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Explain the Confucian theory of just war. In this essay, I will explore Confucian principles of the justice of warfare as respects to war as a last resort, humanitarian intervention, and virtuous rulers.

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Question: Explain the Confucian theory of just war. In a Western perspective, war is a societal violence that aims to take territory, to win, to gain power, etc. In Confucian thought, war entails definitions of what is just and unjust which includes values, morals, and the appropriation of particular cases. Not only do Confucians define these criteria but they go beyond to evaluate what is just in specific examples. During the Confucian era, people were ruled by sage kings who entered warfare recklessly to conquer territory or to enhance any sort of profits such as scarce resources. Confucians knew that this was only natural since they were competing states; however, they urged rulers to thrive to reach for the ideal justice of warfare in a non-ideal world. In this essay, I will explore Confucian principles of the justice of warfare as respects to war as a last resort, humanitarian intervention, and virtuous rulers. During 500 B.C - 500 A.D, the Ancient Greeks saw war as heroic. It was a way of domination, something to take pride in not something seen as evil. It brought the best in the competitive self; it was something chronic. Their definition of just warfare was a warfare fought for holy purposes. However, warfare in an East Asian context is seen vastly different than from the Ancient Greeks. ...read more.


"punitive expeditions." Humanitarian intervention occurs when states can legitimately invade other states to free their people of cruel tyranny to bring about global peace and good government; a peaceful change as a better bargain. However, there are requisites to achieve this. First, the conquerors must liberate the people who are oppressed by the tyrant. This may involve in murdering the tyrant since tyrant slaughter numerous of civilians himself. "Just as people may justly kill their despotic rulers, so leaders of punitive expeditions may justly kill tyrants in foreign lands, if need be." -Mencius (Bell, 38). Secondly, the people must show that they welcome their conquerors. They must long lastingly support their conquerors. The conquered must be received enthusiastically by the conquering. Thirdly, the ruler of the conquering must be virtuous or at a minimum, have the potential to become virtuous. This is essential for a ruler to acquire in order to develop moral power and spread change. Moral progression could plausibly attract those living in faraway lands so there would be no need for territorial boundaries, hence achieving tian xia: "The moral power of the exemplary person is the wind, the virtue of the common person is grass. Under the wind, the grass must bend." -Confucious (Bell, 25) Fourth of all, the leader of humanitarian intervention must have some moral claim to have the world's support. ...read more.


With this, he must need the support of his people and their willingness to fight in order to protect their territory over hegemons. An offensive war is only justified if it is led by a virtuous leader who aims to punish tyrants of the conquered. The conquered must also welcome the conquering, and the ruler must have the world's support. Bell uses the invasion of Iraq as a contemporary example of an unjust war where Mr. Bush is today's hegemonic king. "The best contemporary example is President Bush's war of invasion against Iraq! He used the excuses of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism in order to obtain oil resources and to consolidate his strategic position in the Middle East." -Yongquan (Bell, 23). In my personal opinion, I agree with Bell's example. Mr. Bush led an offensive war which supposedly aimed to save the citizens of Iraq, and to deter destruction of nuclear weapons. However, there were no nuclear weapons apparent and innocent lives of Iraqis are being taken as we speak today. This was an unnecessary war that we engaged in; we did not use war as a last resort. We did not attempt alternative resolutions to this catastrophic event but instead, we led a pre-emptive attack. I agree with the Confucian theory of war as a last resort. In conclusion, the Confucian theory of just war should be followed by all nations in order to establish peace for it will help societies flourish by being non-conflicting, pacifist, and non violent. ...read more.

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