Any moral philosophy must take cognizance of the fact that it is promulgated in a political world, and of the possibilities and limitations that this implies. To its great credit, the Just War Theory has always recognized this fact. It is an attempt—an heroic attempt—to combine moral principles with a pragmatic sense of political realism; to forge a middle path between an introverted moral withdrawal from the political realm, and a Realist abandonment of all moral restraint. It insists, as Grotius says, that: 'Men may not believe either that nothing is allowed, or that everything is allowed'. 1
It is largely due to this daring conception that the Just War Theory owes its enduring power. It is indeed one of the few basic fixtures of medieval philosophy to remain substantially unchallenged in the modern world. It has seemed to many theorists and practitioners that the system of concepts developed by the Just War Theory provides the best, and perhaps the only, hope for the effective moral regulation of war. Yet I want to suggest in this final chapter that the Just War Theory has largely betrayed this promise. It has failed to provide a robust set of principles for effective operation in the political realm. Yet the collapse of the national-defense paradigm leaves us with a difficult question. If there is no valid justification for wars of national-defense, what personal moral response should we make in the face of international aggression?
The moral conception of self-defense depends, as I argued in Part I , on a very intimate set of normative relationships between the parties involved, and in particular on a moral contrast between the culpability of the aggressor and innocence of the defender. Within international relations, however, this contrast between aggressor and defender becomes subverted in a number of crucial ways. The first way in which this happens stems from the historicity of international conflicts. Disputed territories and rights almost always come with a history which in many cases casts doubt on the picture of an innocent