Hoover Press: The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force, by Hoover Fellow Abraham D. Sofaer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Stanford
The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force by Hoover Fellow Abraham D. Sofaer
The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force by Hoover Fellow Abraham D. Sofaer

What should be done to prevent future terrorist attacks, as well as other unconventional threats, against the United States? “Conventional attacks still occur. Today, however, the threats of greatest concern include unconventional attacks, which are prepared in secret, launched without warning, and conducted without regard to established rules governing the conduct of war,” says Abraham Sofaer, the George P. Shultz Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy and National Security Affairs at the Hoover Institution..

In The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force (Hoover Press, 2010) Sofaer, describing the findings of the Stanford Task Force on Preventive Force, offers a practical guide to identifying and considering the issues relevant to preventive uses of force, in the hope that such uses of force, if undertaken, will advance national and international security and the purposes of the United Nations Charter.

The task force recognizes that a state considering force in response to a security threat must first exhaust the full range of alternatives. The task force concludes, however, that when preventive measures short of force fail to resolve security threats, resorting to force may be the only viable option.

The Stanford Task Force on Preventive Force, a group of national security experts at Stanford University, was led by former secretary of state George P. Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Coit D. Blacker, the director of the Freeman/Spogli Institute on International Affairs. The task force examined issues relevant to whether increased reliance on preventive force is warranted and by what standards such reliance should be governed.

Sofaer served as legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, 1985 to 1990; U.S. district judge in the Southern District of New York, 1979–1985; professor of law at Columbia University School of Law, 1969–1979; and assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, 1967–1969.

The Best Defense? Legitimacy and Preventive Force,
by Abraham D. Sofaer

ISBN: 978-0-8179-1005-1 Paper   $19.00
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1004-4 Cloth   $29.00
214 pages    February 2010