Is There an Obligation to Rebuild?

  • Paul Robinson
Part of the Boston Studies in Philosophy, Religion and Public Life book series (BSPR, volume 1)


In recent years, efforts have been made to create a new norm in international affairs stating that victorious states have an obligation to rebuild those whom they have defeated in war. This chapter challenges the arguments put forward in favor of this norm, showing that they rest on four false assumptions concerning: the alleged post-bellum nature of the rebuilding process; the supposed justice of the wars waged by liberal democratic states; the compatibility of the obligation to rebuild with the Western just war tradition; and the ability of states to successfully rebuild their defeated enemies. The chapter concludes that the practical application of the norm would be counterproductive, as it would serve mainly to allow states which have waged unjust wars to continue unjust occupations of conquered territories.


Moral Obligation Liberal Democracy Termination Phase Walk Away Liberal Democratic State 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of International and Public AffairsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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