restricted access 10. ‘‘Just Peace’’: An Elusive Ideal
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c h a p t e r 10 ‘‘JUST PEACE’’ An Elusive Ideal mark evans Absolutely central to the case for a theory of jus post bellum that has garnered support only relatively recently is the ideal of a just peace. This centrality is evident in both types of context in which we may invoke the tenets of such a theory. The first is where jus post bellum is added to the traditional bipartite structure of just war theory, which holds that the ultimate goal of a just war must be a just peace. This addition is needed in at least three ways. First, some sense of what this goal means is needed not only in the original justification of a just war but also, where possible and appropriate, to orient its conduct. Second, it matters greatly to the achievement of a just peace how a just war is ended. Third, insofar as a just peace is not secured simply by silencing the guns, the ideal must govern the processes of peace building, especially (because this might be overlooked in the triumphalism of victory) with respect to specifying the responsibilities as well as the rights of just victors. The second context is the ending and aftermath of a war that had no initial moral sanction, or lost whatever sanction it started with. This is because the immorality of an unjust war does not free its participants from morality’s obligations in rectifying the initial wrong, or alleviating the harm and repairing the damage it has caused.1 A just peace is still desirable , and may still be possible, even after such a war: The ideal should thus, where possible, govern planning and conduct in such circumstances 197 198 mark evans (and, in instances of noncompliance, it is what would rightly inform criticism of postconflict behavior). Thus, it makes sense to talk of jus post bellum for agents other than just victors and in circumstances other than the ending/aftermath of a just war.2 What these aspects of jus post bellum are aiming to address are nothing more than the aspirations of all those who have lived through war and long for a better future: Who among them would ideally want, other things being equal, anything other than a just peace? It is thus remarkable that it has taken so long for the ideal to receive the kind of scholarly scrutiny it is now generating. Or is it? One could readily agree with the above observations about its importance but argue that just peace is an elusive concept, a characteristic that might help to explain the relative lack of attention paid to it. There are two senses in which the claim that it is elusive can be intended: (i) as a state of affairs it is in general unobtainable; (ii) as a concept it eludes clear and coherent exposition. It evades attempts to define it adequately such that, while we may agree that it is an important ideal, we cannot say much to illuminate what it actually denotes. In this chapter I will pay more attention to the second sense (conceptual ) as I believe it poses more of a threat to the very point of theorizing just peace and hence to a significant extent jus post bellum itself (thus suggesting that there may have been valid reasons, if unrecognized at the time, as to why it did not figure in just war debates until recently). The elusiveness of just peace as a concept arises in part from the way in which a particular style of philosophy approaches such ideals, and the contribution (or lack of it) that such philosophy makes to this debate must therefore be considered. Before I move to this discussion, however, I shall comment briefly and incompletely on the first sense—just peace as a state of affairs—which, of course, generates important reservations on its own account that are potentially very damaging to the theory of jus post bellum. Saying that just peace is unobtainable is obviously to assume that we know what the ideal stands for, so just peace as a state of affairs clearly departs from the thrust of just peace as a concept. In short, this first sense can depict the mooted unobtainability of just peace in distinct ways, three of which I shall identify here. ‘‘just peace’’ 199 First, some might say that justice itself is unobtainable in the radically imperfect real world we inhabit, the imperfections...