This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Just War Theory and Armed Non-State Actors




Smith, Eric

Type of Degree



Political Science


In the modern era mankind faces challenges that include: globalization, regional and international institutions assuming sovereign authority over states, devastating acts of terrorism, 24-hour international news coverage, super power collapse, weapons of mass destruction, and failed states, and cause one to question if an ancient body of knowledge called Just War Theory can continue to serve as a moral guideline in circumstances where regimes desire using military force to resolve conflicts with other states or groups within states. Tracing the evolution of Just War Theory, the study analyzes circumstances involving Armed Non-State Actor (ANSA) groups possessing powerful and destructive capabilities and a desire to use these against other groups and states, and pursues answers to the central research question: how does Just War Theory apply in modern scenarios involving ANSA groups who challenge the state and international institution’s monopoly on use of force? The study found that Just War Theory has capacity to accommodate modern day statecraft and application in scenarios involving Armed Non-State Actors operating among the international community.