Peace without perfection: The intersections of realist and pacifist thought (2017)
AuthorsMoses JMshow all
In an attempt to destabilise and reconfigure this conventional spectrum of views on the morality of war, this paper will propose that the realist view ‘that it is wrong or impossible to think morally about war’ potentially has much in common with a pacifist position, ‘which accepts no war as morally permissible’ (Yoder, 1996: 1). The broader purpose of making such an argument is to advance the development of what Dustin Howes (2009) refers to as a ‘credible pacifism’ and what I will here call a ‘pacifist ethos’.1 For if it is the moral universalism or absolutism of pacifism that renders it un-credible from a political point of view, then perhaps we can draw upon the more politically-focused ethics of realism in developing new ways of thinking about and promoting a consistently anti-war position without drifting toward the conventional via media of just war theory. If such an argument can be established with any credibility, it might then serve to dislodge just war theory from its comfortable middle ground between realism and pacifism, in turn making it more difficult to advance moral rationales for war that may at times serve to enable rather than limit the possibilities for states to justify their wars.
CitationMoses JM (2017). Peace without perfection: The intersections of realist and pacifist thought. Cooperation and Conflict. 53(1).
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