The United States’ April 6, 2017 missile strikes against Syria raise three fundamental questions about how we should assess military interventions taken for humanitarian ends but without Security Council authorization: First, is unilateral humanitarian intervention per se illegal under international and domestic law—what I call the “never/never rule”? Second, were the Trump Administration's April 6, 2017 strikes per se illegal under international and domestic law? And third, going forward, can we live with the status quo, where in state practice, unilateral humanitarian intervention seems to occur regularly, without being formally justified in law?
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