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Throughout history,  humans have fought wars.  Wars of territory, control, power, and resources.

For the most part though, with America, that has not been the case.  *hears a stampede of Liberal bloggers stampeding to dispute this claim*

Now throughout this has been two different philosophies, I believe.  Nation Building, versus Nation Guiding.  Taking over and saying your way or the highway or just guiding and creating the environment where Democratic, or a more peaceful government, can prosper.

I believe this is one of the reasons that we have succeeded in places like Japan, Germany, during World War 2, and maybe even Iraq.

Now this remains at this point a theory, and I am still working this out.  Part of the reason I am writing this, to engage in debate and see where I am on this and if I am right, wrong, or on the right track.

Also, there is very little difference between the two concepts.  It could just, in the end, be a measure of degrees and involvement.

Now in Nation Building, in this premise, you have ultimate control, we are going to build your nation in our likeness and tell you what to do.  To enlighten you to make you better, to educate you, and to say that it is your way.  This is big in imperialism, either through colonies, or shaping a Government.

Then there is Nation Guiding.

It is sending your troops into harms way, maybe even starting off by nation building, and then staying there long enough to ‘clean up the mess’ and win.

Its saying, ok, we just kicked out your evil leader, now we are here.  We will help you, we will be there for you, we will prevent other forces from taking over from the outside who is just as bad as the one we left.  And we will create the circumstances so you can have your own government, and build your own society.

And that is the key, the big difference.

In one case you have us taking responsibility for an entire people, that we are saying that you cannot live without us, or our government.  And on the other we are encouraging people to have responsibility, just with the solemn promise that we will be there until you are ready to take all of your responsibility.

This is the difference, I believe.

There can be much debate on which war is which, how America should be involved, should we be involved, should we go to war, what should we do to help, what does harm?

But the point is that at the end of the day all involvement is not bad, and that is the point.

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18 Comments

  1. again you show yourself to have a good grasp of the universal principles of the just war doctrine….it says in that doctrine that basically it is not morally right to go to war just to conquer new territories, subjugate people, obtain wealth, or otherwise expand your sphere of influence….it is only morally permissible to resort to war if an aggressor nation is harming your nation or your any nation allied to yours

    • Indeed. But really in the end one of the points is of this not what happens during the actual war, but the after math, nation building versus nation guiding and the appropriate usages of both in the world that we live in, how much should we get involved and the application of those forces.

        • Joseph
        • Posted April 3, 2010 at 1:47 pm
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        what a nation intends to do in the aftermath of the war serves as part of the intent of going to war in the first place….if your intent in resorting to force of arms is for expanding your sphere of influence or obtaining wealth or subjugating people or conquering new territories, then the aftermath, if that nation is successful, will mirror one or more of those intents for resorting to arms in the first place…..by contrast when a nation such as ours resorts to war…it is usually to defend ourselves and our allies and as you said to guide them as well….so if we are successful then the aftermath mirrors the intent for us resorting to use of force to begin with…which is to defend ourselves and our allies…..and ostensibly when we resort to war it is against nations who are using force for one or more of those 4 immoral intents that the doctrine mentions

  2. and then obviously the next part of the doctrine is that if your cause for resorting to war is just, then you should conduct your war in an honorable and just manner

    • well that usually flies out of the window at the first engagement.

  3. The distinction you mention is not real. The distinction you mention is the distinction between official doctrine and reality. The rhetoric you hear–we’re here to help you, we are completely altruistic, we have no self-interest, we will guide you to prosperity, we are your benevolent leaders, you need us–faces significant challenges when one bothers to look at things a little more honestly. Notions about “just wars” (a fairly vacuous theory) fall apart.

    • I disagree with you vehemently. How do you describe world war 2, with Germany and Japan, and the current situation in Iraq? Now while those situations were all hard the notion that a just war does not exisist is false, because there are reasons you, unfortanatly have to go to war, it does not make it any easier, and anymore right, but in the end the issue here is being between Protectors and a Guide of behavior, and then picking someone up by the scruff of the neck and dragging them to it

        • Joseph
        • Posted April 6, 2010 at 2:33 am
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        or a nation that fights a war of expansion and subjugation (like Hitler) and a nation that is fighting to protect the freedom and safety of her citizens

      • World War II is a war that I believe was justified. But was how we conducted the war justified? Joseph has already mentioned some of the atrocities, some of which are the most brutal acts of terrorism in human history, including the dropping of the atomic bombs and the numerous fire bombings. In fact, the history of the Nuremberg trails is quite fascinating. You’ll note that what was condemned as war crimes at the time were only the actions that we did not commit. Fire bombings and the indiscriminate attacking of civilians was not considered a war crime, precisely because of the fact that we engaged in those activities. But if we’re actually going to be honest about things, we’d say that every post-war U.S. president would be hanged if we adhered to the elementary principle of moral universalism. Being honest requires that you look in the mirror, colfoley.

        Does the fact that entering World War II was justified mean it justifies all other wars? Of course not. Does it give any credence to the “just war theory”? Of course not. Just because a war is justified does not mean the just war theory has any merit to it. I don’t think it does. It’s a pretty vacuous theory.

        And even when you follow the just war theory, does it legitimize the war in Iraq, for example? It doesn’t.

        • Joseph
        • Posted April 14, 2010 at 10:55 pm
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        actually Ben if you take a look at the just war doctrine as set forth by the Catholic Church the moral conditions upon which one may resort to war AND conduct the war are quite clear and I have a link to this doctrine for you to look at:

        http://www.catholic.com/library/Just_War_Doctrine_1.asp

        if you read that article you will quite clearly see that it’s not just a theory…it’s a very weighty formal doctrine….whose 4 basic principles were there since the early Church….the technical details might need to be re-worked on occasion when new weapons and tactics and enemies make their ignoble appearance but the 4 basic conditions of just war remain the same

        • Joseph
        • Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm
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        so no just because some wars are justifiable doesn’t mean others are nor does it mean the way in which the war is conducted is justifiable…the doctrine is quite clear in that regard I think….so wars must be examined in the light of that doctrine and use prudential judgment to determine whether those 4 conditions are fulfilled….as for Iraq I do think that while we resorted to war based on a shaky premise…..that we do our best to limit non-combatant casualties….remember that al Qaeda, the enemy we are ultimately fighting, is a terrorist organization that claims many nations under its domain and does not have the guts to fight us openly….they hide behind all the human shields they can find, causing us to expend time and resources to flush them out so that we can take them down without harming the communities of non-combatants that they continually try to use as human shields

        • Joseph
        • Posted April 14, 2010 at 11:17 pm
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        so not only does this doctrine enumerate the moral conditions under which a nation may resort to war, but it also enumerates the moral condition by which the war should be conducted by that nation by the last of the 4 conditions by stating “the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated”….this quite simply means that a nation should not be intentionally targeting non-combatants…..esp. to try to use such an intrinsically evil action to justify a good, like bringing a quicker end to the war…..the intentional spilling of innocent blood can quite clearly never be morally justifiable…so simply put each side in the war should be doing its best to limit damage to military targets

  4. now the US and the Allies did do some actions that the Catholic Church was opposed to during that war….the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…..both were intentional acts aimed at putting pressure on those governments to end the war by indiscriminately targeting large areas of non-combatants….what is done however is done….it cannot be undone….and so the only thing left is to mourn the loss of non-combatant life….and even combatant life in the war’s aftermath…..so there are times when we are morally bound to take up arms against our fellow man…..we don’t like it and we do so with heavy hearts….but we do so nonetheless should all other recourse fail in order to protect ourselves and our nation

  5. I am a Roman Catholic….peace is my goal at all times, but at the same time I cannot in good conscience sit idly by and watch as an aggressor nation plunders and pillages my own nation or that of any nation allied with mine…..my faith then dictates that since by that point all other recourse logically speaking must have failed….that I must, with heavy heart, take up arms and fight the aggressor

  6. I agree, I think we as a nation have always tried to go to war discriminately and for just cause, to be a guiding nation. Except for maybe in the middle East now when Oil is at stake. I think this has clouded our judgment somewhat as well as the control of the weapons of mass destruction. I think while we usually enter into a war with good intentions, I think sometimes things in the process get cloudy and muddy and we end up getting our hands dirtier than expected. I think sometimes we do let our greed or fear of how powerful that nation may be becoming drives our reasons for war. Not so much what that country is doing to their people or our country persay.
    So I am on the fence. I think every war we have participated in is unique and bears it’s own place in history that we should always use to learn from and avoid repeating any misdeeds or injustice that may have taken place.

    I think it cannot always be so black and white is my point…..war is ugly and dirty and messy ….there is no two ways about it. And should be avoided at all cost…but when we need to enter into it….do so with the principles you describe of Nation Guiding…that is a wonderful theory if we could always adhere to it.

    • Absolutly. War is one of the most interesting examples of strife ever…it can clear things up, and make things more muddied. It causes people to be killed and innocents do get in the way. Great actions are commited, and terrible actions. And we must, we must, work to fight and work to improve the things that we did wrong, like you said.

      As for the middle east and Oil. I do not think its a reason that we go for war, I do find the people that say we went to war with Iraq, ‘for Oil’ is silly. I do not see any evidence for that, especially with things that have occured during the war. But I do think that Oil is one of the main motivations of taking more drastic actions against terrorists that may be in other nations, like Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and other nations. That they are our ‘allies’ for that, and that Oil is going to fund people who mean to kill us. We need to wean ourselves off of oil, or at least foreign oil, at all costs.

  7. indeed war is messy and violent…..which is why the universal principles that govern just war doctrine impose such strict moral conditions under which a nation may go to war

    • Yeah. If nothing good happens in the war at least the reasons that you went to war can be honorable.


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