"Certainly, war has not been rooted out of human affairs. As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful...share public responsibility have the duty to conduct such grave matters soberly and to protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. But it is one thing to undertake military action for the just defense of the people, and something else again to seek the subjugation of other nations."
My question is this, what would prevent the political entity that became the government for the world from continuing war and its destructive accoutrements? "We don’t want this country to have a say or position of power on our world forum, so let’s do something about it." Wasn’t it Shakespeare who wrote, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely?"
The quotation is explaining that war will never be completely eliminated unless an international government is created that can ensure that no country will be invaded or attacked. The quotation goes on to state that military action to defend one’s people is justified, but not war waged to conquer another country.
This quotation can be found in "Readings in Christian Ethics" by J. Philip Wogaman, Douglas M. Strong on page 302. In this chapter the authors are discussing the ethics of a Christian taking up arms against other people in an act of war. The quotation is acknowledging the fact that there is no international court with enough power to prevent nations from fighting each other. This is proven by our United Nations and the lack of persuasion they have on countries like Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and China. The authors are also are stating that in the act of defending ones homeland through war may be necessary. However, war should never be waged simply as a means to overpower and force another culture into the subjugation(rule) of another nation.
If you read the quotation previous to this referenced quotation speaks of laws which allow for people to refuse active duty in the situations where, "for reasons of conscience," can not serve.
The quotation below your referrenced quotation says:
"Those too who devote themselves to the military service of their country should regard themselves as the agents of security and freedom of peoples. As long as they fulfill this role properly, they are making a genuine contribution to the establishment of peace." (pg 302)
The quotation means that war will always be a real and present element to society. Nations will always have to protect their interests and their people. There is no "superior" court that can settle these disputes. Governments have a responsibility to act in the public's best interests and that may include war as an option. After diplomacy and other non- war options have failed, then, and only then, will war be waged. Nations who wage war in this manner will only do so as a last resort, and not to take over other nations for their own gain.
This statement is trying to explain how war may be the only option in some situations. In these situations, wars will be waged as only in defense, to protect the nation's interests and public safety, and will not be waged for conquest or without regard for the costs.
This quote is saying that war is sometimes a necessary evil that nations must undergo in order to defend themselves from danger and harm. War should never be waged in order to exert power over other countries or peoples--we should never start a war that puts other people's freedoms and liberties at risk, that will make the people we fight subject to our country. If we go in and fight someone, then force our laws, dictates, and way of life on other people, and take away their freedoms, then war is always wrong. It should only be waged to defend ourselves from harm.
It is also saying that it would be great if there was a large, intelligent governing body that was able to resolve conflicts without any war, but, in the absence of such a body, countries cannot be denied the right to protect themselves as necessary. But first, we should, as a public, try every means of peaceful reconciliation first. Try to work things out without war, and only if you have tried to be peaceful and nice, and that hasn't worked, should someone wage war. But war should be waged in a civil manner that takes care of the people that come under our care during that war.
I hope that explains it a bit better for you--it's a wordy quote, huh? It does make some interesting points, and brings up great topics for discussion. Good luck!