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Force, Pre‐emption and Legitimacy

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Current debates on military force focus on the interrelated questions of pre‐emption and unilateralism. While the US rightly reserves the prerogative to make its own ultimate decisions on the use of force, it will be frequently necessary, invariably helpful and almost always possible, to secure broad international support. That support need not always be in the form of a UN Security Council resolution. As for pre‐emption, the realities of WMD are such that the meaningful right to self‐defence does not require absorbing a first blow. Indeed, even at early stages of WMD development, the problem with pre‐emption is not legality, but operational difficulty.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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