8 - Rogue regimes, WMD and hyper-terrorism: Augustine and Aquinas meet Chemical Ali  pp. 136-156


By Paul Schulte

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This essay examines how the just war tradition might be developed to provide a framework of moral political analysis to help judge when it is right to use force against ‘rogue regimes’ which sponsor terrorism or seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It seeks to define what might constitute a ‘rogue regime’ and looks at considerations surrounding anticipatory self-defence or preventative action and the moral hazards posed by approaching the issue of just cause from a regime-centred analysis. Finally, it suggests a checklist of moral points that might apply in situations where the international legality of intervention against a ‘rogue regime’ is contested.

The purpose is not to expound any particular position but to assist debate by pointing out underlying inter-linkages and dilemmas. My understanding of the just war tradition is that military conflict should be avoided unless precise and demanding conditions are satisfied. (Other contributors to this volume may disagree with such a reading.) The concerns set out here are not intended to reverse that basic presumption, but they often involve balancing considerations – many of them relatively new and historically unprecedented – that could inform right intention and give rise to just cause. Like most commentators, I shall propose no more systematic and universally applicable process than a case-by-case balancing of different factors.