Global Public Square

By Matthew Waxman, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Matthew C. Waxman is a Professor at Columbia Law School, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Hoover Institution Task Force on National Security and Law. The views expressed are his own.

In all the talk and debate about possible U.S. or Israeli military strikes against Iranian nuclear development sites, there has been remarkably little discussion of international law. In a recent Washington PostOp-Ed, a former State Department legal adviser and former CIA general counsel lamented that there “has been almost no discussion of whether an attack by the United States would be legal.” One might easily wonder, based on this near-silence amid public debates about red lines and likely effects of strikes on Iranian capabilities and regional politics, whether international law will really matter at all if the crisis should…

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