1st Edition

Why Not Preempt?
Security, Law, Norms and Anticipatory Military Activities

ISBN 9780754670575
Published March 28, 2008 by Routledge
266 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Anticipatory military activities, which include both preemptive and preventive military actions, are at the centre of American strategic doctrine - however, states rarely use these activities. Rachel Bzostek puts forward an integrated analysis to help understand why states have or have not undertaken such activities in the past. By exploring what kinds of strategic or structural elements compel states or leaders to take anticipatory military action, as well as how these concepts are viewed in both international law and the just war tradition, this book uses case studies to examine those elements that have played an influential role in the decision-making process. Ideal as a course reader for upper division undergraduate and graduates in security studies, international law, US foreign policy and those involved in the teaching and training of the military.



Rachel Bzostek is from the Department of Political Science at California State University, Bakersfield, USA.


’Drawing careful distinctions, Why Not Preempt? brings thoughtful analysis to a perplexing area of ethics and law. Bzostek resists imposing artificial conclusions, embracing the historical question of anticipatory action in all its fluidity and complexity. This is a valuable book for anyone who wants to understand how the post-9/11 environment has (and has not) changed how states behave.’ Steven P. Millies, University of South Carolina, Aiken, USA 'The careful tracing of the origins of preemption provide the reader with an in depth analysis of the policy - not just the politics. Further, by focusing on the legal parameters Bzostek has removed the emotional hysteria that too often surrounds the issue.' Anne E. Ohlrich, St. Mary's University, USA 'Ms. Bzostek's book is a good reminder of the limits of law. It shows us that, for a decision maker, law is only one of the criteria to be considered. The case study approach also helps to understand the tensions between theory and practice and the difficulties that decision makers face when taking decisions of great importance in a limited period of time. The book is a very enjoyable and interesting read.' NATO Legal Gazette