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

Front Cover
A.A. Knopf, 2008 - Political Science - 672 pages
19 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Terror and Consent : The Wars for the Twenty-First Century

User Review  - Joshua Deaver - Goodreads

Great book that dives into the question, "What is Terror?" It is truly a work of Academia which is something I wasn't looking for yet enjoyed. I had trouble putting it down. I can honestly say I don't ... Read full review

Review: Terror and Consent : The Wars for the Twenty-First Century

User Review  - Eric Atkisson - Goodreads

A bit of a difficult read at times, but worth the effort for anyone interested in the subject. Bobbitt's well-reasoned analysis of how nation-states and terrorism have evolved, without the ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

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.

Bibliographic information