The Powers of War and Peace

  • Title:

    The Powers of War and Peace
  • Hardcover ISBN:

    0226960315
  • Hardcover Dimensions:

    9.3'' x 6.1''
  • 388 Hardcover pages

View the press release/summary.

Since the September 11 attacks on the United States, the Bush administration has come under fire for its methods of combating terrorism. Waging war against al Qaeda has proven to be a legal quagmire, with critics claiming that the administration's response in Afghanistan and Iraq is unconstitutional. The war on terror—and, in a larger sense, the administration's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and the Kyoto accords—has many wondering whether the constitutional framework for making foreign affairs decisions has been discarded by the present administration.

John Yoo, formerly a lawyer in the Department of Justice, here makes the case for a completely new approach to understanding what the Constitution says about foreign affairs, particularly the powers of war and peace. Looking to American history, Yoo points out that from Truman and Korea to Clinton's intervention in Kosovo, American presidents have had to act decisively on the world stage without a declaration of war. They are able to do so, Yoo argues, because the Constitution grants the president, Congress, and the courts very different powers, requiring them to negotiate the country's foreign policy. Yoo roots his controversial analysis in a brilliant reconstruction of the original understanding of the foreign affairs power and supplements it with arguments based on constitutional text, structure, and history.

Accessibly blending historical arguments with current policy debates, The Powers of War and Peace will no doubt be hotly debated. And while the questions it addresses are as old and fundamental as the Constitution itself, America's response to the September 11 attacks has renewed them with even greater force and urgency.

John Yoo is professor of law at the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee; as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence H. Silberman; and, from 2001 to 2003, as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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