- Slides: 10
War and Violence Can war be just?
‘Realism’ • Relations between states aren’t governed by justice - so the question of a ‘just war’ is beside the point • Descriptive realism: states are simply not motivated by justice, but by national interest • Prescriptive realism: foreign policy should not be governed by morality/justice, but national interest • Why believe realism?
Pacifism • War is always unjust, and therefore always wrong. – Strong: in principle – Weak: in fact • Aggression by a state does not need to be resisted by war, as there are other means, e. g. civil disobedience – But these methods may only work if the aggressor is responsive to justice
Pacifism • War always involves a violation of moral duties – Are pacifists concerned with ‘keeping their hands clean’? – The response that war is necessary, though unjust, is realism. • Is it a violation of one’s duty to kill someone if you are resisting their aggression? • No war has met the conditions of ‘just war theory’.
Just war? • Three aspects: – Jus ad bellum – the justice of resorting to war – Jus in bello – just conduct in war – Jus post bellum – justice at the end of war
Jus ad bellum • War must be in a just cause. For this, war must be declared by a legitimate state. • The right intention for fighting the war is because it is in a just cause. • The decision to go to war must be made with the proper authority and by a public declaration. • The declaration of war must be a last resort. • A declaration of war can only be just if the state can foresee a probability of success in resolving the conflict through war. • The response of declaring war must be proportionate, i. e. the good that can be secured through war must outweigh the evil that will most likely occur.
Questions • Can wars not declared by legitimate states be just? E. g. civil war, revolution • Can holy war (jihad), intended to spread religious belief, ever by just? • Must there be a good chance of success? Don’t people have the right to self-defence in all conditions? – Won’t this lead to misery without benefit?
Jus in bello • Weapons prohibited by international law must not be used. • Only combatants may be targeted. It is wrong to intend the deaths of non-combatants. • Armed forces must use proportional force, i. e. proportional to achieving the end. • Prisoners of war must be treated well. • No weapons or means of war that are ‘evil in themselves’ are permitted. • Armed forces are not justified in breaking these rules in response to the enemy breaking these rules.
Proportionality • Proportional to what? • Jus ad bellum: the degree of force that is justifiable is proportionate to the harm that is being threatened • Jus in bello: military action must not use more force than is necessary to achieve their ends of eliminating the threat of harm • In guerilla war, there is a mismatch – E. g. Palestinian rocket attacks v. Israeli tanks and bombs
Jus post bellum • Less agreement. We can argue for the following: • The rights whose violation justified the war should be secured. • Just as the declaration of war must be publicly made by the proper authority, so must the declaration of peace. • Proportionality governs both jus ad bellum and jus in bello, and so it should govern the peace settlement as well. It should be reasonable, not a form of revenge. • The discrimination between combatants (including political leaders) and non-combatants still applies when seeking punishment. Public, international trials for war crimes should be conducted.