A car parked in the garage near mine has many admonishing decals displayed on the car trunk area. One reads: WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER! My thought: WHAT’S THE QUESTION? Perhaps some idea that war never solves much of anything. In western history this leads to the typical response of some variant of the Just War Theory. Is there any justification for war? Is a soldier justified in waging war in a supposed defense of country? What is the context in western history for the Just War Theory? The Emperor Constantine in the fourth century founded Constantinople as the eastern capitol of the Roman Empire. Under Constantine the empire became Christian and the relationship of church-and state became in effect two sides of the same coin. The Byzantine Empire existed for a millennium and fell to the Moslem Turks in 1453 AD. Constantinople became Istambul.The great Turkish sultan Suleiman the Great invaded southeast Europe and approached the gates of Vienna. In the context of the time Christian Europe was imperiled by the Islamic Turkish Empire. A key theme shared by most western writer including Luther was to the effect the Turk is to be fought in defense, never in the name of faith or against Islam as such. This countered the western crusader tradition of several centuries earlier when the West took up the cross in crusades against the Islamic Crescent. The objective was to recapture Jerusalem and the holy places from Islam. ( With this in mind how shortsighted to initially attack Iraq and Hussein with crusader rhetoric. Furthermore I have a dislike for athletic teams to adopt Crusader as team name). Luther’s consistent theme in his Turkish writings noted the Gospel needs no defense with the sword. Here is the essence of the Just War Theory. Only defense when attacked. Now, as we wonder, what makes a war just? Involvement militarily in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade is obviously a question for debate. Interesting are the parallels between the 16th century and the twenty-first century regarding the clash east and west.
See my blog May, 28, 2011: RATKO MILODIC – GENOCIDE : SULEIMAN THE GREAT. Rather recent in memory is the Bosnian War of 1993-1995 triggered by the breakup of Yugoslavia. In history often “what goes around comes around” with harsh consequence. Was NATO involvement just?