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Abstract

An exploration, history, and analysis of what is hoped to be an alternative to the current view of political enemies, “The Just Enemy in a Time of Terror and Conflict” traces German jurist Carl Schmitt’s concept of the “just enemy” through a variety of authors and time periods. This concept requires that we legitimize and humanize the enemy, with the hope that it will contain the violence and vitriol of conflicts. In order to do this we must cease our moralizing about war. The first chapter is an in-depth analysis of the concept of the just enemy. Next it moves onto traces of the just enemy in 20th and 21st century political liberalism. Then it works backwards to analyze the beginnings of the just enemy in 17th and 18th century texts. Lastly it looks at the concept of the just enemy present in three very different thinkers on war. It concludes with a reflection on the utility of the concept of the just enemy, hoping that it could even help us realize better our position of human rights protector.

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