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The just war tradition

State sovereignty is fragmenting but world government is still far off. Neither the UN charter, designed to protect member states from aggression, nor the new US doctrine of preventative war can address the challenges of a globalising world. The "just war" tradition provides a sounder moral base

By Robert Skidelsky   December 2004

In recent years there has been a revival of war as a policy of choice. Since the collapse of communism, the US and its allies have attacked Iraq (twice), Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. With “hot war” released from its cold war constraints, it is important to consider the conditions under which resort to war is justifiable, and what methods of fighting wars are right. This is the domain of “just war” theory. There is also the related issue of how just war doctrine may be fruitfully applied by the UN, the main custodian of international law.

The return of war as…

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