Wars have been around for at least as long as people have been civilised. They have always been both glorious and dreadful, but never avoidable. Over time, people have thought about what makes a war just or unjust.
In the last 150 years the thoughts have been turned into a doctrine. There has been a serious global effort to use the “just war doctrine” to prevent wars, limit the damage when they occur, and build a durable peace afterwards. The goal was to prevent all military conflicts, but the results have been mixed.
During this one-day course we will look at some big questions. Where did this doctrine come from? What is in it? Are the criteria for just war truly just? Do the rules of justice in combat reduce carnage? In practice what wars qualify as just? Has this actually approach helped avoid military conflict, or make wars less awful? Is pacifism better than just war?