Soft War: The Ethics of Unarmed Conflict

Michael L. Gross, Tamar Meisels, Michael Walzer

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Just war theory focuses primarily on bodily harm, such as killing, maiming, and torture, while other harms are often largely overlooked. At the same time, contemporary international conflicts increasingly involve the use of unarmed tactics, employing 'softer' alternatives or supplements to kinetic power that have not been sufficiently addressed by the ethics of war or international law. Soft war tactics include cyber-warfare and economic sanctions, media warfare, and propaganda, as well as non-violent resistance as it plays out in civil disobedience, boycotts, and 'lawfare.' While the just war tradition has much to say about 'hard' war - bullets, bombs, and bayonets - it is virtually silent on the subject of 'soft' war. Soft War: The Ethics of Unarmed Conflict illuminates this neglected aspect of international conflict.

Original languageAmerican English
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages268
ISBN (Electronic)9781316450802
ISBN (Print)9781107132245
StatePublished - 9 Jun 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Cyberspace operations (Military science) -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • International relations -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Military tactics
  • Nonviolence -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Sanctions (International law) -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • Tactics
  • War -- Moral and ethical aspects
  • War and morals


Dive into the research topics of 'Soft War: The Ethics of Unarmed Conflict'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this