The Gamble of War : Is it Possible to Justify Preventive War?
par Ariel Colonomos
Macmillan, February 2013
With the new millennium, prevention has become a popular doctrine in international politics. One of its most noticeable features is that democracies become inclined to strike first. In the US, it has served as the banner of the neo–conservative movement but it also gathered support from some liberals. It has also inspired several Israeli interventions. Does the preventive use of force meet the normative criteria that prevail or should prevail in a democratic system? Or does it endanger the legal and ethical traditions that characterize the history of Western military ethics? This book analyzes the justification of preventive war in contemporary asymmetrical international relations. It focuses on the most crucial aspect of prevention: uncertainty. Luck plays a significant role in these hazardous preventive wars, with unforeseen and sometimes unforeseeable consequences. This book bridges the explanatory analysis of uncertainty in preventive war making (using field work and data) with a normative account of prevention. It builds a new framework where the role of luck – whether military, political, moral, or normative – is a corrective to the traditional approaches of the Just War tradition.
Ariel Colonomos is a Senior Research Fellow at CERI. He is author of several publications focusing on the ethics of the international relations of an explanatory and normative point of view, including a recent study on the preventive use of force and its justification. His new research project investigates the role of predictive ideas in international relations.