Eve of Destruction
The Coming Age of Preventive War
Thomas M. Nichols
"Thomas Nichols transcends sterile debates about Iraq and the Bush Doctrine and points instead to the fundamental erosion in two long-standing international norms: the inviolability of state sovereignty and the unacceptability of preventive war. These profound changes are driven by the very real threat of mass casualty suicide terrorism as well as humanitarian disasters and the problem of failed states. This is a smart, incisive, and important book."—Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University
"Preventive war is here to stay. The question isn't whether but when and how force will be used preventively. That is the important message of this excellent book. Nichols provides the critical answers clearly and convincingly."—Ivo Daalder, Brookings Institution
"Nichols provides a lively guide to the development of this issue after the Cold War."—Foreign Affairs
In an age of new threats to international security, the old rules of war are rapidly being discarded. The great powers are moving toward norms less restrictive of intervention, preemption, and preventive war. This evolution is taking place not only in the United States but also in many of the world's most powerful nations, including Russia, France, and Japan, among others. As centuries of tradition and law are overturned, will preventive warfare push the world into chaos?
Eve of Destruction is a provocative contribution to a growing international debate over the acceptance of preventive military action. In the first work to identify the trends that have led to a coming age of preventive war, Thomas M. Nichols uses historical analysis as well as interviews with military officials from around the world to trace the anticipatory use of force from the early 1990s—when the international community responded to a string of humanitarian crises in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo—to today's current and potential actions against rogue states and terrorists. He makes a case for a bold reform of U.S. foreign policy, and of the United Nations Security Council itself, in order to avert outright anarchy.
Thomas M. Nichols is Professor of Strategy and Forrest Sherman Chair of Public Diplomacy at the United States Naval War College. His previous books include The Russian Presidency and Winning the World: Lessons for America's Future from the Cold War.