Thomas M. Nichols


On his book Eve of Destruction: The Coming Age of Preventive War

Cover Interview of February 24, 2009

A close-up

In chapter 4 I show how the move toward preventive military action is really an international phenomenon.  Perhaps the most frustrating thing I found in writing the book is that a lot of people could not get past their emotional reactions to think about this in a larger context.

The Iraq war looms large in the book.  A lot of people simply cannot think rationally when they think of George W. Bush; in some quarters Bush engenders a kind of visceral hatred more intensely than Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton ever did.  On the other hand, my solution to this problem centers on the United Nations.  And a lot of people simply shut their eyes and clench their fists with rage when they even hear the words “Security Council,” thinking the UN is some sort of Socialist plot to undermine American independence.  I got a lot of bricks thrown at me from both the right and the left while writing.  So I would hope reading chapter 4 will help people come to the realization that preventive military action is a lot bigger than George Bush, 9/11, the UN, or anything else.  The problem is not as new as you might think; the erosion of national sovereignty and the growing temptations of preventive war have been in the works since at least the late 1980s, and in countries all around the world.