Res Publica 14 (4):303-311 (2008)

Authors
Jacob Blair
California State University, Hayward
Abstract
Many just war theorists (call them traditionalists) claim that just as people have a right to personal self-defense, so nations have a right to national-defense against an aggressive military invasion. David Rodin claims that the traditionalist is unable to justify most defensive wars against aggression. For most aggressive states only commit conditional aggression in that they threaten to kill or maim the citizens of the nation they are invading only if those citizens resist the occupation. Most wars, then, claimed to be justified by the traditionalist fail to meet the proportionality criterion. Thus, a just war, for Rodin, is best conceived of as a punitive war of law enforcement, not as a war of national-defense. I argue that Rodin does not have a case against the traditionalist. If national-defense is a disproportionate response to conditional aggression, then punitive war is a disproportionate response as well. Furthermore, the belief that punitive war is a proportionate response to conditional aggression underscores the traditionalist’s view that self-determination, cultural identity and the like are of sufficient value to defend by means of lethal force. I end the paper by very briefly sketching an account, different from that of Rodin’s, of how individual nations can be justified in waging wars of law enforcement.
Keywords Conditional aggression  Law enforcement  National-defense  Proportionality  Punishment  Self-defense
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-008-9075-x
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References found in this work BETA

War and Self Defense.David Rodin - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
War and Self-Defense.David Rodin - 2004 - Ethics and International Affairs 18 (1):63–68.
War and Self Defense.David Rodin - 2002 - Oxford University Press UK.
War as Self-Defense.Jeff McMahan - 2004 - Ethics and International Affairs 18 (1):75-80.
On the Moral Equality of Combatants.Jeff McMahan - 2006 - Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (4):377–393.

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Citations of this work BETA

Blair on Rodin: Rejoinder.Per Albert Ilsaas - 2008 - Res Publica 14 (4):313-316.

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