half of my time is
spent on a completely different set of issues, which I almost never get a chance
to talk about publicly.
So today, let me talk not about international conflict, but about the other side
of what I do: the legal aspects of international cooperation and engagement.
Specifically, let me address how we in the Obama Administration have handled
a broad set of activities that can be grouped loosely under the rubric of
"twenty-first-century international lawmaking."
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