Is just war thinking flexible enough to address the unique ethical problems of contemporary warfare? In this book, Amy E. Eckert takes up the problem of military privatization, asking whether the just war tradition can adequately address the ethical problems posed by states’ increasing reliance on private military companies (PMCs). Such corporations—including the now defunct Blackwater—provide a variety of services to the states that hire them, from logistics to combat.
A skeptic might ask why PMCs should prompt revisions of the tradition, since canonical just war thinking (whose authorities include Thomas Aquinas and Francisco de Vitoria) developed in an era when mercenaries were frequently employed. Eckert’s cogent response is that two very modern assumptions motivate contemporary just war thinking. First, Eckert argues that contemporary just war thinking is heavily indebted to the international law of war, which is itself a product of the post-Westphalian state system. Contemporary just war thinking’s statist orientation is challenged by PMCs’ disruption of the state’s monopoly over the legitimate use of force. Similarly, the in bello criteria, in Eckert’s view, developed in their present form only after the rise of the sovereign state and presume a clear distinction between state actors (national mili
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
The Powell Doctrine
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PERSPECTIVES ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, 1992–2020
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.