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Beyond just war : military strategy for the common good

Lonsdale, David


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Dr David Lonsdale
Senior Lecturer/ Programme Director, BA War Studies/ Programme Director, MA Strategy and International Security


The objective of this paper is to move ethical discourse on military strategy beyond the confines of the established War Convention. This is achieved by utilizing the Common Good, a concept found in political philosophy and theology. The common good acts as a positive organizing concept for socio-political activity. With its focus on peace, development and the flourishing of the individual and community, the common good poses a significant challenge to strategy. This paper constructs an approach to strategy that is compatible with the common good. Importantly, it does so whilst respecting the pursuit of victory as an indispensable component of strategy’s true nature. The theory presented in this paper is then tested in relation to four different modes of strategy: regular war; irregular war; deterrence; and cyberwar.


Lonsdale, D. (2016). Beyond just war : military strategy for the common good. Journal of Military Ethics, 15(2), 100-121.

Acceptance Date Aug 30, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 30, 2016
Publication Date Apr 2, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2018
Journal Journal of military ethics
Print ISSN 1502-7570
Electronic ISSN 1502-7589
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 100-121
Keywords Military strategy; Common good; Just war; Political philosophy; Idealism; Catholic
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Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of military ethics on 30/08/2016, available online:


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