Just War Thinking: Morality and Pragmatism in the Struggle Against Contemporary Threats

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Lexington Books, 2007 - Philosophy - 131 pages
Just War Thinking: Morality and Pragmatism in the Struggle Against Contemporary Threats reconsiders the intersection between morality and pragmatism in foreign policy and modern warfare. Whereas recent explications of "Just War theory" neglect how twenty-first century wars differ from the old wars that Just War doctrine was originally designed for, this book argues that a political ethic of responsibility should motivate the contemporary application of military force by states in order to protect international security and human life. Just War Thinking criticizes the quasi-pacifism of most formal Just War scholarship, reconceptualizes a minimal, realistic "just war thinking" framework for exploring foreign and military policy options, and evaluates the usefulness of this approach by investigating contemporary cases such as the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, the call for assassination of political leaders, and military humanitarian intervention. Finally, the book considers new challenges to pragmatic yet moral policies: the neglect of jus post bellum (justice at war's end); the challenge of public opinion, democratic processes, and supranational institutions to policies based on just war thinking; and the erosive power of postmodernism to the normative structures guiding Western decision-makers.
 

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Contents

Old Wars vs New Wars The Challenges of the 21st Century
The Triumphs and Failings of Just War Thinking
13
Political Responsibility and the Decision to go to War jus ad helium
31
Fighting to Win The Nexus of Morality and Practicality jus in bello
55
Finishing Well Security and Punishment at Wars End jus post bellum
75
Public Opinion Postmodernism and Supranational Governance Challenges for New Thinking on Just War
99
Selected Bibliography
119
Index
123
About the Author
125
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Eric Patterson is assistant director of the Berkley Center for Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

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