Warmongering Won’t Work

The concept of a just war is a myth as I see it.

A commentary by James Edwin Gibson

Warmongering won’t work. History records numerous cases of wars, other conflicts, and belligerent rhetoric. My knowledge is limited, but I know of none that were productive.

Current fighting in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians, belligerent talk between the United States and Iran, and ongoing conflicts in various countries in Africa, as well as other conflicts elsewhere around the world do more harm than good. 

The key to success is cooperation, helping others. Cooperating after World War II secured a lasting peace between former enemies. The lessons learned from mistakes made in the aftermath of World War I (massive penalties against the losing nations that were counterproductive) led to the aftermath of World War II going much better. International aid programs of the victors that helped even the losers rebuild have helped avoid a third world war. 

The Just War Myth

The concept of a just war is a myth as I see it. All wars are preventable if we humans try hard enough.

No, the Civil War not just. The United States could have ended slavery without the horrible Civil War that created divisions that still exist today if we had better leadership. After all, many other nations ended slavery peacefully.

World War II was not just. If Germany had been treated better after World War I, World War II could have been prevented.

The Cold War was not just. If the United States and the Soviet Union had listened to the concerns of each other and sought a fair solution, the costly Cold War could have been avoided.

The Vietnam War was not just. If French Indochina had been handled differently, the terrible Vietnam war could have been avoided.

United States wars in Central and South America were not just. If the United States used its military and industrial might less selfishly, its conflicts in Central and South America could have been avoided.

The war against terrorism is not just. If more humanitarian aid and a better education system were available worldwide, we’d have far fewer persons brainwashed into joining terrorist groups.

Cooperation and Friendly Competition

We need more cooperation and friendly completion, less greed and cutthroat competition.

Success is often measured relative to others. But, instead of seeking to better others, let’s seek to help one another become better. By learning from the strengths of others and by helping others with their weaknesses, we can all attain a higher standard of living, as well as live happier, healthier, longer, and more peacefully.

A peace treaty or ceasefire is nice, but it’s better to achieve a peace agreement without fighting a war. And, for a ceasefire to succeed, each side must be happy. 

We need to resolve all conflicts peacefully and fairly: end wars and the rhetoric that increases tensions. It can be done. 

But, just creating a law to outlaw war won’t work. After the horrors of World War I, citizens in many nations desired to end war. In 1928 the Kellogg-Briand pact[*], eventually signed by 62 nations that included most major countries, sought to make war illegal. Alas, the pact was not enforced. World War II followed soon afterward. 

After the end of World War I, the creation of the United Nations and its various organizations offered nations a resource to turn to as an alternative to war. But, nations with huge military resources, such as the United States and Russia (and its predecessor, the Soviet Union), often prefer to take unilateral action on their own, bullying others into submission. 

And United Nations actions were often counterproductive anyway. But, still the UN is a step in the right direction. But, for the UN or any international organization to succeed, its members need to submit willingly to the leading of the highest righteous power, which I call God, instead of selfishly promoting personal and national interests. 

Perhaps those who’ve experienced the horrors of war best know the urgent need for an alternative. But, the ongoing search for a just and lasting peace continues. 

As I see it, one key is an educational system that teaches young persons how to resolve conflicts fairly and peacefully, helps them learn from innocent mistakes, and holds them accountable for intentional mistakes. International and intercultural events can be part of this, as can quality mass communication. Over time, as these young people become adults, they can change things worldwide for the better. 

Maybe adults can learn, too. Who knows? Maybe someday Israeli parents whose child was killed by a Palestinian terrorist’s rocket and Palestinian parents whose child was killed by an Israeli soldier will realize they have more in common with each other than with either the terrorists or the soldiers. If enough people take positive actions, the madness of war and violent conflict can end. Let’s seek to take such actions. 


[*] “The Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928”; Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State; website accessed June 18, 2019;; (Numerous other websites discuss the Kellogg-Briand Pact, too.) 


This piece is being submitted to Craft News Report on June 18, 2019. The author has also written similar articles for other websites in the past. 

Copyright © 2019 James Edwin Gibson. James is the author of the books True Christianity: It May Not Be What You Think (2014, second edition 2015, third edition 2017) and Several True (I Think) Stories: Can Truth Be Stranger Than Fiction? (2016, second edition 2017). You may contact James at regarding this column. James thanks his friend Paul for publishing it on his website, thanks you all for reading, and hopes you all enjoy God’s blessings!

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