12 International Law Based on the Global Reality of War
From what perspective should we examine the world? Reality determines our world view and our world view in turn determines reality. At the beginning of the modern era, Europe saw the emergence of a world view based on war and peace. Consequently, Europe set out on the road of power politics that sought a balance of power based on the world view of War. On the other hand, Japan_s world view at this time was founded on the concept of _civilization and barbarism._ Taking civilization as the main pillar of their world view, the Japanese pursued the righteous path of moral politics. In a Europe whose world view centered around war, almost constant war became reality, while early modern Japan, whose world view was based on the concept of civilization, enjoyed the blessings of undisturbed peace. Let us take a closer look at this difference.
The international law that governs today_s international community did not exist in medieval times, nor even in the age of great voyages from the end of the fifteenth century, when Europe_s international relations were governed by the triumvirate of commerce, piracy, and war. Until the European powers entered East India (Asia) aiming at trade backed by military force, unarmed ships went back and forth across the Indian Ocean peacefully conducting trade. But the Europeans were armed; for them war was part of everyday life. In 1625, during the Thirty Years War (1618_1648) fought throughout Europe, a Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius (1583_1645) wrote a treatise entitled De Jure Belli ac Pacis (On the law of war and peace). Through this work, Grotius has become immortalized in the textbooks as the _father of international law._ The argument put forward by Grotius in this treatise was essentially the doctrine of power politics that the use of military force is one of the fundamental rights of nations. In short, it was a justification of War. Faced with the reality of the Thirty Years War, Grotius was deeply concerned as to why Christians were killing each other, and attempted to establish the principles governing war.
In academic circles, Grotius_s views have become one of the main streams of discourse on this theme, but we should not overlook the fact that war was a basic premise of his political philosophy. Taking war as his premise, Grotius claimed that there is such a thing as legal war, which he called _public war_ (or _just war_), and that public war conducted by a nation for the purpose of defense is right. This argument is based on a world view that defines international relations in terms of war.
In the Prolegomena of De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Grotius outlines his purpose:
Fully convinced, by the considerations which I have advanced, that there is a common law among nations, which is valid alike for war and in war, I have had many and weighty reasons for understanding to write upon this subject. (De jure belli ac pacis libri tres, Latin Texts and Translation by Francis W. Kelssey et al. Oxford: 1925)
Grotius_s determination of an _a common law among nations, which is valid alike for war and in war,_ led to the birth of international law that embraced war as a basic premise. In Chapter 1, _What is war? What is Law,_ Grotius reiterates his objective of determining the justice of war: _In giving to our treatise the title _The Law of War_, we mean first of all, as already stated, to inquire whether any war can be just, and then, what is just in War. In Chapter 2, the author considers _Whether it is ever lawful to wage war,_ and in Chapter 3 he discusses the nature of sovereign power in terms of _Distinction between public war and private war, stating that _[public war] is waged under the authority of the one who holds the sovereign power in the state._