The Stanford Task Force Report on Preventive Force, by Abraham D. Sofaer, offers a practical guide to identifying and considering the issues relevant to preventive uses of force. The report seeks to ensure that such uses of force, if undertaken, will advance national and international security and the purposes of the United Nations Charter. The report examines the legitimacy, dangers, and limitations of preventive force and concludes by encouraging states and decision makers to undertake a systematic appraisal of the merits of any threat or use of preventive force based, not only on legal standards, which have proved an ineffective guide, but also on standards related to legitimacy, such as the consistency of proposed actions with the U.N. Charter and established norms of conduct.
Abraham D. Sofaer, who served as legal adviser to the US Department of State from 1985 to 1990, was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994. During his service as legal adviser, he was responsible for US/Iran negotiations at the Iran/US Tribunal in The Hague.