As Michael Walzer frequently states, "war is hell"; however, that has not stopped people from engaging in it for thousands of years. There are a variety of reasons nations have entered war, among them are: territorial expansion, the spread of democracy, self-defense, and humanitarian crises to name a few. According to Walzer, however, some of these reasons are more justified than others, and some of them are not justifiable at all. While some people may view war as an aberration of human behavior and decency, Walzer believes that some wars are not only justified, but also necessary, such as the Allied response in World War Two. For an institution as chaotic and violent as war, Walzer seeks to create parameters and conventions. Thus, in his book, Just and Unjust Wars, Walzer attempts to establish, among other things, what exactly a "just war" is, what the rules of war are, and who they apply to, and when intervention is a morally legitimate response.
[...] Thus, Mill does not believe that intervention and liberty can coincide: if a community is handed its liberty by an outside force, it is not truly free (p. 88). While Mill's view has been criticized as a “Darwinian” position, Walzer supports the non-intervention principle. One reason for this support is that if a country cannot free itself, it may need considerable assistance after a revolution has taken place. Therefore, the community would not be free to determine its political institutions and practices: it would need the help of an outsider to establish democratic traditions. [...]
[...] In quoting Winston Churchill, Walzer makes his point perfectly clear: demand for unconditional surrender does not mean that are entitled to behave in a barbarous manner, nor that wish to blot out Germany from among the nations of Europe if we are bound, we are bound by our own consciences to civilization” (Walzer, p. 112). Thus, Walzer emphasizes that even in cases in which a nation is fighting great evil; the rights of civilians and the rules of war must still be respected. [...]
[...] We should not be allowed to prioritize American or European soldiers' lives over the lives of millions of African refugees: this trend represents a serious “moral squeamishness” on the part of the “great nations” so keen to police the world for their own ends . Therefore, I believe that in the mitigation of the aforementioned types of suffering or in the liberation of repressed people's living in fear of genocide, it is not just a right of able nations to intervene, it is a duty. If we have no other obligation to our fellow human beings, we should be required, as Kant suggests, to further their projects and to promote their well-being at least [...]
[...] Thus, Walzer asserts that the Allied intervention during World War Two to stop Hitler's genocidal regime was absolutely justified because the Nazis represented a serious threat to democracy, not just in Germany, but also in several other countries. However, Walzer does take issue with the idea of unconditional surrender during WWII. He does not believe that there is such a thing as unconditional surrender, or that it is possible to make the world “safe for democracy” (Walzer, p.111-112). Although, he does acknowledge that the actions and sacrifices of the soldiers, and the “eradication of evil” were necessary in this case. [...]
APA Style referenceFor your bibliography
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee