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Explain and discuss if the Korean Wars met jus ad bellum principles


The Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, was fought between North and South Korea. It was a result of the ongoing tension between the two countries, with their differences stemming from the division of Korea after World War II. According to jus ad bellum principles, a war is considered just if it meets certain criteria and is waged for a just cause. It is important to examine the events leading up to the war and the conduct of the involved parties to determine if the Korean War met these principles. Just cause: The principle of just cause requires that a war must be fought for a morally justifiable reason. In the case of the Korean War, North Korea invaded South Korea with the intention of unifying the two countries under communist rule. This was seen as an act of aggression and a violation of South Korea's sovereignty, which could be considered a just cause for South Korea's subsequent defense. However, some argue that the US's involvement in the war was not based on a just cause, as it was motivated by its desire to contain the spread of communism rather than the defense of South Korea. In this sense, the war may not have met the principle of just cause. Legitimate authority: The principle of legitimate authority requires that a war must be declared by a legitimate government or authority. In this case, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called for a ceasefire and declared the Korean War a threat to international peace and security. However, there were limitations to the UNSC's legitimacy in this situation. The Soviet Union, one of the permanent members of the UNSC, was boycotting the council at the time due to a dispute over the representation of China. This raises questions about the legitimacy of the UNSC's decisions and the extent to which they represented the international community's interests. Last resort: The principle of last resort states that war must be used as a last resort after all peaceful means to resolve the conflict have been exhausted. In this case, the war was not a last resort as diplomatic efforts to resolve the tension between North and South Korea had failed, but military action was quickly taken without considering other options. Proportionality: The principle of proportionality requires that the harm inflicted by the war is not disproportionate to the expected benefits. In the case of the Korean War, the devastation and loss of life suffered by the Korean people was significant, making it difficult to argue that the benefits of the war outweighed the harm caused. In addition, the use of nuclear weapons by the US during the war has been highly controversial and called into question the proportionality of their actions. Discrimination: The principle of discrimination requires that the use of force should be targeted only at military targets and not at civilians or non-combatants. However, both sides of the Korean War deliberately targeted civilian populations, causing significant harm to innocent civilians. In conclusion, the Korean War did not meet all the principles of jus ad bellum. While South Korea's response to North Korea's invasion can be seen as a just cause, the involvement of other countries such as the US raises questions about the legitimacy of the war. In addition, the use of excessive force and targeting of civilians on both sides call into question the proportionality and discrimination of their actions. Ultimately, the Korean War is a complex and controversial event with no clear consensus on its justness. It serves as a cautionary reminder of the importance of just war principles in evaluating and preventing conflicts.