"Strategists must understand the legal dynamics that are exerting an increasingly powerful influence on the legitimate use of violence. Law has become a weapon of war--a practice that has come to be termed as 'lawfare'--used by weak states and non-state actors to block a strong state's legitimate use of armed force. Strong states also use lawfare to shape strategic narratives or to achieve objectives that not long ago might only have been achievable using force. Comparing how strong states and weak actors use lawfare reveals that the international legal arena is not a level playing field, and that only strong states are capable of practicing lawfare in a truly strategic sense. Strong states are adopting and adapting to the use of lawfare by weak states and non-state actors because strong states are better poised to extract continuing advantages from international law. No strong state will allow its vital interests to be litigated away."
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. School of Advanced Military Studies: http://usacac.army.mil/organizations/cace/cgsc/sams