Publication Date 1 Feb 2018
OverviewJust war thinking and realism are commonly presumed to be in opposition. If realists are seen as war-mongering pragmatists, just war thinkers are seen as naïve at best and pacifistic at worst. Just war thought is imagined as speaking truth to power - forcing realist decision-makers to abide by moral limits governing the ends and means of the use of force. Realist Ethics argues that this oversimplification is not only wrong, but dangerous. Casting just war thought to be the alternative to realism makes just war thinking out to be what it is not - and cannot be: a mechanism for avoiding war. A careful examination of the evolution of just war thinking in the Christian, Islamic, and Hindu traditions shows that it is no stranger to pragmatic politics. From its origins, just war thought has not aimed to curtail violence, but rather to shape the morally imaginable uses of force, deeming some of them necessary and even obligatory. Morkevičius proposes here a radical recasting of the relationship between just war thinking and realism.