Can the Good Guys Win? Moral Dilemmas in Asymmetric War



Michael Walzer, the Institute for Advanced Study

Date and Time

April 26, 2012 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Annenberg Auditorium Stanford

FSI Contact

Abstract: In the lecture I will address the criticism that is current among some soldiers and academic strategists these days that if you try to fight an asymmetric war in accordance with the US rules of engagement or the requirements of just war theory, you will lose the war. I will argue that the good guys can win (not that they will certainly win) without adopting the methods of the bad guys.

One of America’s foremost political thinkers, Michael Walzer has written about a wide variety of topics in political theory and moral philosophy, including political obligation, just and unjust war, nationalism and ethnicity, economic justice, and the welfare state. He has played a critical role in the revival of a practical, issue-focused ethics and in the development of a pluralist approach to political and moral life. 

Walzer’s books include Just and Unjust WarsOn Toleration, and Arguing About War. He has served as editor of the political journal Dissent for more than three decades. Currently, he is working on issues having to do with international justice and the new forms of welfare and also on a collaborative project focused on the history of Jewish political thought.

For additional information on the series, please visit the Stanford Ethics and War series website.