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Synopsis

Can war ever be just? By what right do we charge people with war crimes? Can war itself be a crime? What is a good peace treaty?

Since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, many wars have erupted, inflaming such areas as the Persian Gulf, Central Africa and Central Europe. Brutalities committed during these conflicts have sparked new interest in the ethics of war and peace.

Brian Orend explores the ethics of war and peace from a Kantian perspective, emphasizing human rights protection, the rule of international law and a fully global concept of justice. Contending that Kant’s just war doctrine has not been given its due, Orend displays Kant’s theory to its fullest, impressive effect. He then completely and clearly updates Kant’s perspective for application to our time.

Along the way, he criticizes pacifism and realism, explores the nature of human rights protection during wartime, and defends a theory of just war. He also looks ahead to future developments in global institutional reform using cases from the Persian Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda to illustrate his argument.

Controversial and timely, perhaps the most important contribution War and International Justice: A Kantian Perspective makes is with regard to the question of justice after war. Orend offers a principled theory of war termination, making an urgent plea to reform current international law.

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