When is it right to go to war? The most persuasive answer to this question has always been 'in self-defense'. In a penetrating new analysis, bringing together moral philosophy, political science, and law, David Rodin argues that this answer is not all it seems. The simple analogy between self-defense and national-defense between the individual and the state—needs to be fundamentally rethought.
This book proposes a comprehensive new view of the right of self-defense which resolves many of the perplexing questions that have dogged both jurists and moral philosophers. By applying this theory to international relations, Rodin produces a far-reaching critique of the canonical Just War Theory.
Wars of national-defense cannot be justified reductively as 'collective self-defense'. Nor can they be explained in terms of a state-held right analogous to the right of personal self-defense. A line of argument that has dominated moral and legal thinking about war for over 1,500 years is shown to be bankrupt. This conclusion points the way to what must surely be one of the most significant challenges of the twenty-first century; the development of a new framework for the regulation of international violence, one which appropriately balances the rights and obligations of states, communities, and individuals.