War/silence/dehumanization, bellum iustum, and discourses of war

War/silence/dehumanization, bellum iustum, and discourses of war

TransConflict is pleased to present extracts from Dražen Pehar’s book, ‘Dediscoursification – how discursive attitudes cause wars’, the key contention of which is that the attitude to language should be theorized as one of the major causes of war.

 Suggested Reading Collaborate GCCT

By Dražen Pehar

When one starts thinking of war, one’s attention is at first drawn to noisy and dramatic events: killings, violence, mighty cannons, the breaks through the enemy lines, the falls of cities and states. One’s focus is on a blood-spill, soldiers, and boundary experience; on overstretch of bodies, tears, and the states of manic compulsion. War, as a clash of bodies that results in existential border-line situations, is a fascinating image. However, such an image is often highly suggestive, even misleading. It seems to enable the transferring of the very traumatic experience of war to the realm of theory; the exceptional nature of trauma drives us to search for exceptional explanations of war, a complicated event in itself, or for some views that could tell us something exceptional, perhaps also unique, about the humankind too. However, I believe that one should resist such a drive or tendency. It is especially in the theory of war that we need a cautious and calm approach that depicts the genealogy of war as a part of a bigger whole, not as a unique, sui generis feature of the human species.

The theory of dediscoursification suggests to us to focus primarily on a silence, on being made speechless, between individuals or groups, as a key starting point of war. It suggests to us to take a wide and long-term perspective on war. Furthermore, it suggests to us to endorse the idea that, to the state of war, the most important part takes place much earlier than the pulling of a trigger. The latter is but an effect, or extension, of a more important condition that precedes it. Imagine two units of soldiers confronting one another. The state of war between the units can be reduced to the fact that the units do not communicate with one another. Their choices in their encounters are reduced to the following: shoot and kill; or, don’t shoot if you have killed. Their key feature, however, is in their silence in relation to the enemy unit; I, as a unit member, can only talk to the members of my own unit. In relation to the enemy unit, I cannot communicate, nor can I possibly address the reason of the enemy unit members. The only thing I can do about, and to, them is to shoot.

To arrive at the stage of silence, something must have happened at some other levels and at a prior time. Some experience must have been gathered due to which I cannot trust the members of the opposed unit nor view them as humans. Their aim is to kill me, and my aim is to kill them in turn. That is what our relationship is reduced to. Such a lack of trust, such inability to view the member of the opposed unit as a human, is a product of some experience. The silence is collectively produced. The theory of dediscoursification explains the sense in which the silence, which is of a menacing kind, is produced through a discursive interaction. This is not, for instance, the silence as practiced by some Apache who adopts it voluntarily for a tactical reason. It has been noted that an Apache goes silent in order to give some time to a suspicious person to sort herself out, or to resume a more unambiguous social role, or status, in the Apache eyes. The Apache refrains from talking in order to avoid the worsening of the situation caused by the inclination of the suspicious person to misinterpret the word (Basso 1972). In such a sense, Apache’s is a positive kind of silence, one that is hopeful, one to which a renewed verbal interaction is expected to follow. There is also a verbal minimalism between those who understand each other very well. For instance, persons close and attached to each other need not many words primarily because a large amount of agreement, or understanding, had already been built in their relationship. In this kind of silence one sees nothing negative either; on the contrary, one sees some positivity, an expression of kinship and closeness.

The silence produced by dediscoursification, however, is completely different. It is a silence by which one follows the movements of a wild beast one cannot communicate with, and even worse, one cannot hope to communicate with. It is a silence in the encounter with someone who, due to his discursive violations, lost moral-discursive status, and acquired some negative moral features (such as “liar,” or “promise breaker”) that make him less-than-human. That is why the silence that precedes an armed conflict is so special, grave, and dangerous. There is no doubt that one may experience such a silence also in the course of a daily experience with those who have lost our trust, who proved themselves to be insufficiently reliable, coherent, truthful, or dignified in the sense of a respect towards one’s own word. We do not initiate wars with such individuals, but we, to the extent possible, withdraw our relations with them. However, the state in which we and such individuals are jointly involved may be pertinently described as the state of war. The theory of dediscoursification proposes that one should view the kind of silence that precedes an armed conflict precisely in such terms. It is a grave silence that concludes a series of discursive experiences with a person or a group; it is a silence that one affirms fully and unreservedly and that defines one as a person relating to some other persons in a special way.

The kind of silence is also significant due to the fact that the pulling of a trigger is highly likely in the state of such a silence. It indicates a loss of trust that prevents the parties from relying on discourse as a problem-solving means. The medium of discourse is removed–this is a key message that the kind of silence connotes. However, there are some other media, and there is a fear and tension. Additionally, we also know, or justifiably believe, that the “liar” will be inclined to use force, and we know that one who does not bind himself by words is as well inclined to resort to violence to achieve his own aims. In light of all such thoughts, gathered in the state of silence, an outbreak of war at some point, under suitable conditions, seems unavoidable.[1] Or, in such a perspective, war seems to be normal, easy to explain, and predictable. One has become to the other something less-than-human,[2] a creature unable to practice a civilized discourse. Hence, the other inevitably comes up with the thought that s/he needs to counter the creature by all means available including those of the most lethal kind. When the first incidents occur, the situation is highly likely to escalate due to the lack of trust, the fear, and the absence of proper medium of relationship, which is one of discourse.

An important aspect of the silence-focused outlook is its ability to depict the smooth transition from the pre-war state to the state of war. All the key causes of war need to be assembled prior to the pulling of the trigger. In such a sense, war is simply a continuation of a prior, pre-war condition. Some discourses of war are better than others in their capacity to well grasp and present the fact of continuity.[3] That is why the theory of dediscoursification is a kin to such discourses, including primarily Hobbes’s. To remind, Hobbes famously compared the state of war with the state of “foul weather.” He pointed out that bad weather cannot be reduced to two or three showers of rain. The same is true of the state of war. One may witness some military clashes lasting for a day or two, but the state of war is of a longer duration and is not as tangible as a rain. As Hobbes famously put it, war takes place whenever there is an “inclination to actual fighting,” during “all the time there is no assurance to the contrary.” (Hobbes 1994, 76) Hence, if there is no securing mechanism that blocks the outbreak of war, not only as a temporary “brake,” but as a longer lasting means of prevention, one is right to call such a condition “the state of war.” The theory of dediscoursification proposes a view of the causes and effects of such a state in terms that differ from Hobbes’s, but Hobbes’s frame can serve as a good starting point.

The theory of dediscoursification states that “the assurance to the contrary” is found only in discourse, or negotiations, that confirm and respect the moral matrix of discourse. To Hobbes, the assurance is famously found in the sovereign power, i.e. Leviathan.[4] Additionally, while referring to the state of dispute that precedes war, Hobbes tends to describe it as a condition that almost automatically causes war, as if there is no discursive way out that may be tracked by the disputants, which is what the theory of dediscoursification assumes. According to Hobbes, the cause of this can be found in the inability of the disputants to supply a “right reason” individually or jointly. According to Hobbes, the only viable solution is found in a simulation of a right reason, a provision of a sovereign body whose word will be taken by all as “the right reason” (Tuck 1992, 171-172). Though this is not immediately obvious, Hobbes too refers to the state of silence. He actually implies that the state of silence is bound to take place as soon as a dispute is recognized. Each disputant will go silent before the opposed discourse, and thus opposed discourses will cancel one another out. The only discourse that may transcend the condition of the loss of a legitimate discourse is, in Hobbes’s view, the discourse by Leviathan, a great definer and a sovereign power that serves to the parties as a site of a right reason. Here is where the theory of dediscoursification, with its focus on the factor of continuity between the pre-war state and the state of war, departs from the Hobbesian framework in a significant way.

By now it must be clear why the theory of dediscoursification is special as the theory of the causes of war. It claims that war is preceded by the loss of faith in language, and the loss explains why the parties to war do not rely on discourse as a medium of problem-solving. In addition, the theory also claims that the problems are not actually resolved by the use of force–they persist throughout the relationship of the warring parties. In other words, war is an irrational response to some real problems, but the human agents may be nonetheless forced to accept such irrational response; also, their realization that they have been so forced may be fully rational. Irrationality, of course, must be a key part of the problem as one who generates dediscoursification is an irrational agent. However, it is clear that the characterization of such irrationality as irrationality must be deemed rational despite the fact that it is bound to lead to tragic consequences.

More importantly, from the angle of the theory of dediscoursification, some agents dehumanize themselves by dediscoursifying another agent. For instance, when you lie for a private gain, at the expense of someone else, you dediscoursify another human agent, but you dehumanize yourself. People constitute themselves as moral agents primarily through discourse, but they also transform themselves into immoral ones by using discourse in ways that shows disrespect, or disregard, for the moral matrix of discourse. This part of the story needs to be added to every genealogy of war because the latter necessarily includes a story of a failed diplomacy in the sense of either the failures of deliberate diplomatic attempts or some inherently “anti-diplomatic” agents who never try diplomacy.

Grotius too offered a definition of war that emphasizes the factor of continuity between the pre-war state and the state of war, but his definition can also help us recognize a kind of discontinuity that the common-sense attributes to the notion of war. He defines war as “the State or Situation of those (considered in that Respect) who dispute by Force of Arms” (Grotius 2005, 51). Grotius thus obviously recognizes that the condition of disagreement, a difference in policy, necessarily precedes war, but also endures in the state of war. At the same time, he points out that, during the war, the dispute is conducted by the force of arms. At a first glance, this seems meaningless–the use of armed force is not an effective means of a reasonable dispute settlement. Dispute cannot evolve or be resolved reasonably by the use of armed force.

The theory of dediscoursification is one which satisfactorily explains this aspect by stating that war is an effect of a degenerated dispute; and, it is a dispute involving some participants who have failed both as human beings and as the users of discourse. To break out, war thus needs to be preceded by a state in which the disputants arrive at the conclusion that the dispute has not evolved as a normal discursive dispute should. Hence, it is through his definition of war that Grotius points to inherent irrationality of war, to its abnormal and wasteful nature. Now, as Grotius also advocated “just war theory” (JWT) of a kind, a pertinent question can be put as follows: can the JWT be reconciled to Grotius’s definition of war that is more or less in accordance with the theory of dediscoursification?

This leads us to the consideration of the JWT tradition. Are there any just wars, and what criteria need to be met for a war to be describable as just? While addressing this tradition, one should have in mind that the JWT is not a homogenous tradition or a set of theoretical postulates that have remained unchanged throughout history. The JWT tradition is multiform and internally divided over an important theoretical controversy, or issue, that I address later in the text. To start with an illustration (as found in Berkowitz 2013, 10-11), it will suffice to mention that, in 1240, Alexander of Hales (or Halesius), an English Franciscan, the first systematic thinker within the JWT tradition, proposed six key criteria of just war. However, Thomas Aquinas, also a JWT theorist, reduced criteria to three as follows: the criterion of auctoritas (war must be declared or initiated by a proper authority), the criterion of causa iusta (a just cause), and of intentio recta (a right intention), which is a demand on the parties to fight exactly for a causa iusta, and not for some other purpose to which the causa iusta serves merely as an excuse or cover (for instance, one really fights to gain control over some oil fields in the Middle East, but one claims to fight to introduce, promote, or defend democracy within the same region).

What are the essential parts of JWT? The theory assumes, and claims to be able to demonstrate, that some wars are just. In other words, according to the theory, one can defend a just project, or plan, by the means of war if the war itself is started, conducted, and ended in the way that meets some criteria of justice. Hence, a just war is a product of a moral calculus that satisfies the criteria of justice.[5] Basically, JWT claims that wars need to be judged according to three stages that involve some special demands/criteria: ius ad bellum, or the criteria before the start of war, ius in bello, or the criteria that apply in the course of war, and ius post bellum, or the criteria that apply at the war’s end. Here my focus is entirely on ius ad bellum; we will see that it is impossible to satisfy the basic criteria of justice contained in that part of JWT.

However, one should here immediately emphasize that the JWT is a moral discourse of war. It assumes that warfare ought to be assessed and scrutinized in moral terms (as emphasized in Walzer 2004, ix-x). This in itself is a commendable aspect of the theory. Hence, the JWT demands at least implicitly that the decision-makers, for instance statesmen or presidents, couch and justify their decision in favour of a war in moral terms. Thereby, however, the decision becomes a likely subject of critique, counter-argument, and perhaps a notable challenge. Actually, this is the best aspect of JWT: it should, ideally, incite a public debate, a discourse concerning a decision in favour of, or against, war, which implies that the society in which such a dialogue takes place considers itself a community composed of discoursing and jointly reasoning individuals (see also Rengger 2002, 363).

Let us focus then on ius ad bellum.[6] According to a majority of today’s JWT defenders, it consists of six criteria (Orend 2008). Apart from the three emphasized by Aquinas, the following three are generally cited: the criterion of the probability of success, which means that one should not start a war if one’s moral calculus predicts that the probability of the achievement of a just cause by the means of war is low; secondly, the criterion of proportionality in the sense that we should not start a war if, from our own perspective, the ratio between the harm inflicted and the good achieved is to the detriment of the latter; if, for instance, the harm inflicted corrupts the good achieved to such an extent that one can hardly speak about promotion/materialization of the good or of justice (imagine that, in order to defend oneself from a military attack, one destroys an entire population on whose behalf the attacker acted); thirdly and finally, the criterion of “ultima ratio,” or “last resort”: one should start a war only after having exhausted the alternative, including peaceful, methods of problem-solving, that is, the alternative means of the promotion of a (presumably) just cause.

The last criterion insists on the fact that the human being is primarily ens loquens, one who aims to resolve a problem by negotiating. However, there is some likelihood that one will not be able to resolve the problem by the means of negotiations. It is then that ens belli, or the solving of the problem by the means of force, enters the equation. Let us recall the example cited in section 1.4: Ignatieff referred to a speech by Tony Blair in which the latter justified the NATO strikes against Serbia; Blair claimed that, prior to the start of the strikes, diplomacy, involving primarily American side, really exhausted all the means of alternative and peaceful resolution of the Kosovo conflict. As the same section demonstrated, this is not true. In other words, Blair was untruthful when he claimed that the American and European diplomats attempted to find, or produce through negotiations, a peaceful solution of the Kosovo dispute.

This immediately conveys a lesson that is of major importance. It is possible to use some JWT criteria in a wrong way, as a disguise. We may say that we have applied a criterion, whereas the truth is that we have not. Interestingly, such a use of JWT can be explained by the theory of dediscoursification: we use a criterion in the way that causes our interlocutor to cease believing in us as an ens loquens; we actually state some untruth about the application of criterion, which in our interlocutor generates a justified impression, or belief, that such a criterion indeed cannot be applied or implemented. Then we may cynically accuse our interlocutor of a lack of good faith in negotiation as s/he, in turn, draws from our accusation the conclusion that a peaceful, discursive alternative to war stands no chance; in his or her eyes, we exploit such an alternative for a single purpose, to promote our Public Relations and present ourselves in a favourable light. Such developments, however, point to the key issues concerning both the criterion of “ultima ratio” and the JWT.

First, we should notice that the Latin term for the criterion is vague and confusing. Does it refer to war itself as an “ultima ratio,” which is literally the last reason that at a point in time replaces or supplements all the reasons already exhausted? Or, does it refer to war as a condition that comes after “ultima ratio” in a discursive sense, and that can be tried only after the entire space of reasons and counter-reasons was exhausted? The former interpretation of the criterion depicts war as a part of a discursive order, as a continuation of some words that have “hit the wall.” The latter interpretation, however, opens an unbridgeable gap between the space of discourse and the application of force–one has exhausted the realm of reasons, and now one enters an entirely different realm of force. The interpretation is likely to depend on a more detailed understanding of both force and of the exact demand contained in the criterion of “last resort.” Regardless of the issue of interpretation, however, it is here important to emphasize that the “ultima ratio” is about discourse; hence, the criterion supplies an opening through which the theory of dediscoursification can communicate with the JWT.

In other words, the JWT is not only a moral discourse; it is, at least in a part, a theory of discourse as it relates to war, or to the use of armed force. How to describe such a relation in more precise terms? The answer to the question depends on a more precise understanding of the “ultima ratio” criterion. We will see that the proponents of the theory are deeply divided over the issue; hence, it is impossible to speak about a coherent corpus of the theory. We will see as well that one kind of interpretation of the criterion leads us straightforwardly to the theory of dediscoursification,[7] but one consequence of such interpretation reads as follows: there cannot be a just war in the sense of discursive justice, that is, in the sense of the implementation of a discursively presented structure of justice that may be imposed by the use of force.

Once we focus on the exact words by the JWT theorists concerning the “ultima ratio” criterion, we soon realize that there is no single criterion of the kind; we see instead a multitude of ideas, intuitions, or conjectures concerning the exact demand contained in the criterion. For instance, if we focus on David Fisher (2011, 73), by the criterion we should mean primarily “sanctions” that use a force, but not armed one. Interestingly, Fisher starts his presentation of the criterion by emphasizing that, in some conditions, it should not be applied at all–for instance, when it causes a delay in the use of armed force, which could cause disastrous consequences. In this regard he primarily has in mind the situation of emergency, a grave danger faced by a party who is about to suffer an imminent military attack. Here, however, we identify the first issue confronted by the “ultima ratio”: it is obvious that one is not expected to apply the criterion in the situation which, according to the JWT proponents, prompts the very paradigm of a just war, that is, a war of self-defence. For a while, however, we need to put both the situation and the issue aside.

If we focus on Orend, we will get a picture that differs starkly from Fisher’s. Orend claims that the criterion includes “all the plausible, peaceful initiatives (in particular, diplomatic negotiations)” (Orend 2008). In other words, his focus is on a condition in which one faces a serious political conflict which has not yet escalated. In such a situation, one could try the venue of diplomatic negotiations. Now, does this exhaust the contents of the concept of the “ultima ratio”? Furthermore, why does Orend, in contrast to Fisher, exclude economic sanctions as a mechanism that can, at least partly, satisfy the criterion? William O’Brien proposes a view similar to Orend’s. As he (2009, 431) put it, “The last component of the condition of just cause is that war be employed only as a last resort after the exhaustion of peaceful alternatives. To have legitimate recourse to war, it must be the ultima ratio, the arbitrament of arms. This requirement has taken on added significance in the League of Nations–United Nations period.” He adds that, to fulfill the criterion, a state needs also to submit its disputes with other states to international arbitration, thus demonstrating that it does not rely only on self-help in grappling with a serious political conflict. However, most importantly, we need to emphasize that O’Brien considers the criterion as a part of “causa iusta” criterion: we need to satisfy the “ultima ratio” criterion to be able to pose a credible claim that we indeed intend to apply an armed force for a just cause. Hence, in contrast to Fisher, O’Brien interprets the criterion as a strict provision that places strong and very constraining demands on the states.

Moseley, another JWT proponent, casts the criterion in the following terms: “War should always be a last resort. This connects intimately with presenting a just cause–all other forms of solution must have been attempted prior to the declaration of war” (Moseley 2009). However, he does not add more precision to his presentation of the criterion. Furthermore, he emphasizes that the criterion needs to be applied primarily due to the fact that war is an unpredictable and dangerous/destructive affair; hence “one needs to be cautious”–this is, according to Moseley, all that the criterion tells us. James Turner Johnson takes a different stand on the criterion, which shows some resemblance to Fisher’s:

“But the just war criterion of last resort does not mean that everything except military force must first be tried and have failed. Rather, this criterion, like the resort to force itself, has to be interpreted via a judgment as to the proportionality of proposed nonmilitary means—whether they will cause more good than harm—and as to whether they have any reasonable hope of success. That is, last resort is a criterion to be used in analyzing whether force is the most reasonable and proportionate choice, among all the choices available, to bring about the justified end. It is wrong to use the criterion of last resort as a means of postponing indefinitely any resort to military force.” (Johnson 2006, 184)

This means that Johnson does not advocate the view that a period of peaceful negotiations must precede war–if you believe that you can reach a goal by a peaceful means, you apply such a means; if you believe, on the other hand, that you can reach a goal by the means of armed force, which also satisfies the criterion of proportionality, you apply such a means regardless of the “ultima ratio.” This implies that Johnson does not subscribe to the thesis of moral asymmetry between the means of armed force, on the one hand, and the means of peaceful influence, on the other–such means are morally equivalent paths to some goals that can be measured only by utilitarian criteria. This, however, leaves us in doubt as to the true meaning and purpose of the “ultima ratio” criterion. Does not the true purpose of the criterion lie in its intention to emphasize that, prima facie, the problem-solving by discourse is both more human and more ethical than the problem-solving by armed force? And does not such a purpose also involve a moral asymmetry between discourse and force?

Finally, let us focus on Michael Walzer, the most influential among the contemporary advocates of JWT. Walzer did not write about the criterion in more detail, but, in his preface to the 4th edition of the Just and Unjust Wars, he seems to have suggested that, in order to obtain a fully functional or applicable “last resort” criterion, which has not been fully offered yet, we need a ius ad vim, a moral-legal frame, to specify and rank various forms and degrees of the application of force (vis in Latin) according to their legitimacy (Walzer 2006, xv). However, in some essays, especially in “Justice and injustice in the Gulf War” from 1992, he delivered a few propositions concerning the criterion simply because the criterion was explicitly referred to during the UN debate about justifiability of the use of military means to force Saddam out of Kuwait. Interestingly, it is in such a context that Walzer attempted to water down the criterion and demonstrate that it either carries some “unacceptable” consequences (for instance, by applying strictly the criterion, we would not be able at all to make a decision in favor of an armed force application), or contains some metaphysical connotations due to which its specific application is bound to remain mysterious. As Walzer specifically put it,

“Taken literally, which is exactly the way many people took it during the months of the blockade, ‘last resort’ would make war morally impossible. For we can never reach lastness, or we can never know that we have reached it. There is always something else to do: another diplomatic note, another United Nations resolution, another meeting. Once something like a blockade is in place, it is always possible to wait a little longer and hope for the success of (what looks like but isn’t quite) nonviolence. Assuming, however, that war was justified in the first instance, at the moment of the invasion, then it is justifiable at any subsequent point when its costs and benefits seem on balance better than those of the available alternatives.” (Walzer 2004, 88)

However, it is extremely interesting to note that, prior to the second war in Iraq, in 2003, in a brief commentary, Walzer, again on the foundation of the “ultima ratio” criterion, advocates a view that is at odds with one he advocated prior to the Gulf War; more specifically, his argument against the second war in Iraq is worded as follows:

“We say of war that it is the ‘last resort’ because of the unpredictable, unexpected, unintended, and unavoidable horrors that it regularly brings. In fact, war isn’t the last resort, for ‘lastness’ is a metaphysical condition, which is never actually reached in real life: it is always possible to do something else, or to do it again, before doing whatever it is that comes last. The notion of lastness is cautionary–but this caution is necessary: look hard for alternatives before you ‘let loose the dogs of war.’ Right now, even at this last minute, there still are alternatives, and that is the best argument against going to war.” (Walzer 2004, 155)

Putting aside Walzers implausible claim that the “last resort” criterion implies a metaphysical notion of “lastness,” one can draw from his own words the conclusion that, apart from a vague warning that one should be cautious with the decision to wage war, the criterion lacks a coherent meaning in the JWT tradition. One can also draw the conclusion that it is up to an individual interpreter to use the criterion arbitrarily and in accordance with the circumstance and the interpreter’s own political agenda.

Hence, the above presentation of the uses of the “ultima ratio” entails that we lack the key answers to the key questions concerning the criterion: for instance, what methods and procedures are involved in a precise application of the criterion? Does the criterion refer to both sanctions and negotiations or to negotiations only? Thirdly, should one consider the criterion in a strictly temporal sense, as a demand that, prior to the decision to wage war, in a real time, all alternative means, such as negotiations, be tried and proved ineffective? Or, should we take it only in a logical sense, as one of the elements considered together, and in one go, with the remaining ones such as the element of proportionality? O’Brien and Orend propose that the criterion be applied in a temporal sense; Johnson and Fisher advocate an application in a logical sense. According to Walzer, the interpretations are likely to vary depending on the context and circumstance: at the time of the Gulf War, he seemed inclined to read the criterion in a logical sense, while prior to the second war in Iraq he was more inclined to an interpretation in a temporal sense. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, it seems that some theorists, such as Johnson and Fisher, take the decision to wage war more lightheartedly than the others; their understanding and application of the “ultima ratio” criterion does not serve the purpose of enlarging the distance from discourse to the use of armed force as much as possible.

Dražen Pehar has a PhD in politics and international relations from Keele University (SPIRE 2006), holds an assistant professorship (BiH) in the philosophy of law and in politics with sociology. Dražen is a DiploFoundation Associate, and previously served as Chief of Staff to the BiH Federation President (1996) and as a media analyst to the OHR (1999/2000). Dražen is also part of the Institute for Social and Political Research (IDPI), a member of the Global Coalition for Conflict Transformation

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of TransConflict.


  1. Hence, in the terminology of Dessler’s typology of the causes of war (Dessler 1994), dediscoursification is a key “trigger.”
  2. For the concept and varieties of dehumanization, see Goldhagen (2009, 319-330).
  3. For example, Galtung (1996) and Wright (1951)
  4. I am aware that this proposition simplifies Hobbes’s ideas; for a more detailed and accurate presentation, see Pehar (2014a); additionally, when it comes to the Hobbesian notion of “sovereign power,” in my view, there is no fundamental difference between Hobbes’s Leviathan and “liberal umpire” as proposed by Gaus (2003, 218-229).
  5. For an outline of the JWT, see, for example, Fisher (2011, 64-84) and Orend (2008); as to international legal developments as related to JWT, see Franck (1995, 245-283) and Kennedy (2006).
  6. For an historical presentation of “ius ad bellum,” see Reichberg (2008)
  7. For instance, some statements by St. Augustine, the father of JWT, as quoted and presented in Fuhrer (2011, 35), can hardly be distinguished from the key propositions of the theory of dediscoursification.

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