The resources in this section take us on a journey through the many
traditional and more contemporary perspectives on how best to engage with the
reality of international conflict. Starting with the traditional approaches
of just war and pacifism, this section then moves through the neoconservative
approach to the liberal internationalist approaches of Rule of Law, Preventive
Defense, Democratic Peace, etc. This section culminates with resources on
Strategic Peacebuilding, an international approach to conflict that draws
upon many traditional and more contemporary perspectives.
Just War Theory, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Civitas Dei (City of God), by Augustine (354-430 CE), Book XIX, (especially Ch. XIII).
One of the classic texts addressing the concept of a just war. His
overriding themes concern the common pursuit of peace, or a tranquility of
order, by all human beings, and the understanding that, given human nature
and the various conceptions of a worthy peace, this common pursuit of peace
sometimes leads to conflict.
Summa Theologica, by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 CE), (IIaIIae QQ: 1-148).
Thomas reinforces and adds to Augustine's account of just war,
articulating a criteriology attending to legitimate authority, just cause, and
right intention. Only the sovereign of a state has the authority to declare
war, since only the sovereign is responsible for the whole of the common
good of the populace. Only the sovereign has lawful right of recourse to
"the sword" to defend the populace and to punish those who do evil. He refers for justification of these positions to Paul's letter to the Romans and to
Augustine. As articulated by Thomas, the only justification to wage war is
to defend the common good, and the only justifiable intentions in waging war
are either to further some good or avoid some evil.
Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations,
3rd Edition, by Michael Walzer, Basic Books, 2000.
This is one of the basic, now classic, modern interpretations of the
Just War traditions. It has set the stage for much of the discussion since
it was originally published 30 years ago, and includes a great deal of
historical cases and contributes new theoretical insights into the tradition.
Pacifism, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea, by Ira Chernus,
Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2004.
An excellent history of nonviolence from the Anabaptists, Anarchists
and Quakers, through key individuals, Thoreau, Day, Muste, King and Deming.
Also includes influence of Thich Nhat Hanh and Gandhi, as well as
sympathetic presentation of Reinhold Niebuhr's influential critique, and
rejection, of nonviolence.
Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century
Potential, by Gene Sharp, Porter Sargent Publishers, 2005.
The heart of this book is descriptions of 23 nonviolent struggles from around
the world in the 20th century. The purpose is to show that nonviolence can be
strategically planned and successfully implemented. Nonviolence is presented
as a tool for social change when force is not effective or is too costly. In
the last third of the book, Sharp presents a nonviolent campaign's process,
with concrete questions to resolve at each stage. Technique and management
skills can be forgotten by idealistic and spiritually-motivated activists;
Appendix A contains detailed suggestions for analyzing and planning a
nonviolent campaign. The extensive glossary is also useful.
History Shows: Winning with Nonviolent Action, by Rachel McNair,
Xlibiris Corp., 2004 (children).
Each colorful page tells a true story of nonviolent political action in
language accessible to all ages. The nearly 50 stories begin with Roman
workers in 494 BCE massively withdrawing and acquiring political power for
their return to work. The last story tells of Serbians monitoring the 2000
elections and the creative responses that led to Milosovec's defeat. McNair concludes that, "History shows that (nonviolent activism) has worked far more times than people realize." These stories would work in worship services or
children's chapel as well as for children's
The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace, Introduction
by Howard Zinn, Beacon Press, 2002.
This gem of an anthology is structured in four parts: i. pre-twentieth
century, ii. the fin de siècle to the cold war (1900-1949), iii. The cold war and Vietnam (1950-1975), and iv. post-vietnam to the present (1975-).
Contributors include, among others, the Buddha, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David
Thoreau, Jane Adaams, Mahandas Gandhi, Dorothy Day, A.J. Muste, Thomas
Merton, Martin Luther King, Jr. Daniel Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, and
Bringing Down a Dictator, 2001.
This film is the story of a student movement that used non-violent
tactics to challenge the militaristic Slobodan Milosevic in the year 2000.
An excellent example of the success of nonviolent tactics.
A Force More Powerful, 2000.
A film series offering 6 nonviolent democracy histories with the
same tone of realistic hope for political change. Use each half-hour segment as the basis for conversation about nonviolent theory and implementation. A
discussion guide is available from the producer.
The National Security Strategy of the United States of America,
The official document of the administration creating a pre-emptive
Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order, by
Robert Kagan, New York: Knopf, 2003.
Announcing a new phase in the relationship between the United States
and Europe, this book proposes that the US and Europe's radically different
approaches to foreign diplomacy are rooted in the strength of America and the
weakness of Europe.
America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative
Legacy, by Francis Fukuyama, New Haven: Yale University Press. 2006.
Fukuyama distances himself from the neo-conservative position, and
argues for a multilateral approach to security. He offers an incisive
critique of the neo-conservative unilaterialism of the Bush administration.
He shares with Schulz a critique of American exceptionalism, and argues for
a foreign policy, that while not pacifist, is less dependent on the military
and more dependent on emerging international norms and institutions. He is
highly critical of the UN, but advocates other multilateral organizations.
This book also offers a helpful history of the neo-conservative position.
Early Advocates of Lasting World Peace: Utopians or Realists?, by
Sissela Bok, In Celebrating Peace, edited by Leroy S. Rouner. Notre Dame:
University of Notre Dame Press. 1990. 52-72
Current attempts to acknowledge the strengths and limitations of both the
just war and pacifist traditions have a long history. Sissela Bok describes
the projects of Erasmus, Kant and the Abbe de Saint-Pierre for lasting world
peace. These efforts include the rule of law between nations, and allow for
the judicious use of force by a standing international police force, rather
than the use of military force between nations. Bok describes four
approaches to war: realist, just war, pacificist and enduring peace. Concise
and accessible. Excellent introduction to the history of current
Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights, by William F.
Schulz, New York: Nation Books, 2003.
Schulz argues for the importance of the international rule of law,
and the role of the United States in establishing institutions to which we,
too, as a nation, are accountable.
The Impact of US Policy toward the International Criminal Court on the
Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, by
Robert C. Johansen, Human Rights Quarterly 28 (2006) 301-331. The Johns
Hopkins University Press.
This article provides a succinct account of the significance both of
the increasing acceptance internationally of the rule of law, and the
dangers posed by U.S. resistance to such law. It places policy debates over
the International Criminal Court in political context, and clearly states
what is at stake in such debates for the effective, impartial enforcement of
laws against genocide, mass rape, and torture. Johansen argues that U.S. attempts to coerce other countries into granting immunity for all U.S.
citizens and non-U.S. citizens under U.S. employment (by threatening to
withhold military and development aid) have had the effect of making clear
the importance of such laws and the international enforcement of them. The
rationale for such a double standard is the neo-conservative doctrine of American exceptionalism, a rationale that is not persuasive to most of the
international community, especially in light of the treatment by the U.S. of
some prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Guantanomo, and in Afghanistan. The article
also serves as a good introduction to the nature and purpose of
the International Criminal Court.
Preventive Defense: A New Military Strategy for the United States, by
William Perry and Ashton Carter, Brookings Institution Press, 1999.
William Perry, former secretary of defense in the Clinton administration, advocates for preventing war through establishing stable
states, developing a productive relationship with China, and controlling
weapons of mass destruction. His advocacy of greater attention to the
prevention of armed conflict through diplomacy and economic
assistance overlaps with the concerns of those committed to human security
and sustainable peace. He also focuses on the role of these efforts in
responding to the threat of terrorism. This work moves beyond the category of
just war in its focus on prevention, while still claiming that military
force is an essential component of national security.
Puzzles of the Democratic Peace: Theory, Geopolitics, and the
Transformation of World Politics, by Karen Rasler and William R. Thompson,
New York: Palgrave. 2005.
Ever since the revival of Kant's Perpetual Peace thesis, the linkage
between democracy and peace has been a central topic in international
relations research, with sustained debate over whether it exists and if it
does, why it does. In this stimulating volume, two leading International
Relations scholars place the democratic peace debate within a broader
context, including the extent of threats in international relations, degree of
satisfaction with the status quo, the diffusion of democracy, and the rise
of the trading state.
Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century,
published for the Human Security Centre. University of British Columbia,
Canada. New York: Oxford University Press.2005.
This study charts the progress in democratization and the prevention
of armed conflict over the past 30 years, and proposes a new paradigm for
securing peace: national and international security are best served by human
security - the pairing of equitable development and the role of the UN in
peacekeeping, peacebuilding and conflict prevention. This study examines
places where these cooperative multilateral security strategies have been effective. For ongoing reports see Human Security Research, a monthly online
compilation of new human security-related research published by university
research institutes, think-tanks, governments, IGOs and NGOs.
Making War and Building Peace, by Doyle and Sambanis, Princeton
University Press, 2006.
This is called the single best study of United Nations peacekeeping
available. It combines sophisticated quantitative analysis and intensive
case studies in a way that is a model for future studies. It advances both
the statistical analysis of conflict and the empirical study of UN missions.
It will appeal to audiences on both sides. Very engaging in style, covering
a wide range of material, and exhibiting conceptual sophistication and
originality, it provides a framework for a new generation of scholarly
literature on civil wars and peace missions.
A United Nations Emergency Peace Service: To Prevent Genocide and Crimes
Against Humanity, edited by Robert Johansen, a project of Global Action
to Prevent War, New York: World Order Models Project, 2006
This 104 page book includes the proposal for a UN Emergency Peace
Service, a preface by Sir Brian Urquhart, former UN Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, the expert discussion from the
internationally attended UNEPS conference held in Spain in 2005, an
afterword by Lt. Gen. Satish Nambiar, first force commander of the UN
peacekeeping mission in the former Yugoslavia, comments on the initiative by
representatives from South Africa, Brazil and the USA, and a suggested
For the Prevention of Genocide: a United
Nations Emergency Peace Service, by Jessica Finz, September 7, 2006,
brief article, available online.
The Little Book of Strategic Peacebuilding: A Vision and Framework for
Peace with Justice, by Lisa Schirch, Pennsylvania: Good Books. 2004.
Lisa Schirch in her timely book sets forth paths to a more peaceful
reality. She points a way to more than the absence of conflict. She foresees
just peace-a sustainable state of affairs because it is a peace which
insists on justice. How to arrive there is the subject of this book.
Peacebuilding recognizes the complexity and the effort this elusive ideal requires. Schirch singles out four critical actions that must be undertaken
if peace is to take root at any level) - 1) waging conflict nonviolently; 2)
reducing direct violence; 3) transforming relationships; and 4) building
capacity. She never imagines this to be a quick-or an individual-task. Her clear and incisive strategy encourages enabling many approaches to peace,
honestly assessing who holds power, and persuading and coercing, but always
with keen judgment and precise timing.
People Building Peace II: Successful Stories of Civil Society, Many
Contributing Authors, Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc., U.S. 2005.
This book includes case studies of peacebuilding, and has analytic
essays that examine UN-civil society interaction, peace practices, effective regional networks and partnerships, and the role of civil society in working
with conflict and building peace. See also the report of the Global
Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict of the 2005 UN conference:
From Reaction to Prevention: Civil Society Forging Partnerships to Prevent
Violent Conflict and Build Peace: available on their website.
Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War, by Glen Stassen,
Pilgrim Press, Second edition, 2004.
Stassen divides the ten practices of Just Peacemaking into three
groups: cooperative forces, justice, and peacemaking initiatives. The root
causes of terrorism are examined. Preventative measures are discussed. This
is a book of action in utilizing democratic and political practices to
promote conflict resolution.
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Last updated on Friday, May 3, 2013.
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