Jus post bellum and Christian perspectives on the ethical use of force : reframing the traditional debate.




Stirm, Jeremy S.

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This dissertation examines the potential effect of the jus post bellum (post-war justice and peace) debate on the larger just war framework in order to argue that this category has the potential to reframe the traditional debate between various Christian responses to the ethical use of force. In addition to the traditional debates between Christian realism, pacifism, and the just war tradition, there has arisen in recent decades a debate within just war circles regarding the presumption against war thesis. While the debates between these various responses to the ethical use of force have produced some beneficial effects, the contemporary debates have become increasingly partisan and stymied in a state of gridlock. I utilize the developing jus post bellum discussions as a lens through which to view anew the traditional debates and move beyond the impasse. The emphasis on the relationship of the phases of war (in bello, ad bellum, and now post bellum) that emerged from jus post bellum discussions challenges recent trends in the use of just war reasoning by both presumption against war advocates and classic just war supporters. What is more, jus post bellum discussions have given us a new way to speak meaningfully about the ethically complex notion of humanitarian intervention in the form of The Responsibility to Protect (R2P). The three pillars of R2P, the responsibility to prevent, react, and rebuild, correspond to the traditional just war categories of in bello, ad bellum, and post bellum respectively, and once again emphasize the importance of the relationship of the phases of war and a holistic just war approach. While disagreement concerning the ethical use of force persists at the ad bellum level between the just war tradition, Christian realism, and pacifism, this reality does not rule out post bellum cooperation. This project concludes with a practical application of a robust jus post bellum strategy, arguing that care for the moral injury of returning warriors provides one area of common cause for collaboration between Christian realists, pacifists, and just war supporters.



Just war., Jus post bellum., Moral injury., Responsibility to protect., Humanitarian intervention.