Doctrine and practice of preventive war : its impact on European security

Joetze, Günter


pdf-Format: Dokument 1.pdf (196 KB)

Dokumentart: Bericht / Forschungsbericht / Abhandlung
Institut: HSFK-Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung
Schriftenreihe: PRIF reports
Bandnummer: 70
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2004
Publikationsdatum: 24.01.2008
SWD-Schlagwörter: USA , Präventivkrieg , Militärdoktrin , Gemeinsame Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik
DDC-Sachgruppe: Politik
BK - Basisklassifikation: 89.90 (Außenpolitik, Internationale Politik), 89.73 (Europapolitik, Europäische Union)
Sondersammelgebiete: 3.6 Politik und Friedensforschung

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

The recent war against Iraq was strategically explained and morally justified as a necessary preemption to save America from terrorist attacks using weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Unilateral military interventions, sometimes preventive, sometimes retaliatory, but mostly short, played a part in American foreign policy throughout the 1990s, with right-wing US politicians putting pressure on the government to intervene against Saddam Hussein for a number of years. Thus, the war did not come out of the blue. What was new was the elevation of preemptive strikes to a military doctrine by a presidential document, the National Security Strategy (NSS), which presented preemptive strikes as a regular future instrument for the American military in an ongoing and long lasting “war against terror”. Although embellished with Wilsonian language on the promotion of democracy and human rights, this document defines military power as the primary tool of US foreign policy which will ultimately, under American leadership, introduce democratic reforms in the Greater Middle East and elsewhere. The diplomatic prelude to the first application in Iraq in the United Nations Security Council led to a compromise text in November 2002 that was based on open dissent on “automaticity” (for America to go to war should she judge Iraqi compliance to be insufficient); later in February/March 2003 a proposed second resolution was openly defeated in spite of extraordinary American pressure; a promising last minute proposal was rejected by the US. The bitterness of transatlantic and intra-European divisions is without precedent. All partners were affected by it. In Germany, foreign policy consensus fell apart and its cushioned situation in a benign hegemonial system ended. Britain’s customary eagerness to please the US in security affairs paid off badly. The problems of European Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) were laid open. They will remain unresolved, and will prohibit serious European actions in real crises, until there is a radical change of the international situation, be it an American return to isolationism versus Europe, a change in the British basic orientation, or the emergence of security priorities which force all European partners to make sacrifices in sovereignty and resources. If nothing like this happens, the Europeans will continue to paper over their CFSP problems. The author, a retired German diplomat, spent 18 years in international organizations, at last as ambassador to the various arms control processes and in the OSCE in Vienna. He is currently engaged in writing and teaching. He prepared this report in 2003 as a visiting fellow of the Robert Schuman Center of the European University Institute in Florence. He gratefully acknowledges the invaluable help by its library and by its staff. Following a thorough review process at PRIF, the report was updated in July 2004.

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