Justice between Wars

Ethics and International Affairs 35 (3):435-442 (2021)


One way to tell the story of contemporary ethics of war is as a gradual expansion of the period of time to which theorists attend in relation to war, from ad bellum and in bello to post bellum and ex bello. Ned Dobos, in his new book, Ethics, Security, and the War-Machine, invites us to expand this attention further to the period between wars, which he calls jus ante bellum. In this essay, I explore two significant implications of this shift in normative focus. First, I argue that it opens up an important and productive field of the ethics of military policy-making outside of conflict, including procurement, training, force posture, and military diplomacy. Second, I argue that attending to the relationship between ante bellum and ad bellum considerations contains the seeds of a powerful pacifist argument.

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David Rodin
Oxford University

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