Just war, legitimate authority and non-State actors
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In the classical just war tradition, legitimate authority is central to the just use of force. This tradition is consistent with the argument, as posited by Augustine and Aquinas, that legitimate authority is the guiding principle through which all standards of justice flow. With its exclusive right to employ force, legitimate authority is classically viewed in a positivist light: the securing of peace and the uplifting of good. Although conceived before the advent of the modern state system, the just war tradition has historically been used to attribute justice to the action of states. The statist paradigm of international relations is, however,being challenged by non-state actors engaging in the use of force with more frequency than that of states. Recent just war scholarship has attempted a reconciliation of the authority principle framed by Walzer's political community. These applications have, unfortunately, diluted the efficacy of one of just war's most important principles. Through an empirical examination using the standards of authority espoused by Augustine, Aquinas and others, this paper will attempt to build a framework for further debate in an effort to update the just war tradition to meet changes in international relations.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- The just war tradition: contemporary (mis)understandings -- The just war tradition: classical understandings -- NSAS in the twenty-first century -- Nato and legitimate authority -- Conclusion