In Defence of Just War: Christian Tradition, Controversies, and Cases
AbstractThis article presents four controversial issues that are raised by the articulation of just war thinking in my book, In Defence of War (2013, 2014): the conception of just war as punitive, the penultimate nature of the authority of international law, the morality of national interest, and the elasticity of the requirement of proportionality. It then proceeds to illustrate the interpretation of some of the criteria of just war in terms of three topical cases: Britain’s belligerency against Germany in 1914, the Syrian rebellion against the Assad regime in 2011, and Israe’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza in 2013. It is often claimed that just war thinking has been rendered obsolete by novel phenomena such as nuclear weapons, wars ‘among the people’, war-by-remote-control, and cyber-aggression. The presentation of issues and cases in this article, notwithstanding its brevity, is sufficient to show that just war thinking continues to develop by wrestling with controversial conceptual problems and thinking its way through novel sets of circumstances.
Biggar, Nigel. Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.
Biggar, Nigel. In Defence of War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672615.001.0001
Biggar, Nigel. ‘Christian “Just War” Reasoning and Two Cases of Rebellion: Ireland, 1916-21, and Syria, 2011-present’, Ethics and International Affairs, 27:4 (2013), pp. 393-400. doi: 10.1017/S089267941300035X
Biggar, Nigel and Linda Hogan (Eds). Religious Voices in Public Places. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566624.001.0001
Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons. London: Heinemann, 1960.
Clark, Christopher. Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. London: Penguin, 2013.
Evans, Gareth. The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and for All. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 2008.
Koskenniemi, Martti. ‘”The Lady Doth Protest Too Much”: Kosovo and the Turn to Ethics in International Law’, The Modern Law Review, 65:2 (2002), pp. 159-175. doi: 10.1111/1468-2230.00373
Lesch, David W. Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad. New Haven, CT: Yale, 2013.
Rodin, David. War and Self-Defense. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001. ‘Special Air Service (Sas) - Operation Barras - Sierra Leone’
http://www.eliteukforces.info/special-air-service/sas-operations/operationbarras/ (accessed 2009-11-24).
Stevenson, David. 1914-1918: The History of the First World War. London: Penguin, 2004.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War, Vol. 1: To Arms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
‘Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations’ (2013), online at www.bbc.co.uk/news/worldmiddle-east-22557347 (accessed 2015-04-13).
Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations. London: Allen Lane, 1977.
Wellum, Geoffrey. First Light. London: Viking, 2002.
Whiteman, Matthew (director), ‘First Light’ (movie). London: B.B.C., 2010.
Yves R. Simon, The Ethiopian Campaign and French Political Thought, edited Anthony O. Simon (translated by Robert Royal). Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 2009.
Copyright (c) 2015 Biggar
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.