The Sword of Justice: Ethics and Coercion in International Politics

Front Cover
Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998 - 215 pages
0 Reviews
Reviews aren't verified, but Google checks for and removes fake content when it's identified

Through an examination of the relationship between ethics and international coercion, The Sword of Justice compares the actual practice of the United States to the standards established by the just war framework. Historical cases are considered--from nuclear deterrence, conventional war and humanitarian intervention to covert action, economic sanctions and coercive diplomacy--analyzed from the perspective of the just war tradition to provide practical tools to improve the moral content of policy decisions.

An enduring feature of the international system is the use or threat of force. The most systematic critique of this practice is found in the just war tradition, begun by Augustine and further elaborated by Aquinas. This book explores the relationship between ethics and international coercion by presenting historical case studies in which the United States has taken such measures to achieve their goals, and by comparing the actual practice of the United States to the standards established by the just war framework. Based on the comparison, a number of concrete recommendations are made about specific measures that could strengthen the moral content of policy decisions, and at the same time meet tests of political feasibility in the American system of government.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Ethics and Coercion A Framework for Evaluation
The Ethics of Nuclear Deterrence The Reagan Administration Versus the American Catholic Bishops
Ethics and Military Force George Bush and the Persian Gulf War
The Limits of Humanitarian Obligation The International Community and the Crisis in Burundi
Can Covert Action Be Just? Lessons from US Intervention in Chile
The Ethics of Economic Warfare The United States and Castros Cuba
Coercion and Conciliation The United States and the North Korean Nuclear Program
Sheathing the Sword of Justice
Selected Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 9 - The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.
Page 4 - ... you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
Page 95 - Special activities means activities conducted abroad in support of national foreign policy objectives which are 'designed to further official United States programs and policies abroad and which are planned and executed so that the role of the United States Government is not apparent or acknowledged publicly...
Page 6 - The main signpost that helps political realism to find its way through the landscape of international politics is the concept of interest defined in terms of power; 3.
Page 84 - Under the convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group...
Page 116 - To this end, the study is sponsored jointly by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (OASD/SO/LIC) and the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (DOS/R).
Page 95 - There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of "fair play" must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated and more effective methods than those used against us.
Page 8 - Thou shalt not lie," is not valid for men alone, as if other rational beings had no need to observe it; and so with all the other moral laws properly so called; that, therefore, the basis of obligation must not be sought in the nature of man, or in the circumstances in...
Page 49 - First, we seek the immediate, unconditional, and complete withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Second, Kuwait's legitimate government must be restored to replace the puppet regime.
Page 4 - Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can. And it is not as if we were the first to make this law, or to act upon it when made : we found it existing before us, and shall leave it to exist...

About the author (1998)

JAMES A. BARRY is Visiting Associate Professor at George Mason University, where he teaches courses in International Politics, American Foreign Policy, and Ethics and International Affairs./e Mr. Barry spent more than 30 years in government service. He was Deputy Chief of the Arms Control Intelligence Staff and Director of the Center for the Study of Intelligence, the CIA's think tank for critical assessments of the profession of intelligence.

Bibliographic information