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Change in Warfare Thinking and Walzer’s Views

A shift in the warfare thinking is evident between Grotius and Rousseau periods. The difference is depicted by the different thoughts portrayed by the two philosophers. One of the philosophers believes in the international unity and thus fewer wars while the other believes in the national unity at the expense of the international affairs[1] (Begby 318). This creates all the difference regarding the warfare.

Grotius portrays a wide range of experience in both theology and politics. His long life experience gives him different perspectives concerning warfare. During Grotius’s time, international peace was valued the most as opposed to national peace. International order is regarded as the best platform for the economy’s performance (Begby 324). Therefore, international peace is seen as the source of motivation for the economic performance of the respective countries. During this time, war is considered the last result in the attempt to deal with chaos and problems.

On the other hand, Rousseau represents the era of the political divide among the different countries. Rousseau’s era represents a period of enlightenment in France of the rights that the citizens need to protect. As such, the citizens value the peace of a country as opposed to the peace among the different nations (Begby 320). Warfare thought changes from that of Grotius. The warfare thought becomes more subjective and dependent on the needs at hand. The national requirements are given priority, and the peace of a region is disregarded as important. This triggered war among the different countries that had previously been working together.

There arise two forms of thoughts regarding warfare. Grotius’s thoughts are conservative, while Rousseau’s thoughts are progressive. By being conservative, Grotius’s ideas are more related to the need for the peace of all people irrespective of their origin or even their economic background (Wazler 195). Therefore, communism takes more effect, and harmony among all regions prevails. On the other hand, capitalism has more effect. Survival of the fittest takes effect. Warfare thoughts change into those of fighting to retain power. The division between the minority and the majority sets in and changes the perspective of the war.

Relation to the Walzer Book

Walzer’s book provides for conservatism and progressiveness. In this regard, the book elaborates on the existence of the parties that fight for the good of all, including the minority, and thus conservatism. The conservatism is related to the Grotius warfare thoughts, where the welfare of all people is made a subject. Conservative parties play the role of ensuring a community-based welfare commitment, where the wish of the entire region counts in the determination of the best decisions to make. On the other hand, progressive parties relate to Rousseau’s thoughts on warfare. Progressive parties dictate that the minority have their say as the majority has their way[2] (Wazler 193). For this reason, the powerful have more rights to make things happen while the minority has less of the same. Progressive politics and warfare thoughts consider what most people take to be right or wrong. Therefore, war becomes more subjective in some people’s opinion as opposed to the need for overall peace across the board. The two books, therefore, relate directly. The two forms of work represent the change in the way of life, thoughts of warfare, and the political landscape.


Begby, Endre, Gregory Reichberg, and Henrik Syse. “The ethics of war. Part I: Historical trends.” Philosophy Compass7.5 (2012): 316-327.

Walzer, Michael. “Just and unjust wars.” ESPRIT 6 (1991): 189-198.



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