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Anne Meeker

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Is war a national right?

First, I would like to clarify a few things:

While, perhaps, there may be or have been wars waged for worthy causes, I don't think anyone would argue that war as a whole is morally right, or the best way to solve international conflicts in every situation.

Also, I'm referring to offensive war, not defensive war or post-war operations. Self defense, nationbuilding, etc., are way easier to argue, I think, re: Dr. Barnett's talk on the future of the United States military. I mean Hobbes' Leviathan.

Anyway, that being said: looking at nationalism, it seems that part of national identity is based on the idea that nations, whatever their governmental structure, have rights as entities--the right to economic involvement with the rest of the world, for example (although I know it gets complicated with trade embargoes, etc). Is war one of those rights? Does a nation have a right to invade another nation? Does it depend on the reasons behind the invasion? Does this right rest with a national coalition, like the United Nations? Has this right ever existed, or will it exist if it doesn't now?

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