The important grounds for war include self-preservation and self-defense. Realism therefore seems to be more accommodative of placid negotiations. Realists have more willingness to allow aggression unlike other traditions which focus more on embracing moral values in the society (Nardin, 1996 p 58). The set social rules, customs, beliefs or practices which specify proper acceptable forms of conduct are not upheld by realists. Another important ground for war considered is aggression. Realists are not willing to condemn hostility in the society. They therefore fail to endorse war on religious, moral or legal grounds since they limit their level of hostility and violence (Nardin, 1996 p 61).

Why St. Augustine Is Regarded As a “Christian Realist” And ‘The Real Evil of War” For Augustine

St. Augustine is regarded as a Christian Realist since he changed the point of view relating to the principles of right and wrong in regard to war from purpose to reason of doing something and later on implied that since human beings cannot be free from sin, what is important is alignment with the laws set by a nation (Nardin, 1996 p 64).

The real evil of war according to Augustine was that some soldiers kill people on purpose out of selfish ambitions such as hatred and brutality rather than due to obedience of the set laws

of their nation. Some soldiers are thus mischievous (Nardin, 1996 p 64).

 Essential Guiding Principles for Realists in the Conduct of War

Principle of Discrimination

The principle prohibits people from purposely attempting to cause damage or injury to another who is harmless in intent or has no responsibility for a wrongful act (Nardin, 1996 p 68). At war, it is therefore important to be free from bias as some people may intentionally harm the others who are unaware of the reasons behind the occurrence of the war.

Principle of double effect

It stipulates that a person must not harm another who is harmless in intent so as to reach a set target (Nardin, 1996 p 68). One should be concerned about other human beings despite him or herself even when the intended purpose is not achieved.

How Realists Defend Their Central Claim That “Morality Should Not Always Govern the Conduct of States”

Morality should not be prioritized when it comes to governance of the progress of states.  Governance should be based on consideration of self-preservation and utilitarian focus. The states should ignore or fail to consider all the requirements set out by the religious bodies, morality and utility (Nardin, 1996 p 69). Realists should maintain that the state should adhere to the provisions of morality but can choose to go against them in times of emergency or community crisis. They place little or no observance to morality when it comes to governance of states


Nardin, T. (Ed.). (1996). The ethics of war and peace: Religious and secular perspectives (p. 286). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.


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