Christianity, the West and just war in the twenty-first century

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The past two decades have witnessed a number of military interventions by US, UK and other allied forces in theatres as diverse as Kuwait, the Balkan region of Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan. At different times over this period President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair have made recourse to the vocabulary of just war in a bid to convince their respective peoples to support the deployment of military hardware and personnel in pursuit of political ends. Just war is characterised by a number of criteria that have been codified and embedded in Western war discourse over many centuries and are understood and spoken of beyond the abodes of the powerful and the planning rooms of the armed forces: just cause, right intention, last resort, legitimate authority, proportionality, discrimination of combatants and so on. This article explores early Christian influences on the just war tradition before discussing how the ongoing relevance of secularised versions of these ancient ideas is influencing why and how war is fought in the twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-84
Number of pages20
JournalAir and Space Power Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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