In the Shadow of International Law
Secrecy and Regime Change in the Postwar World
Reviews and Awards
"This fascinating book argues that the growth of international law changed how powerful states decided to intervene in weaker ones.... Poznansky presents archival evidence of officials worrying—to various degrees—about violating international law, pushing decision-makers to pursue covert rather than overt military action." - G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs
"this text is a timely publication in an era of increased geopolitical unease, particularly considering recent events in the United States." - Hannah Steeves, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Canadian Law Library Review
"In this volume, Michael Poznansky has taken on the difficult research subject of covert action-secret intervention by one state into the affairs of another. With a focus on Latin America and the United States, he examines the core question of why nations sometimes undertake regime change covertly and at other times overtly. The difference depends, he argues, on international law. When international legal barriers to intervention exist, nations resort to covert means. This book is well-researched and essential reading for anyone interested in the hidden side of American foreign policy." -Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor Emeritus, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia "
"Covert action is seductive to leaders who want to eliminate their enemies without going to war. Covert action is also paradoxical, as Michael Poznansky argues in this deeply researched and provocative new book. Leaders turn to covert regime change only when they cannot justify military intervention under international law. Strangely, their respect for the law causes them to break it." -Joshua Rovner, American University "
"Michael Poznansky wrote an important book on the role of international law in decision-making about the use of force. It is a book all students who are interested in international security and foreign policy should read. Even if some of us are skeptical about the restraining effect of international law on leaders' decisions, In the Shadow of International Law offers a compelling theory and robust evidence to appreciate its importance." -Karen Yarhi-Milo, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs and Associate Director of the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University "
"If powerful states want to intervene in other states, why bother to hide it? Poznansky offers a carefully and compellingly argued response to this puzzling question: when intervening states can find a plausible justification in international law, they will engage in overt intervention; but when such justification is lacking, they will 'go covert.' Deeply researched and engagingly written, In the Shadow of International Law advances our understandings of the politics of international law as well as those of secret and not-so-secret interventions." -Tanisha Fazal, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota "