The challenge of the just war theory in the post-modern era is compounded by technologic
advances in warfare and the friction among state actors in a decentralized state system. The inquiry of this investigation on just war is the extent of its validity in an era that extols the sciences and human reason on the one hand and economic necessity on the other as the standard by which state actors regulate their political objectives. The thesis Just war; unjust consequences examines the longevity of the just war tradition, its moral necessity throughout history and its indispensable application in the nuclear age.
Chapter 2 examines the moral foundations of the ‘two kingdoms’, which formulates the background of the just war theory, from the biblical account of the great controversy between good and evil to the formation of modern church/state relations. Within the ancient and contemporary setting, ecclesiastical and theological traditions have provided a public platform to establish moral parameters in regards to state actor intent and post-modern application, such as the U.S.-Iraq war. Chapter 3 investigates Augustine’s enduring contribution to the moral and historical formation and longevity of the just war
theory. From its earliest development to its modern antecedent the just war theory has been an integral aspect of the philosophical and theological analysis distinguishing ‘why’ and ‘how’ wars are fought and the import of moral parameters to manage international conflict. Chapter 4 examines Reinhold Niebuhr’s contribution to the realist tradition and U.S. foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries. This section examines the impact of the modern state actor’s intent for war. The primary issue is that the classical formulation that identifies human nature as the catalyst of social disorder and war is superseded by the
scientific method, which adheres to the viewpoint that war is complicated by numerous economic and political factors. Hans Morgenthau’s realist tradition of international relations theory, which advocates that humankind is the centric disruptive force by its abuse of power at all levels of human interaction especially among nations was eventually eclipsed by Kenneth Waltz’s neorealist school of thought, which shifted the culpability of war from the egocentricities of human nature to the disproportions of economic
and military power among competing state actors in a decentralized state system. This shift in international relations theory within the framework of weapons of mass destruction contested the validity of the just war tradition in the nuclear age. Chapter 5 reasserts the Christian realist tradition’s viewpoint that the perpetrator for war is the individual actor within collective competitive self-interest, epitomized by the state actor. The classical model is reinstated as a plausible cause for war. It is within this framework that a contemporary adaptation of the just war moral theory is provided to contest the
contemporary complexities of warfare in the 21st century. Chapter 6 investigates the practical challenges of modern warfare. The background of Operation Iraqi Freedom reveals the complications of state actor competition in international politics, and the necessity of moral parameters to thwart unwarranted state actor aggression. Finally, Chapter 7 reiterates, the prolonged necessity of the just war tradition in both the
ancient and modern eras and, the import of moral parameters to thwart unwarranted state actor aggression and provides a reformulation of the just war moral theory to challenge the viewpoint that deems the utility of weapons of mass destruction as viable national security alternative and its tactical application in warfare.