chapter  2
17 Pages

Postmodern just wars: Kosovo, Afghanistan and the new world order

WithCostas Douzinas

This chapter discusses the history of the idea of just war and charts its mutation into recent humanitarian wars. It argues that while human rights and humanitarianism offer a moral gloss to the economic world order under construction, war remains the highest expression of sovereign power and has contributed towards the reassertion of the principle of sovereignty. Wars on behalf of humanity tend to support its opposite, sovereignty. War and just war have been important strategies through which sovereignty has come to existence and has been put to work. Kosovo was the first war of the new world order formally conducted in the name of the postmodern just cause, human rights. Overwhelming force and technological superiority characterised the Kosovo and Afghanistan campaigns. The chapter concludes that the concept of humanity, in its universalist or communitarian versions, is too indeterminate and cannot act as a normative resource.