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Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Centuryby Philip Bobbitt
Synopses & Reviews
An urgent reconceptualization of the Wars on Terror from the author of The Shield of Achilles (“magisterial”— The New York Times, “a classic for future generations”—The New York Review of Books). In this book Philip Bobbitt brings together historical, legal, and strategic analyses to understand the idea of a “war on terror.” Does it make sense? What are its historical antecedents? How would such a war be “won”? What are the appropriate doctrines of constitutional and international law for democracies in such a struggle?
He provocatively declares that the United States is the chief cause of global networked terrorism because of overwhelming American strategic dominance. This is not a matter for blame, he insists, but grounds for reflection on basic issues. We have defined the problem of winning the fight against terror in a way that makes the situation virtually impossible to resolve. We need to change our ideas about terrorism, war, and even victory itself.
Bobbitt argues that the United States has ignored the role of law in devising its strategy, with fateful consequences, and has failed to reform law in light of the changed strategic context. Along the way he introduces new ideas and concepts—Parmenides Fallacy, the Connectivity Paradox, the market state, and the function of terror as a by-product of globalization—to help us prepare for what may be a decades-long conflict of which the battle against al Qaeda is only the first instance.
At stake is whether we can maintain states of consent in the twenty-first century or whether the dominant constitutional order will be that of states of terror. Challenging, provocative, and insightful, Terror and Consent addresses the deepest themes of governance, liberty, and violence. It will change the way we think about confronting terror—and it will change the way we evaluate public policies in that struggle.
"Bobbitt follows his magisterial Shield of Achilles with an equally complex and provocative analysis of the West's ongoing struggle against terrorism. According to Bobbitt, the primary 'driver' of terrorism is not Islam but the emergence of the market state. 'Market states' (such as the U.S.) are characterized by their emphasis on deregulation, privatization (of prisons, pensions, armies), abdication of typical nation-state duties (providing welfare or health care) and adoption of corporate models of 'operational effectiveness.' While market states are too militarily formidable to be challenged conventionally, they have allowed for the sale of weapons on the international market, thereby losing their monopoly on mass destruction; furthermore they are disproportionately vulnerable to 'destabilizing, delegitimating, demoralizing' terror. Bobbitt asserts that this situation requires a shift from a strategy of deterrence and containment to one of preclusion. States must recast concepts of sovereignty and legitimacy to define what levels of force they may deploy in seeking and suppressing terrorists. Domestically, the shift involves accepting that in order to protect citizens, the state must strengthen its powers in sensitive areas like surveillance. International alliances can be a major advantage in a war waged not against terrorists, but terror itself. Terror and Consent, the first work to interpret terrorism in the context of political theory, merits wide circulation and serious consideration." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The author of "The Shield of Achilles" brings together historical, legal, and strategic analyses to understand the idea of a "war on terror." Challenging, provocative, and insightful, this work addresses the deepest themes of governance, liberty, and violence.
About the Author
Philip Bobbitt is the Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and the Director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University. He is also Senior Fellow at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. He has served as Associate Counsel to the President, Legal Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on the Iran-Contra Affair, the Counselor on International Law for the Department of State, and Director for Intelligence Programs, Senior Director for Critical Infrastructure, and Senior Director for Strategic Planning at the National Security Council. Formerly Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, where he was a member of the Modern History faculty, he was subsequently Senior Fellow in War Studies at Kings College, London. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in New York, London, and Austin.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Plagues in the Time of Feast
PART I: THE IDEA OF A WAR AGAINST TERROR
1 The New Masque of Terrorism
2 The Market State: Arming Terror
3 Warfare Against Civilians
4 Victory Without Parades
PART II: LAW AND THE STRATEGY IN THE DOMESTIC THEATER OF TERROR
5 The Constitutional Relationship Between Rights and Powers
6 Intelligence, Information, and Knowledge
7 The Strategic Relationship Between Ends and Means
8 Terrorism: Supply and Demand
PART III: STRATEGY AND LAW IN THE INTERNATIONAL THEATER OF TERROR
9 The Illusion of an American Strategic Doctrine
10 Mise-en-Scène: The Properties of Sovereignty
11 Danse Macabre: Global Governance and Legitimacy
12 The Triage of Terror
Conclusion: A Plague Treatise for the Twenty-first Century
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