Santa Clara University


Peace in Global Military System

The military system became a definitively global one because of the international projection of military power and of missile-based deterrence. “Defense” is always a relative concept because its adequacy can only be judged in relationship to current threats. The relatively staple "deterrence" order of the Cold War system remains at the highest global level since the United States and Russia retain 95% of the nuclear weapons and are negotiating a follow-on treaty to START. Issues of regional proliferation, however, have become much more chaotic in cases like Iran, North Korea, and South Asia. We currently live in a world in which both Hezbollah and Syria can be a threat to Israel. The uniting of nuclear proliferation and terrorism provides the great nightmare for national planners, and has united some bipartisan coalitions, like the establishment Partnership for a Secure America, to work on the issue. The United States dominates this global military system in a way unprecedented in history, but even the United States cannot accomplish everything by military means, for example, Iraqi reconstruction.

At the national and local levels, crises like Rwanda, the ex-Yugoslavia, Congo, and Darfur have resulted in tremendous suffering and loss of life. The United Nations responded by endorsing a "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) in 2005, but that priniciple has not yet solved many crises, from Darfur to Sri Lanka. For R2P, see this site's entry on "Human Rights in the Global Political System."

The ethics of war, organized around the concepts of the Just War Theory, has been a longstanding discussion in the Christian tradition. Both the reasons for going to war and the methods of conducting war have thus been scrutinized. As the damage of weapons has increased, so has the support for at least limited pacifism in Christian traditions. International organizations have codified their own approaches to such questions. In Hanson, Religion and Politics in the International System Today (Cambridge, 2006), see “The Global Military System,” (pp. 28-32), and “Peace in the Military System” (p. 62-65).

A Short Introductory Course:

Start with Appleby and Juergensmeyer for general considerations and examples of the connections between religion and violence, religion and peace.  See Hashimi and Lee for weapons of mass destruction and Bole, Christiansen, and Hennemeyer and Smoch for conflict resolution in more localized conflicts.

Appleby, R. Scott. The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence, and Reconciliation (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1999).

Juergensmeyer, Mark. Terrorism in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000).

Hashmi, Sohail H., and Lee, Steven, eds. Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction:  Religious and Secular Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). Perspectives: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Feminism, Hinduism, International Law, Islam, Judaism, Liberalism, Natural Law, Pacifism, Political Realism

Bole, William, Christiansen, Drew, S.J., and Hennemeyer, Robert T. Forgiveness in International Politics (Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2004). The Conclusion lists sixteen lessons learned by practitioners and theoreticians on pages 182-85.

Smoch, David R., ed. Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding (Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2002). Smock’s Conclusion lists twenty-one principles for interfaith dialogue in conflict resolution on pages 129-31.

Other Resource Materials:

Bouta, Tsjeard, Kadayifci-Orellana, S. Ayse, and Abu-Nimer, Mohammed. Faith-Based Peace-Building: Mapping and analysis of Christian, Muslim, and Multi-faith Actors (The Hague: Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 2005).

Chengappa, Raj. Weapons of Peace: The Secret History of India’s Quest to Be a Nuclear Power (New Delhi: Harper Collins India, 2000). 

Christiansen, Drew, S.J. “’No, Never Again War’: Then Evolution of Catholic Teaching on Peace and War,” Lecture at Santa Clara University, April 28, 2004. 

Cortright, David, and Mattoo, Amitabh, eds. India and the Bomb: Public Opinion and Nuclear Options (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1996).

Esposito, John L. Unholy War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). Islam and and the issue violence.

Etzioni, Amitai. Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). The United States should emphasize security, not the tranfer of democratic values in its foreign policy, e.g., in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. Military intervention especially results in chaos that fosters extremism. In the Islamic world, the U.S. should ally with "illiberal moderates" to isolate the extremists, e.g., as the U.S. did in Libya. The U.S. has slighted the threat of nuclear proliferation by paying too much attention to democracy in countries like Russia and North Korea.

Gopin, Marc. Between Eden and Armageddon: The Future of World Religions, Violence and Peacemaking (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). 

Halberstam, David. War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals (New York: Scribner, 2001).

Hassner, Ron E. War on Sacred Grounds (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009).

Huff, Peter A. "Saint Peter Sheathes His Sword: The Modern Papacy's Turn Toward Pacifism," International Journal on World Peace (March 2008): 27-42.

Johnson, James Turner. The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Traditions (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997). 

Kemp, Geoffrey. Iran and Iraq: The Shia Connection, Soft Power, and the Nuclear Connection (Washington, DC: United States Institute for Peace, 2005).

Langewiesche, William. The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007). In the long run, there is nothing we can do to stop proliferation. We must learn to live with the inherent risks which may not be as great as often judged.

Lewis, John Wilson, and Xue, Litai. Imagined Enemies: China Prepares for Uncertain War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006).

Milton-Edwards, Beverley. Islam and Violence in the Modern Era (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006).

Mojzes, Paul, and Swindler, Leonard. “Interreligious Dialogue Toward Reconciliation in Macedonia and Bosnia,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 39, Vol. 1-2 (Winter-Spring 2002).

National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1983).

Philpott, Daniel, and Powers, Gerard, eds. Strategies of Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). See also Philpott in America (May 4, 2009): 11-13 on the peace-building role of socially just institutions, acknowledgment, reparations, punishment, public apology, and forgiveness.

Purdum, Todd S. A Time of Our Choosing: America’s War in Iraq (New York: Times Books, 2003).

Shambaugh, David. Modernizing China’s Military (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). 

Seipel, Robert A., and Hoover, Dennis R. Religion and Security: The New Nexus in International Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004).

Shriver, Donald W., Jr., “The Taming of Mars: Can Humans of the Twenty-First Century Contain Their Propensity for Violence?” in Max L. Stackhouse and Peter J. Paris, eds., God and Globalization: Religion and the Powers of the Common Life (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity International Press, 2000), 140-83.

SIPRI Yearbook 2007: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).

Williams, Robert E., and Caldwell, Dan, "Just Post Bellum: Just War Theory and the Principles of Just Peace," International Studies Perspectives (November 2006): 309-20.

Ter Haar, Gerrie, and Busuttil, James J., eds. Bridge or Barrier: Religion, Violence and Visions for Peace (Leiden: Brill, 2005).

Tutu, Desmond. No Future Without Forgiveness (New York: Image Book, 1999). 

WEBSITES:  Carnegie Council: The Voice for Ethics in International Policy. Selected Programs: A Fairer Globablization, American Military Power, The Resurgence of Religion in Politics.

Webcast from World Economic Forum (January 25, 2007) “Religion: Source of Peace or Cause of Violence and War” Speakers: scholars Gret Haller, Farthan A. Nizami, and Konrad Raiser, plus Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Introduced by Pakistani Prime Minister and moderated by journalist Bendicht Luginbühl.  provides reliable international security information  The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is one of the best sources for security information. Partnership for a Secure America

DOCUDRAMA: Nuclear Threat Initiative, Last Best Chance. 

 Recent Articles:

"Wayward Christian Soldiers," New York Times, January 20, 2006, op-ed by University of Virginia professor Charles Marsh criticizing evanagleicals Chales Stanley, Franklin Graham, Marvin Olasky, Tim La Haye, and Jerry Falwell for their support of the Iraq War.

"U.S. Is Top Arms Seller to Developing World, New York Times, October 1, 2007. The top 2006 suppliers were the U.S., Russia, Britain, Germany, and China. The top recipients were Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

"Intervention, Hailed as a Concept, Is Shunned in Practice," New York Times, January 20, 2008. Analysis of challenges to "Responsibility to Protect." See this site's entry on Human Rights for 2009 discussion in General Assembly.

"With Push From White House, U.S. Arms Sales Rise Sharply," New York Times, September 14, 2008. Discussion of increase in foreign weapons deals pushed by White House.

"In Peacekeeping, A Muddling of the Mission," New York Times, February 11, 2009. Current challenges in U.N. peacekeeping.

"U.S.-Russia Nuclear Agreement Is First Step in Broad Effort," New York Times, July 6, 2009. Obama visits Moscow and two countries agree on parameters for nuclear ageement to be finalized by December when START expires.

DOCUDRAMA: Nuclear Threat Initiative, Last Best Chance. 

November 4, 2009.