• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess whether any moral principles have relevance to warfare.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

QUESTION: Assess whether any moral principles have relevance to warfare. This essay examines the nature and role of moral values and ethical reasoning in international relations. In order to address the issue as to whether any moral principles have relevance to warfare, it would be important to ask the following questions: firstly, can moral judgements be made about warfare? and secondly, can moral judgements be defended? I will start of by providing a definition of moral principles and provide arguments in defence of moral principles having relevance to warfare. This will be carried out by providing a basis for moral judgements and how they came about in assessing 'just wars', which will be followed by an explanation of the just war theory and its principles. An analysis of the arguments against will then be provided, such as the denials of moral principles having any relevance to warfare. These arguments will be categorically provided by Optimism, Realism and Pacifism. Primarily, within the realm of international ethics, the following questions need to be answered: Is war ever morally justified? Moreover, is there a morally correct way of fighting a war?I Moral decision-making in respect to war is so problematic that one is tempted either to damn all wars as immoral or to declare that only "might takes right" in war. ...read more.

Middle

most wars past and present have been unjust since they have caused substantial civilian casualties.VIII The principles of just war tradition therefore incorporate legitimate targets. The principle of double-effect has enabled modern just war theorists to carry out acts, which are not morally permissible, provided that the act is carried out in the sake of good effects, legitimate result, that the consequences are unintentional and not disproportionate to the good aimed at. The Just war principles also incur that the decision to engage in war must be enacted by the appropriate authorities, according to the proper process. A state may resort to war only if it has exhausted all plausible, peaceful alternatives, legitimate means, to resolving the conflict in question, in particular diplomatic negotiation. Thus, International agreements have led to a clarification of natural precepts, and made certain what the laws of humanity would leave uncertain, and made definite and particular what the law of nature contained only in a general way.IX The core proposition of just war theory is that, sometimes, states can have moral justification for resorting to armed force in the international system. ...read more.

Conclusion

Civilians right to life may be outweighed by national objectives, provided those objectives are morally acceptable.XII What these examples suggests is that situations can arise in which there is a clash between the moral requirement to prevent evil, if it is readily in our power to do so, and the duty to refrain from killing the innocent. In addition, that if the only way to prevent a much greater harm, is to take life, this may be morally licit and even right. Moreover, traditional double effect cannot plausibly be invoked to disguise the fact that alleged absolute moral rule has thereby been breached.XIII The main discourse of this essay is therefore dominated by three major traditions of thought: optimism, realism and pacifism. The interaction between these three traditions thus structures the contemporary discussion of wartime issues. The rules of Just war theory provide a rational framework for moral reflections on war.XIV Just war theory has been recognized and widely used in the twenty-first century in an attempt to limit the horrors of war. It has been also incorporated into international law through the United Nations Charter, the Nuremberg Charter, and the International Court of Justice. Generally construed, just war theory consists of two basic categories: jus ad bellum and jus in bello. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Must a defensible theory of the morality of war must integrate moral reasoning with ...

    Pacifism treats all wars according to the same criteria; all wars are under every condition wrong. In between these two traditions just war theory offers a more nuanced scope of war recognising that some wars can be morally justified. The essence of just war theory is that it aims to

  2. War is a legitimate enterprise in the twenty-first century.

    Cultures without war wouldn't exist, our world is evolving into a more diversified place as time goes on, war continues to diversify the world faster than any other way . War destroys the old cultures so new ones can take their place.

  1. History of the United States

    Cattle ranching was the first large-scale enterprise to invade the Great Plains beginning in the late 1860s. By the 1880s, however, the open range began to give way to fenced pastureland and to agriculture, made possible by the newly invented barbed- wire fence and by "dry farming," a technique of preserving soil moisture by frequent plowing.

  2. The purpose of my examination of war is to question whether the resort to ...

    of force against the territorial integrity of political independence of any state, (Luban, 211)." Michael Walzer also speaks of political independence and the right to defend it within the legalist paradigm; "Any use of force or imminent threat of force by one state against the political sovereignty or territorial integrity of another constitutes aggression and is a criminal act.

  1. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    * The Allies started to supply West Berlin by air, using 3 flight routes from the Western zones. * During the winter of 1948-9 American & British planes brought in 2.3m tonnes of supplies, including 5,000 tonnes of coal a day.

  2. What is pacifism?

    of just cause, the most systematic exposition is given by Saint Thomas Aquinas. In the Summa Theologicae Aquinas presents the general outline of what becomes the just war theory. He discusses not only the justification of war, but also the kinds of activity that are permissible in war.

  1. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    That formula was the Cairo Agreement. The situation forced army commander General Emile Bustani to sign the an agreement in Cairo in November 1969 with Palestinian representatives. The Cairo Agreement granted to the Palestinians the right to keep weapons in their camps and to attack Israel across Lebanon's border and

  2. Dtente, meaning and definition.

    It was "long step away from the postwar period". It is attempts "to reconcile the reality of competition with the imperative of co_existence" dictated by the need to avoid military confrontation and above all a nuclear war. The word d�tente had appeared on the horizon of international relations in 1961-62

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work