Sunday, January 15, 2006

Niall Ferguson slyly touts the virtues of preventive war with Iran

Niall Ferguson, "The origins of the Great War of 2007 - and how it could have been prevented," Daily Telegraph, Sunday, January 15, 2006. Here. Thanks RCP.

Preventive war does not enjoy a good reputation with international lawyers or political ethicists these days. Too much consequentialism, too little Kant. Somewhere on this blog I link to a very interesting, carefully thought-out article by the philosopher David Luban in Philosophy and Public Affairs in which he is deeply skeptical of the idea of preventive war. I myself am not persuaded by the skepticism, however; at some level, I read it and shrug, willing to make the bet that the consequences of not using force are too great to allow you to wait. As, I take it, Niall Ferguson is at least sometimes willing to do.

That does not answer the question, however, of what an actual, workable use-of-force strategy, whether by Israel or the United States - forget Europe - would look like, with at least a reasonable chance of success. As to that question, I really have very little idea.

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