Principles of a Just War
Warfare has often been used by different countries in order to enable them to advance and defend their national interests. Wars that have been waged in the past have often elicited mixed reactions. For instance, some have been considered unjust, whereas others are justified based on a number of principles. A country can declare war on another because of varied reasons. However, a war is considered a just course based on the following principles.
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First, a war is just if it is waged for the purpose of self-defense (Buell, 2014). A country can resort to warfare in order to defend itself from aggression. Additionally, a country can declare war in order to protect a weaker state from aggression in accordance with existing treaty obligations. However, this does not necessarily permit a country to wage a preventive war. Second, a war should be waged as a last resort. Thus, “countries ought to explore various peaceful means of resolving disputes before resorting to warfare” (Buell, 2014).
Third, war is considered just if a legitimate authority undertakes it. For example, a legitimate authority includes a sovereign state, an international agency like the United Nations, and an alliance formed by various nations for purposes of self-defense. Fourth, a just war should employ the principle of discrimination (Buell, 2014). According to the principle of discrimination, “the weapons used in war must discriminate between civilians and the combatants” (BBC, 2014). Finally, the most crucial goal of just war should be to restore peace and security.
From the preceding discussion, one can assess whether America’s involvement in Vietnam was a just course. The United States of America mainly undertook military action against Vietnam in order to curb the spread of communism (Roskin & Berry, 2010).
However, America’s action was unjust because it had not suffered any form of direct aggression from the Vietnamese. It had only faced an ideological threat. Moreover, the United States of America would have explored other peaceful means of curtailing communism before engaging in military action. For instance, it would have formulated anti-communist policies in order to contain its spread in third world countries (Roskin & Berry, 2010). Furthermore, the war worsened the living conditions of the civilians. For instance, the war led to massive loss of lives and destruction of properties.
How the World would be Different Today if the United States of America had not become involved in Vietnam
The United States of America would have saved the lives of many American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians by not getting involved in the Vietnam War. Additionally, America would be highly regarded for morality, which has been its major principle in international relations. However, the involvement of America in the war has made other countries around the world to question its principle of morality.
According to the post, the author has clearly shown that America’s military action against Vietnam was unjust. For instance, he has argued that America lacked an immediate threat to self-preservation. Additionally, the author has stated that America had not explored all measures of diplomacy. This is true because America had only faced an ideological threat from the advocates of communism in Vietnam. Moreover, America would have exhausted other diplomatic actions. For example, it would have formulated anti-communist policies to control its spread to other developing countries. The author has also stated that the cold war was inventible despite America’s military action against Vietnam. This has been attributed to the rise of two major ideologies after the Second World War.
Preemptive versus Preventive War
A preemptive war can be waged when a country perceives an imminent attack from its enemy. The aim of preemptive war is to enable a country to gain an advantage over its enemy. For example, America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 was considered a preemptive war. The invasion was justified because Iraq acted as a host to terrorist groups that were a threat to Western countries. Additionally, Iraq was suspected to be developing weapons of mass destruction, which posed a grave danger to the United States of America.
On the other hand, a preventive war aims at curbing an imagined future war. It can be launched without an immediate threat from an adversary. In most instances, the attacking nation often launches a war in order to prevent its potential adversary form being more powerful. Thus, the attacking nation can use a preventive attack to maintain a balance of power in the international system. The World Wars mainly erupted because of preventive attacks. For example, during the Second World War, the Axis and Allied powers invaded nonaligned states in order to prevent attacks from their potential adversaries. Moreover, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has been perceived as a preventive attack. The Japanese aim was to curtail America’s naval power in order to enable them to advance with ease in the Pacific.
Israel’s Preemptive Approach
Israel is one of the nations that have used the preemptive approach against its adversaries. One of the major preemptive wars waged by Israel was the Arab-Israeli War in 1967. Israel decided to attack Egypt and Syria when it discovered that the two countries were planning to invade it. The preemptive invasion enabled Israel to overpower Egypt successfully. Additionally, Israel waged another preemptive Arab-Israeli war in 1973 against Egypt and Syria.
BBC. (2014). Just War-Introduction. Web.
Buell, J. (2014). Just War Theory and the Wars of the 20th Century. Web.
Roskin, M. G., & Berry, N. O. (2010). The New World of International Relations. SanFrancisco: Longman. Web.