“Is All Fair in Love & War?” Just & Unjust Wars through the prism of Jewish and Secular Thought Part 2

Reasons to Engage in Warfare: As Walzer suggests in Just and Unjust Wars reasons for a “just war” can include an aggression against the state, a violation of the state’s territorial integrity or political sovereignty (52, 62).  The anticipation of such an act is also just cause to begin war. Just wars may also be initiated by a state to defend against a humanitarian crime, as well as the right of a state to help another state defend against acts of aggression (59). Humanitarian intervention belongs in the realm of moral choice, nations which have the capability to stop the slaughter, like individuals, must sometimes decide to engage (106). When human rights are being violated in a state, as in the case of enslavement or massacre, it makes talk of a community, the right of the state, or the self determination of the state seem cynical and irrelevant (90). Humanitarian intervention is justified when it is a response to acts that shock the moral conscience of mankind (107).

Intervention by a state in the affairs of another can only be done when it can be justified for just reasons. The burden of proof is on the foreign leader who tries to shape the domestic situation or alter the conditions of the life in a foreign country (86).

War may never achieve absolutes: complete territorial integrity, total invulnerability, or everlasting peace. The object of war is a better state of peace and “better” within the confines of the argument for justice means more secure than the status quo, less vulnerable to territorial expansion, safer for ordinary men and women and for their domestic self-determinations, recognizing that achievements are still subjective in nature (122).

Posted in Ethics, War

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