President Obama's 2010 United States National Security Strategy and International Law on the Use of Force
AbstractAt first sight, President Obama's 2010 United States National Security Strategy provides a marked contrast with George W. Bush's 2002 and 2006 Security Strategies. Its main emphasis is on engagement with the international community through a multilateral approach. The section Use of Force stresses that force should be used only as a last resort. But it leaves certain issues unclear. It does not expressly reject the earlier “Bush doctrine” of pre-emptive self-defense. It seems to raise the possibility of unilateral humanitarian intervention. And there are many continuities. Although Obama abandons the language of the “global war on terror”, he still maintains that the United States is at war with “a far-reaching network of violence and terror”. This article considers the implications for international law on the use of force.