Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just War Theory and Obama's Christian Realism

David Brooks and others have been studying Obama's fascinating Nobel Peace Prize speech last week. It's a rousing defence of Just War Theory and the complexity of war and politics: "that war is sometimes necessary, and that war, at some level, is an expression of human folly." What can bring peace is not a change in human nature, but a "gradual evolution in human institutions" (paraphrasing JFK).

It's an amazing and thoughtful speech. Right up there with his speech on race during the campaign. It's nuanced and reflective and represents the heritage of Christian Just War Theory. Good stuff.



Geoff said...

But classical Augustinian just war theory is not applicable in the context of total warfare such as is the case today. War is no longer a matter between opposing armies safely removed from the local populace, but almost invariably causes civilian deaths, which just war theory doesn't insure you against, as it were.

Tay Moss said...

Good point--though I think Just War Theory is all about minimizing harms, anyway, so I'm not sure that the addition of more harms from war (civilian casualties) is necessarily difficult for the theory to accommodate.