Soft war tactics, including cyber-warfare and economic sanctions, propaganda and non-violent resistance are of increasing importance but largely unexplored in just war theory. This talk illuminates this neglected aspect of international conflict.
Just war theory focuses primarily on bodily harm, such as killing, maiming, and torture, while other harms are often largely overlooked. At the same time, contemporary international conflicts increasingly involve the use of unarmed tactics, employing 'softer' alternatives or supplements to kinetic power that have not been sufficiently addressed by the ethics of war or international law. Soft war tactics include cyber-warfare and economic sanctions, media warfare, and propaganda, as well as non-violent resistance as it plays out in civil disobedience, boycotts, and 'lawfare.' While the just war tradition has much to say about 'hard' war - bullets, bombs, and bayonets - it is virtually silent on the subject of 'soft' war. This talk illuminates this neglected aspect of international conflict.
Michael L. Gross is Professor of Political Science and Head of the School of Political Science at the University of Haifa, Israel. He has published widely in medical ethics, military ethics military medical ethics and related questions of medicine and national security.