For a Cautious Utopianism: Reply To Jean Bethke Elshtain [Full Text]

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 19.2 (Summer 2005)

July 13, 2005

I thank Professor Elshtain for her response to my article, and the editors for inviting me to make some clarifications and engage in what is emerging as a profound normative dispute about the underlying hopes and worldview of “just war” thinkers and various post-Kantian tendencies. This dispute is centered on our view of the role of war in international society, the normative promise and understanding of “peace,” and, to a lesser extent, on critiques of sovereignty and the state. If our exchange has any value, it will be to highlight the considerable stakes of this dispute, which might have otherwise remained hidden in a few short pages of Elshtain’s important Women and War.