An Examination of Just War Theory

This paper argues that just war theory, and the international law which is based upon it, are inherently flawed and lead powerful states justifying violent actions.

In this paper, it is argued that throughout history and in present day, the criteria of just war theory, and the international law which is based upon, have been applied only subjectively toward the fulfillment of national and self-interest, and that the plurality of human culture and the nature of war itself make it impossible to ever apply the criteria of just war theory in an objective manner. Because just war theory can never succeed in its goals of objectively determining when a state can justly go to war or how a war can be morally waged, it serves only as justification for the actions taken by states powerful enough to fulfill their national interest through violent conflict.

From the paper:

“?This semester, I had the opportunity to participate in a seminar on the foreign policy of the Clinton administration taught by Leon Fuerth, the national security advisor to former Vice-President Al Gore.

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As a member of the national security council, Fuerth provided an inside look at how American foreign policy was formulated over the last eight years. During one session, Fuerth discussed the process of deciding what objects to target during the Kosovo air campaign. He related that ?the lawyers? advised the administration that it could not legally bomb the power grids of Serbian cities because it may lead to civilian injury. However, Fuerth recalled, they found no legal quandary with deploying a massive invasion force in Serbian territory or the civilian casualties that could result from such an invasion. Fuerth asked the class, almost rhetorically, which option was more moral?”

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An Examination of Just War Theory. (2015, Apr 23). Retrieved December 13, 2019, from
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