Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-first Century

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A.A. Knopf, 2008 - Political Science - 672 pages
3 Reviews
An urgent reconceptualization of the Wars on Terror from the author ofThe 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 Consentaddresses 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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sherief - LibraryThing

Bobbitt is surprising and his book is surprisingly nuanced. From any end of the political spectrum, there's much to agree on in this book. Many of the things you think you'll want to disagree with in ... Read full review

TERROR AND CONSENT: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A distinguished scholar proposes an entirely new way of understanding and combating modern terrorism.With the startling statement that "almost every widely held idea we currently entertain about ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

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.

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