Drawing on just war teaching as developed within both Christian and Muslim traditions, this book examines whether, and how, liberal democracies can combat the new global terrorism both effectively and justly. The authors, including distinguished academics from both sides of the Atlantic, Christian and Muslim theologians, former senior civil servants and a General, deploy a wide range of experience and expertise to address one of the most difficult and pressing ethical challenges to contemporary society.
Contributors: Ahmad Achtar, General Sir Hugh Beach, Philip Bobbitt, Shenaz Bunglawala, Rosemary Durward, Dr David Fisher, Lord Harries, Sir Michael Howard, Dr Richard Lock-Pullan, Sir David Omand, Nick Ritchie, Paul Schulte, Brian Wicker, Tim Winter. Edited by David Fisher, King’s College, London and Brian Wicker, Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament.
Edited by Rosemary Durward, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Lee Marsden, University of East Anglia.
For many years religion has been the neglected component of international relations and yet in an age of globalization and terrorism, religious identity has become increasingly important in the lives of people in the West as well as the developing world. The secularization thesis has been overtaken by an increased desire to understand how religious actors contribute to both conflict and the resolution of conflict. This volume brings an exciting new perspective with fresh ideas and analyses of the events shaping conflict and conflict resolution today. The book uniquely combines chapters highlighting Christian and Islamist theological approaches to understanding and interpreting conflict, as well as case studies on the role of religion in US foreign policy and the Iraq war, with religious perspectives on building peace once conflicts are resolved. The volume provides an ideal starting point for anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the religious character of conflict in the twenty-first century and how such conflict could be resolved.It is easy enough to say, “If religion is a part of the problem, it also needs to be a part of the solution”, but how can this perspective influence foreign policy and our understanding of international relations?
Although there has been much recent speculation about the influence that religious factors play in shaping American attitudes on foreign policy issues, there are very few empirical analyses testing that influence. In this paper, we use a large national sample of the American public to classify American religious groups on Eugene Wittkopf’s (1990) classic dimensions of foreign policy attitudes, militant internationalism and cooperative internationalism. We find rather different religious constituencies for the perspectives subsumed by these dimensions, and demonstrate the influence of both ethnoreligious and theological factors in shaping public attitudes. Combining the two foreign policy dimensions, we show that religious groups in America are situated differently in Wittkopf’s categories of hardliner, internationalist, accommodationist, and isolationist. The paper concludes with some observations on the implications of these findings for the future of American foreign policy.
David Fisher explores how just war thinking can be developed to provide such guidance. He examines philosophical challenges to just war thinking, including those posed by moral scepticism and relativism; the nature and grounds of moral reasoning; the relation between public and private morality; and how just war teaching can be refashioned to provide robust practical guidance not just to politicians and generals but to ordinary service people.
The complexity and difficulty of moral decision-making requires a new ethical approach – virtuous consequentialism – that recognises the importance of both the internal quality and external effects of agency; and of the moral principles and virtues needed to enact them. Having reinforced the key tenets of just war thinking, Dr Fisher uses these to address contemporary security issues, including the changing nature of war, military pre-emption and torture, the morality of the Iraq war, and humanitarian intervention.