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Cosmopolitanism and War


Apparently, 43 per cent of conflicts resume within five years of their ending. Call me a pessimist, but the fact that over half either do not resume at all, or resume only after five years, is not a cause for rejoicing, in the light of the enormous suffering which they occasion.1 Yet, the fact that making and sustaining peace tout court is so hard does not obviate the need for trying to work out what it takes to make a just peace. Such is my aim in this book. More precisely, I build on my book on war, Cosmopolitan War (henceforth, CW), to offer a cosmopolitan account of war endings and of justice after war (jus ex bello and jus post bellum respectively.2)

War endings and war’s aftermath are the poor relative of contemporary just war theory. I say ‘contemporary’ because both the natural law tradition as articulated by, inter alia, Vitoria and Grotius, and positivist international law scholars of the eighteenth century such as Vattel and Wolff, place great emphasis on what belligerents may do to one another once the war is over. Kant himself, of course, writing a century after Grotius and at the same time as Vattel, put the jus post bellum firmly on the table with his sketch of a Perpetual Peace. That said, until the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition, and notwithstanding Walzer’s remarks on jus post bellum in his seminal Just and Unjust Wars, war ethicists have devoted far more energy discussing the grounds upon which resorting to war is just (jus ad bellum), and the ways in which war is fought (jus in bello) than they have given to the normative issues which arise once the guns have fallen silent.

Since 2003, however, there has been a steady trickle of works on both jus ex bello and jus post bellum—though by no means as many as one might have expected. To be sure, there also has been an enormous literature on transitional justice, to which I will refer in due course. Transitional justice, however, is not the same as the justice of suing for peace or the aftermath of war. The norms by which central European countries transitioned into post-Communist rule are not norms of jus post bellum, for those countries were not at war internally or externally with the Soviet Union. Conversely, the 1815 Treaty of Vienna is not an apt candidate for treatment at the bar of transitional justice, for the treaty essentially carved up [1] [2]

Europe after the Napoleonic Wars, with no consideration of reconstruction, reparations, punishment of this or that agent as a war criminal, and so on.[3]

My concern, in other words, is with just—or rather, as we shall see, all-things- considered justified—transition from war to peace, and peace after war. Although disagreements abound as to when and how belligerents must end hostilities and what constitutes a just post-war state of affairs, there is some degree of consensus in contemporary war ethics on the following points: belligerents must sue for peace not merely once they have achieved their just war aims, but sometimes even though they have not won the war; demands for unconditional surrender are morally impermissible; victorious belligerents must aim to restore the political sovereignty and territorial integrity of their defeated enemy; some form of compensation for wartime wrongdoings should be paid to victims; assistance should be given to the defeated enemy and its civilian population towards the reconstruction of their country; wrongdoers should be put on trial; and, crucially, a stable and durable peace should as far as possible be the overarching aim of erstwhile belligerents when dealing with one another.[4]

I shall discuss and defend variants of those principles throughout the book. In this introductory chapter, I sketch out a normative framework for my cosmopolitan account of post-war justice. I first offer a brief statement of what I mean by ‘cosmopolitan justice’ (s.1.2), followed by a somewhat longer summary of my cosmopolitan account of the just war (s.1.3). With those normative foundations in place, I outline the central tenets of the jus post bellum in the history of just war theory (s.1.4), and explain how thinking about transitional justice and justice after war fits within just war theory in general (s.1.5). I conclude with an overview of the chapters (s.1.6).

  • [1] D. Philpott, Just and Unjust Peace: An Ethic of Political Reconciliation (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 2012), 1.
  • [2] C. Fabre, Cosmopolitan War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). The term ‘jus ex bello’ wascoined by Darrell Moellendorf. See D. Moellendorf, ‘Jus ex Bello’, Journal of Political Philosophy 16(2008): 123-36.
  • [3] For a thoughtful discussion of the relationship between transitional justice and jus post bellum, seeJ. Iverson, ‘Contrasting the Normative and Historical Foundations of Transitional Justice and Jus PostBellum , in J. S. Easterday, J. Iverson and C. Stahn (ed.), Jus Post Bellum (Oxford: Oxford UniversityPress, 2014). For an illuminating treatment of the way in which the law can be used to secure individuals’ rights and obligations in transitional contexts, see R. Teitel, Transitional Justice (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2000).
  • [4] G. J. Bass, ‘Jus Post Bellum’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 32 (2004): 384^12; M. Evans, ‘MoralResponsibilities and the Conflicting Demands of Jus Post Bellum’, Ethics & International Affairs 23(2009): 147—64; M. Evans, ‘Balancing Peace, Justice and Sovereignty in Jus Post Bellum: The Case of“Just Occupation”’, Millenium—-Journalof International Studies 36 (2008): 533—54; L. May, After WarEnds—A Philosophical Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012); B. Orend, TheMorality of War (Peterborough, On.: Broadview Press, 2006); B. Orend, ‘Justice after War’, Ethics &International Affairs 16 (2002): 43—56; B. Orend, ‘Jus Post Bellum’, Journal of Social Philosophy 31(2000): 117—37; R. E. Williams and D. Caldwell, Jus Post Bellum: Just War Theory and the Principlesof Just Peace’, International Studies Perspectives 7 (2006): 309—20.
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