Nir Eisikovits argues in A Theory of Truces that most contemporary conflicts wind down in a much more piecemeal fashion than our theorizing about the morality of ending wars suggests. Pauses in violence are achieved by securing agreement on narrow questions. Moreover, rather than hoping to do away with violence, theorizing would do best, he writes, to take as its starting point the fact of warfare as part of the human condition. Eisikovits aims to articulate the features of truce thinking, a framework that is more descriptively accurate and normatively useful in navigating contemporary conflicts and promoting reconciliation. After summarizing his view, I argue that Eisikovits’ explanation of the contribution of truces to political reconciliation is too narrow; contrary to what he claims, truces can make an important contribution to the rule of law. I also challenge Eisikovits’ characterization of the first feature of truce thinking. I argue that while there is an important present focus on immediate benefits from temporary measures, the future looms much larger than Eisikovits recognizes. Truces matter not only for what they make possible now, but also for their ramifications for prospects for future peace. These ramifications go beyond creating conditions for hope or optimism.
- Rule of law
- just war theory
- transitional justice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science