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Is the term 'Just War' now outdated?

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Introduction

Is the term 'Just War' now outdated? Debates about what we now call 'Just War' go back as far as the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Cicero. In Christian understanding, the theory was developed by St Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan in 374, and his student Augustine. Drawing on Roman ideas and the Old Testament, they marked out that only a legitimate governmental authority has the right to declare war; it must be aimed at restoring peace and ideally should be a last resort. The political situation was such that war was constant, and there was a need for a set of principles in order for the state to support the Church. Pacifism was declared for the clergy and monks only, and it became permissible to wage war on certain grounds, for instance if unjustly attacked. However war for revenge and to get reparations was also allowed, which questions whether it is at all possible to ever fulfill the criteria of either 'jus ad bellum' (the six requirements that must be satisfied by the heads of state) ...read more.

Middle

However, supporters of the United Nations Security Council would say that the Just War theory evolves overtime and adapts to pressing needs; for instance after the Second World War much authority was give to the UN in order to minimise countries waging war in order to satisfy their own demands and pursue their own aims and reactions. Approaching the end of the war at the Yalta Conference (1945) it was decided to ensure a third party could regulate the military affairs of the superpowers. However the UN could not prevent further military conflicts; between the 1980s and 90s the Eastern superpower weakened and the USA, as the remaining paymaster of the UN, gained a lot of support. For instance the carnage committed by Israel, America's ally, has been largely overlooked, whereas the pre-emptive strike on Iraq was approved. Thus the concept of 'Just War' remains impracticable. The issue of terrorism has also proved to be a challenge for the Just War theory. ...read more.

Conclusion

it is impossible to control non-governmental sources and rogue states that may obtain NBC and use it to threaten and blackmail. The just war theory cannot provide a clear cut response to the problem of proportionality with regards to nuclear weaponry. The above problems are characteristic of our time; the term 'Just War' seems out of keeping with the scale and nature of modern warfare. Resources are growing scarce, world economy is unstable, and political differences drive nations to extreme military measures - no cause is fully just and no major state can be 'innocent'. However, there are other issues that are not discussed as often in terms of just war - such as the division between the rich and the poor countries, and whether the latter would be justified in waging war to establish a fairer system than the one existing right now. Overall, the Just War theory can be modified and updated; it should not be dismissed because there is a desperate need for peace and justice in the world today. ?? ?? ?? ?? Anna Grinevich, PP ...read more.

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