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Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-Conservatism

The Framework of a Liberal Grand Strategy

Tom Farer

Oxford University Press, 2008


Confronting Global Terrorism and American Neo-ConservatismThis book brings together and subjects to critical scrutiny the core controversies connected to the so-called "War on Terror": When is it legitimate and prudent to use force? Is torture ever justified? Do we need to suspend human rights in order to fight terrorism? Is multi-culturalism the answer to communal conflict? Is Israel's treatment of the Palestinians illegal and immoral, an accelerator of terrorism, or legitimately defensive and largely irrelevant to the terrorism problem? Are terrorists responding to concrete U.S. policies or do they simply hate and wish to destroy Western societies?

Liberal intellectuals and political leaders have been slow to articulate a grand strategy informed by liberal values for confronting these issues surrounding global terrorism. The book outlines the framework of a liberal strategy, and exposes the costs of the neo-conservative alternative that has driven US foreign policy since 9/11.



Table of Contents


1: Introduction: Liberalism, Human Rights, Terrorism and Neo-Conservatism

1. Liberalism

2. Human Rights

3. Terrorism

4. Neo-Conservatism



2: Legal and Legitimate Use of Force: In the Struggle Against Global Terrorism Is the UN Charter Quaint?

1. The Original Understanding

2. The New Global Context and the Call for Loosened Restraints on the Use of Force

3. The UN's Restatement of its Norms

4. The Liberal Case for Conserving Normative Restraint


3: Cruelty and the National Interest: The Question of Legitimate Means

1. Standards and the Post-9/11 Setting

2. Deconstructing the Laws of War

3. Liberal Values and the Temptation to Torture

4. The Latin Americanization of the American “War” on Terrorism


4: Terrorism, Communalism and Democracy: The Limits of Tolerance

1. Civic Communities and Communities of Blood and of Faith

2. Communalism and Liberalism

3. Reconciling Liberal Government and Minority Claims: General Principles and Human Rights Norms

4. Liberal Values and Minority Claims: Toward Practical Accommodation

5. Then . . . What Is to be Done?


5: The Iconic Conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: The Normative Parameters of a Settlement

1. The Legal Parameters of a Just Settlement

2. The Problematics of Borders

3. The Question of Forfeiture

4. Israel and the Occupied Territories in Light of Human Rights Law and the Law of War

5. A Legal Right in Search of a Remedy

6. Conclusion: The South African Analogy


6: Toward a Liberal Grand Strategy

1. Ideas and Actions

2. Toward a Liberal Grand Strategy of Containment 
















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