chapter  1
27 Pages

The roots of liberalism and the first great liberal century

The beginnings and endings of wars are totally linked, whatever paradigmatic

approach you may take to war itself. War aims have no sense unless you have some

idea about what you want the post-war situation to look like. Even in non-democratic

societies there is usually some justification for war that is proposed before it is

embarked upon. Adolf Hitler’s Germany manufactured a ‘border incident’ with

Poland in 1939 that ‘insulted’ German pride and sovereignty. Saddam Hussein

had the clear aim in 1990 of ‘restoring’ Iraqi sovereignty over its ‘19th Province’.

Both were excused on the basis of the moral authority of the state. The possibility of

the ‘amoral’ war therefore seems to be ruled out even by its most amoral instigators.