Pre-emption and prevention : an ethical and legal critique of the Bush doctrine and anticipatory use of force in defence of the State
Date of Issue2003
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
This paper is a critique of the recent emphasis evident in US foreign policy towards the use of military force in anticipatory self-defence. It addresses the claims of the so-called 'Bush Doctrine' by examining the ethical and legal dimensions of 'pre-emptive war'. In this paper, I propose that two distinct strategies may be discerned from within the doctrine: those that are truley pre-emptive and those that are reventive. From an ethical perspective, the moral reasoning of the just war tradition will be used to demonstrate that whilst many of the claims made by the US are valid, any policy of preventive war targeted against sovereign states cannot be justified. Likewise, the provisions of international law may be said to permit the lawful use of force in self-defence (even anticipatory self-defence), but that claims for perventive war fall clearly outside its boundaries. My paper aruges that the ethical and legal 'norms' operating within international relations that limit the use of force, and also that permit lawful and justified actions in self-defence must be uplead; and that the claims of the Bush Doctrine in regard to prevention are therefore largely invalid.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Military and naval science
RSIS Working Papers ; 055/03
Nanyang Technological University