War and Terror: The Nightmare of Our Times
‘Know thyself, know thy enemy’ – the oft-quoted rule of war isn’t so straightforward these days. The shape of war has changed.
Today, the idea of a nation-state declaring war against its neighbour seems almost quaint. Many major conflicts around the world now involve militias, terrorist organisations and insurgents, acting on sub-national and supra-national levels. Since 2001 we have engaged in a confusing, abstract ‘War on Terror’.
In this rich discussion, two great thinkers – philosopher Rai Gaita and historian Jay Winter – present their individual perspectives on the theme of terror and war. What is the meaning of war in the 21st century? What, if any, are the rules of engagement? How can we understand the mindset of terrorist organisations? What are the prospects of resolution?
Raimond Gaita has published widely to academic and non- academic audiences. In 2009, the University of Antwerp awarded Gaita the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa ‘for his exceptional contribution to contemporary moral philosophy and for his singular contribution to the role of the intellectual in today’s academic world’.
Jay Winter is Charles J. Stille Professor of history at Yale University. He came to Yale from the Cambridge where he took his doctorate, and taught history from 1979 to 2001 and was a Fellow of Pembroke College. He is the author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History (1995); Remembering War (2006) and Dreams of Peace and Freedom (2006). He is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University.