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Terror and Consent


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Philip Bobbitt is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University. He has served as a senior adviser at the White House, the Senate and the State Department in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and has held senior posts at the National Security Council, including Director for Intelligence Programs and Senior Director for Strategic Planning. He was Anderson Senior Research Follow at Nuffield College, Oxford, where he was a member of the Oxford Modern History Faculty, and Marsh Christian Senior Fellow of War Studies at King's College, London, and is currently Senior Fellow in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has written books on nuclear strategy, social choice and constitutional law, as well as the celebrated The Shield of Achilles (Allen Lane/Penguin 2002). He lives in New York, Austin and London.


A Columbia law professor who has served the U.S. government in numerous capacities, Bobbitt considers the idea of a war on terror and finds it wanting, at least legally. With a three-city tour. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

'This is quite simply the most profound book to have been written on the subject of American foreign policy since the attacks of 9/11 -- indeed, since the end of the Cold War' - Niall Ferguson, New York Book Review 'one of the most important works you are likely to read this year ! written with remarkable literary grace' - Rowan Williams, The Daily Telegraph 'Nothing less than a philosophical route-map for the war on terror' - Matthew D'Ancona, The Spectator

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. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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