The Just War Theory

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The Just War Theory The analysis of war from justice or injustice has been one of the most outstanding in the history of “moral reality” of war. The just war theory is part of a tendency that attempts to justify war. This tendency is the relative warmongering theory. According to this theory the reasons that may lead a state to declare war are self-defense issues, redress a tort, claim a natural or positive right or prevent an attack. At first glance it seems unreasonable to distinguish between just and unjust wars because we may think that all war is unjust in itself. However, there are many thinkers such as Kant, Hegel, Walzer, Heller, Pufendorf, Kelsen, among others, who have tried to legitimize or delegitimize certain armed conflicts. Some thinkers tried to defend the justice of war by believing that when legitimate defense is at stake armed conflict can be considered as fair. Others condemned war as unjust when the only purpose behind it was to conquer or attack the enemy. For both cases, there is a right that we have to take into account, the right of all individuals to preserve their own life. In this sense, if we extrapolate the essential right of preservation of life we can say that any State may use all means it has to preserve its existence. This is how we can justify war. Now that we have justified war, we have to think about the positive aspects of war. To do so, we have to recall the classical analysis of war made in the 19th century. Following this analysis, I think that we can legitimize any armed conflict whatever its nature is. This is possible if we consider these three main classical interpretations of war, namely: war as a lesser evil, war as a necessary evil and war as a positive value. Regarding the consideration of war as the lesser evil we must think that war is an evil that leads to a good, which in this case is peace.
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