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Preventive ForceDrones, Targeted Killing, and the Transformation of Contemporary Warfare$
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Kerstin Fisk

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479857531

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479857531.001.0001

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Sovereignty and Preventive War in the Twenty-First Century

Sovereignty and Preventive War in the Twenty-First Century

A Retrospective on Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War

(p.88) 4 Sovereignty and Preventive War in the Twenty-First Century
Preventive Force

Thomas M. Nichols

NYU Press

Nearly a decade ago, I wrote a book called Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War. In it, I argued that the end of the Cold War meant the collapse as well as any pretense of respect for the Westphalian norms of state sovereignty that governed the international system for over 300 years. This, I claimed, happened for three reasons. (1) The multiplicity of humanitarian disasters in the 1990s and after challenged the Western powers to act without the previous constraint – or excuse – of Cold War tensions; (2) “rogue” or “outlaw” states now pose threats to larger powers in a way they had never been able to do before by gaining access to weapons of mass destruction; (3) terrorist organizations operating with the support of these rogue regimes (or from bases in “failed” states) have demonstrated the ability to inflict major damage on large nations. I further argued that this is not limited to the United States but is in fact an international movement. In this chapter, I look back at the book to ask what it got wrong, what it got right, what has changed in the ensuing decade, and what can be done in the next decade.

Keywords:   Sovereignty, Humanitarian intervention, War, Threats, States, Non-state actors

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