Realist Criticism of Just Peacemaking Theory

Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 23 (1):255-267 (2003)
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Many of the ten practices to abolish war of just peacemaking theory can be appropriated by classical realist thinkers to illumine possibilities of more peace for the post-cold war situation. The optimism of just peacemaking theory about abolishing war, however, does not need to be appropriated. Realist participation in the just peacemaking project can proceed but only with reservations about what seems to be a mixture of optimism and Kantian idealism about the future peacefulness of a capitalist world, and the illusion that war will disappear from the world. Realism, grounded more in the prophets than the just peacemaking project and more in the prophets' moral critique than in Thucydides' cynicism, provides a stronger foundation for policy advice than the Sermon on the Mount which did not focus on international relations. The striking lack of attention by Jesus to questions of the management of the Roman Empire and the ethics of war and peace permits Christians to consult books of the Bible where international relations and foreign policy are prominent for moral wisdom on the subject.



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