Conway Waddington
University of Johannesburg
This paper suggests that certain characteristics of resourcerelated conflict reveal areas of contemporary Just War Theory that are insufficiently rigorous or robust in their current form. Water security in particular, reveals ambiguity in the Just War framework’s treatment of the jus ad bellum criteria of ‘just cause,’ which in turn challenges the credibility of the entire system. The insufficiency that is exposed has consequences for the effectiveness and cogency of the bodies of international law and global community, which are fundamentally based, and function according to, this predominantly Western moral framework. Key problem areas relating to flexible notions of ‘aggression,’ coincide with a persistent dilemma of simultaneously advocating responsibility to a global community while maintaining sovereign rights and security. Focusing on the ‘just cause’ criteria, justification for acts of war over certain resources is evaluated. Worryingly, the same powerful strategic reasons that might motivate a state to engage in what would otherwise be labelled a ‘realist’ war over certain resources, appear to gain moral merit through interpretation of the jus ad bellum in the specific case of water security, while argument against military action appears increasingly absolutist and impractical. The aim here then is to show the vulnerability of a dangerous prescriptive void in the Just War framework itself. Central to this is the question of the moral weight and significance, if any, of vital resources, as defined by strategic and humanitarian necessity
Keywords Applied Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI 10.5840/ijap201226215
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