Published February 1, 1993
1. David Hollenbach, S.J., “Ethical Principles, Strategic Policy, and the Catholic Bishops: The Continuing Argument,” a paper delivered at the Catholic University of America on October 27, 1989.
2. See Patrick Glynn, Closing Pandora’s Box: Arms Races, Arms Control, and the History of the Cold War (New York: New Republic/Basic Books, 1992), for a brilliant critique of the “arms control” approach to international security problems in the twentieth century.
3. On this point, some reflection on the ways and means by which the USCC exercises the arts of persuasion (also known as “lobbying”) on particular pieces of legislation (as suggested by the NCCB/USCC “Legislative Priorities” agenda) is surely in order. What does it mean, for example, for the USCC to “support . . . programs of U.S. development assistance,” many of which have been shown, empirically, to be failures, and some of which are arguably disconsonant with the teaching of Centesimus Annus?
4. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., “What New World Order?,” Foreign Affairs 71:2 (Spring 1992), p. 88.
5. The grim equation of tyrannies + ballistic missiles + weapons of mass destruction also reminds us of the moral imperative of developing adequate measures of strategic defense. On this point, see the recent essay by Robert Jastrow and Max M. Kampelman, “Death in Clusters,” New York Times, January 13, 1993, p. A21.
6. It should be freely admitted that the realists of the 1930s and 1940s were, in the main, more prescient than their Wilsonian brethren in their assessment of the threats of fascism and communism. And, yes, the policy of “containment”— arguably the most successful U.S. foreign policy in our national history—was largely the construct of realists. But we should not confuse the Niebuhrian realism of the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s with the more dessicated “realism” invoked by the Bush administration as justification for its policy in ex-Yugoslavia, or by some of the libertarian critics of the U.S. intervention in Somalia. (On Bushite “realism” and its capacity to strengthen the isolationist temptation, see my essay “On the Road to Isolationism?,” Commentary, January 1992.)
7. According to Murray, this “older morality” was characterized by voluntarism (i.e., it located the good in the will of God), fundamentalism (in its use of Scripture), subjectivism (in its focus on a moral agent’s intentions), and individualism (in that it could not imagine a distinctive discipline of “social ethics” or “political ethics”).
8. It will be replied that this was not the bishops’ intention. That is certainly true of many bishops. But it is also true that the USCC did little to stop, and perhaps more than a little to encourage, this form of “politicization” in the follow-up to the pastoral letter.
9. John Courtney Murray, S.J., “World Order and Moral Law,” Thought 19:75 (December 1944), p. 583.
10. In a February 28, 1992, column in Commonweal, Father J. Bryan Hehir suggested that “only the resistance-to-aggression rationale should be accepted … as a casus belli.” I regard this as too narrow a construal of the ad bellum criterion of “just cause.” For Father Hehir’s definition would seem to force us to the untenable position that a casus belli exists when Burkina Faso invades Mali, but not when Kim Il-Sung, Moammar Qaddafi, or Saddam Hussein threatens to do unspeakable damage with weapons of mass destruction. Once again, the “regime factor” has to play a central role in our moral reasoning about the pursuit of peace and its relationship to the proportionate and discriminate—and possibly pre-emptive—use of armed force.
11. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 15.
12. See Peter L. Berger, The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions About Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty (New York: Basic Books, 1986).
13. For central Europe, see my study, The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). For the ex-Soviet Union, see James H. Billington, Russian Transformed: Breakthrough to Hope, August 1991 (New York: Free Press, 1992).