Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

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© 2013 Mark R. Blumenfeld


The scope of war has changed dramatically in the recent part of the 20th and 21st centuries, in particular, with regard to state sponsored terrorism (“SST”). The responses of nations too have changed as they seek to protect both their sovereignty and the rights of their citizens. This paper will address possible ethical responses to SST through the view of contemporary Just War Theory (“JWT”) as Michael Walzer describes it. I will begin by arguing for an ethical approach to war, and why JWT is the best ethical approach. Then I will outline the basics of JWT in addition to some of the main concepts that will be drawn upon throughout this paper. Next, I will put forth a spectrum of possible responses to acts of aggression and in so doing provide the framework for what constitutes a legitimate threat. Then I will critique Walzer’s interpretation of a legitimate state, followed by my own proposal. Following this, I will define ‘terrorism’ and considering various scenarios of SST with direct reference to the arguments made prior in the paper. Finally, I will conclude by restating the argument made in short, and illustrate the implications of this new ethical approach.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.