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Are there ‘just wars’?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Just War Theory, a secular idea aiming at morally legitimizing wars.
    1. The classical definition of a Just War.
    2. The evolutions of the Just War Theory from Antiquity to the 17th century.
  3. A redefinition of the theory considering the 'enjeux politiques' of the current world.
    1. The 20th century gives new dimensions to the 'Just War'.
    2. Were they 'Just Wars'.
  4. Conclusion.
  5. Bibliography.

The notion of 'just war' can be considered as a moral philosophy of the War debating the legitimacy of wars and the way wars are made. The existence of just wars thus supposes that violence can be ethical. However, it has to be underlined that even for the just wars theoreticians, war is never good per se, it remains something bad, with painful consequences, and it can only be justified as a means to remedy another bad situation. Questioning the existence of just wars is particularly relevant today insofar as this theory has become ?fashionable?, especially since the attacks of 9-11. The whole war on terrorism that has followed these attacks is indeed always defined as a just war. That will have to be discussed. To analyze this theory, it is first essential to understand precisely its classical and historical definition and then, to take a look at the recent evolutions of the doctrine and to wonder in what sense it can correspond to recent wars.

[...] o Just cause implies that there must be a just cause to wage a war. This principle is often considered the most important condition of a just war. o Right authority, which suggests that a war is just only if it is waged by a legitimate authority. o Right intention, which suggests that the aim of war must not be to pursue national interests, but rather to re-establish a just peace. o Reasonable hope, according to which there must be good grounds for believing that the desired outcome can be achieved. [...]


[...] A redefinition of the theory considering the ?enjeux politiques? of the current world The 20th century gives new dimensions to the ?Just Three main points are particularly noticeable A new factor: how the war is declared Firstly, the way the war is declared is now part of the criteria used to describe a war as just. That is the reason why, today, a war is often considered as just if it has the approval of the United Nations Security Council. [...]

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