Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War


A book launch and conversation with Dr Cian O’Driscoll, author of the book Victory: the Triumph and Tragedy of Just War.

18th February 2021

Can wars ever be won? Is there such a thing as a just war? 

Although many theorists say “yes” to both questions, just war theorists avoid the question of victory.  Why is that? What happens when the questions of justice and victory are brought together on the topic of warfare? And what might a more systematic exploration of the theme of victory tell us about the limits of the idea of ‘just war’?

In Victory, Cian O’Driscoll addresses these questions. Using the concept of victory as a prism through which to evaluate just war theory’s core principles and claims, he argues that victory raises some uncomfortable truths about the gruesome nature of war. As he’ll explain, this is all the more reason to engage the concept of victory systematically.

Dr O’Driscoll offers an overview of his book, with responses from Dr Faye Donnelly (University of St Andrews), a lecturer in International Relations and author of ‘Securitization and the Iraq War: The Rules of Engagement in World Politics’, and Dr Neil Renic (University of Hamburg), researcher at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy and author of ‘Asymmetric Killing: Risk Avoidance, Just War, and the Warrior Ethos’. Questions follow, moderated by Professor Christopher Newfield, ISRF Director of Research.

Read a symposium of the event, edited by Dr Lars Cornelissen.

This is the third in the ISRF’s series of Book Launches.