Recently, there was the threat from North Korea of releasing its deadly missiles towards Guam. As a matter of course, the threat was followed by a counter threat from North America that this would immediately retaliate with its more deadly missiles. And there is the Philippines with no missile of its own to join the deadly event – but with thousands of Filipinos long since residing in Guam. So it is but both timely and relevant to address the matter of Legitimate Defense to counter a prospective illegitimate offense – without the compound complex distinctions and conditions that go therewith in the realm of socio-political profundities and perplexities.
So it is that the basic truth and fundamental reality stand: Mortal aggression is objectively non-acceptable as it is intrinsically evil. In the tragic case where such a deadly phenomenon takes place precisely on account of aggression by a Country, then the government of the Nation thus attacked has the right and the duty to organize a defense of their constituency to the extent of using the force of arms – be this nuclear or otherwise. This is a sad and saddening ground reality that the world has witnessed in the past and the present as well. The profound tragedy of war, international killings and destructions, is that after it is done and over, the losers are ultimately both the attackers and the defenders themselves – without the least minimizing or undermining the sound rationale and righteous principle and finality of Legitimate Defense.
There is a marked difference between peace and pacifism. The former basically means unity and harmony. The latter in effect means cowardice in defending human rights, in facing mortal challenges, in standing for truth and justice. This is why self-defense is legitimate. This is why using the force of arms becomes not only a right but also an obligation for the leaders of a State when war is brought on the people they are bound to serve, to defend and to save. There is likewise a whale of a difference between seeking peace by avoiding war and automatic surrender with the threat or the presence of war. The former – seeking peace – is not only ethical/moral but also humane/humanitarian. On the other hand, the latter – automatic surrender – is a downright betrayal of people simply in pursuit of promoting what is right and just, what is proper and honorable.
So it is that defense becomes legitimate:
1. When the damage poised by the aggressor is foreseen as certain, serious and lasting which can be readily presumed in today’s implications of war.
2. When all other legitimate and ethical means of putting an end to the threat of war are foreseen as either useless, ineffective or impractical.
3. When the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than those to be eliminated by doing away with war.
North Korea- please!