Preventive Wars, Just War Principles, and the United Nations

The Journal of Ethics 9 (1-2):247-268 (2005)
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This paper explores the question of whether the United Nations should engage in preventive military actions. Correlatively, it asks whether UN preventive military actions could satisfy just war principles. Rather than from the standpoint of the individual nation state, the ethics of preventive war is discussed from the standpoint of the UN. For the sake of brevity, only the legitimate authority, just cause, last resort, and proportionality principles are considered. Since there has been disagreement about the specific content of these principles, a third question also is explored: How should they be formulated? Moreover, these questions are addressed in the context of a particular issue: the goals of the non-proliferation and the abolition of weapons of mass destruction.

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John Lango
Hunter College (CUNY)


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