Free The Just War Doctrine Essay Sample

1. Using at least three examples, please analyze the limitations of the Just War Doctrine on US defense policy.

            The Just War Doctrine is traditionally concerned with issues about moral justification for going into warfare (jus ad bellum), issues concerning ethical behavior during the time of war (jus in bello), and issues concerning the morals of post-war agreements (jus post bellum). Generally speaking, the Just Doctrine War posits that a country can enter into warfare only as a reaction to the thrust or motive of ‘just grounds,’ with the use of force being the ‘last resort,’ after every possible non-combative option has been exhausted. Moreover, the doctrine posits that a county’s resolution to enter into a war must be justified by ‘good intentions,’ and aim at producing a ‘good result.’ In addition, it posits that a nation must only use violence or tactics that are ‘proportional’ to the desired outcome even as it practices ‘discrimination’ between fighters and non-fighters. The doctrine demands that a just war can only be waged with a realistic likelihood of victory. Finally, it requires that a ‘legitimate authority’ should make the decision concerning the time, reason, and the way to fight a war, and the announcement of war.

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            A recent surge in the involvement of US troops, in anti-terrorism wars, raises a few questions about the limitations of the Just War Doctrine on the US defense policy. The limits of the doctrine of just war make it a must for the US defense policy architects to be aware that the particular circumstances under which anticipatory warfare is justifiable are intrinsically harder to meet in the instance of nation-state enemy as compared to the case of a non-state enemy. For instance, aggression must materialize before any defense policies of self-defense become justifiable. For example, the US could not wage a war against al-Qaeda and its sympathizers before the terrorist organization launched an attack on the US in the US soil. The issue of whether a nation can wage a battle against a non-state enemy such as Al-Qaeda that is not a ‘legitimate authority’ must be addressed. The concern here is that war is an unsuitable reaction to unlawful deeds, which can be tackled by law enforcement resources. Probably constrained by this limitation, the USA added nations that house and support the terrorists; for instance, by attacking Afghanistan where they ousted the Taliban administration, killed Osama bin Laden and destroyed al-Qaeda. The policy makers run the risk of confusing the just reason that it has to conduct anti-terrorism wars internationally with a blank check to foresee, as well as stop the potential possibilities that the USA lacks the right to predict militarily presently. For example, the US cannot take any military action justly against Iran despite its developing nuclear arms program because none of the limitations set by the Just War Doctrine is satisfied.

2. Choose one of the domestic policy actors and discuss the actor’s role in 21st Century US defense policy. Please use at least three examples in your response.

            Domestic policy is a general expression denoting a huge, unwieldy cluster of government policy areas made up of concerns that range from poverty, to ecological conservation, to law enforcement, to defense. In recent times, the area has seen high-status policy changes in defense. Debates in the 21st century over the USA defense policies have often been contentious, and the majority of the President's cabinet members (no less than 13 out of 15) play a part in their formulation and execution. Unsurprisingly, Presidents have sought after central systems to harmonize the expansion of policy in this field, and to administer its execution.

            The USA President has traditionally (not just in the 21st century) taken the front line in the formulation and execution of defense policy. This position is founded on the constitutional responsibility as Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The USA Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare a war even though this power has had little significance in the 21st century. Despite the fact that the USA has gone into several full-blown wars (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf and the Middle East), the nation last formally declared war in December 8, 1941 after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. In the 21st century, the head of state has been ordering covert or clandestine operations to circumvent full-blown armed forces involvement. If the alternative is unsuccessful, the head of state, at times with the approval of Congress, can attempt intimidation, or strategies that compel nations to ‘behave.’ For instance, the use economic embargos, cutting off diplomatic ties, as well as limiting tourism along with trade travel involving nations can be used as intimidation measures. For example, the presidents of the USA have used all these approaches against Cuba from 1959 when Communist president Fidel Castro took power. The President at times have also avoided congressional participation in policy-making by sanctioning restricted military "involvements" while avoiding an official war declaration.


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