Context: JustWar

Entering a new era of FourthGenerationWar raises some interesting ethical questions.

Everyone has a right to defend themselves. If someone comes at you with a knife you are probably allowed to shoot him for self-protection.

But it isn't right to over-react. You can't shoot the guy's wife and children on the grounds that this is a disincentive to anyone else attacking you in the same way. Nor to shoot guys in general as a preventitive measure in case another one tries it.

But what happens as you start to understand the systemic nature of warfare? Of the network of causes and influences. How far does ethical responsibility propagate backwards through the network. Sure the guy's wife fed him. Might even have encouraged him to go out looking for money, which is why he tried to rob you. Can you shoot her now?

If you take the ThomasBarnett, gunboat diplomacy view, that everything in the "gap" needs to be forced into "connectivity" with the "core" because it's alternative logic of connections is either currently (or potentially) going to come into conflict with it.

In a sense, it's the old question of "pre-emptive" war coupled with a new complexity in the case of non-states. Can you take pre-emptive action against members of a network? Against a religion? A language group? A TribeNet tribe?