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LSE public lecture

Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century

The threat of terrorism is now part of the landscape of daily lives all over the world, yet we have hardly begun to think properly about it. In his new book Terror and Consent and in this lecture Professor Bobbitt argues that we are fighting these wars with weapons and concepts which though useful to us in previous conflicts have now been superseded. He aims to provide a fundamental rethinking of most generally accepted ideas about terror in the modern world – what it is, how it operates and above all how it can be frustrated. Philip Bobbitt argues that we need to reforge the links between law and strategy; to realize how the evolution of modern states, which have always produced terrorists in their own image, has now produced a globally networked terrorism; to combine humanitarian interests with strategies of intervention; and above all to rethink what ‘victory’ in such a war, if it is a war, might look like – no occupied capitals, no treaties, no victory parades, but the preservation, protection and defence of human rights and of states of consent. It is central to his argument that we are fighting terror and not just terrorists.

Bobbitt addresses questions about the nature and uses of intelligence, the apparently intractable persistence of torture, whether it is permissible for states to curtail citizens’ freedoms in order to protect them, and the role of the United States in the world, with boldness and originality.

Philip Bobbitt is Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and Director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University. He has served as a senior adviser at the White House, the Senate and the State Department in both Democratic and Republican administrations, and has held senior posts at the National Security Council, including Director for Intelligence Programs and Senior Director for Strategic Planning. He was Anderson Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, where he was a member of the Oxford Modern History Faculty, and Marsh Christian Senior Fellow of War Studies at King’s College, London, and is currently Senior Fellow in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has written books on nuclear strategy, social choice and constitutional law, as well as the celebrated The Shield of Achilles (Allen Lane/Penguin 2002).

This event marks the launch of Philip Bobbitt's new book Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century (Penguin, May 29 2008)


Professor Philip Bobbit | talks


Date and Time:

3 June 2008 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Old Theatre, London School of Economics & Political Science
Houghton St

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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